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Finding Hope at the Holocaust Museum

Posted on 07/15/2015 @ 12:00 AM

“Today we visited the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown DC. The permanent exhibits that we visited stirred emotions inside and made me feel closer to my heritage. We also took a ride on the metro, which was fun, plus we heard from s speaker from the ADL who talked about anti-Semitism and civil rights.” -Jason Richman, Gold Coast Region

“Today was an intense day and it was quite clear by the looks on everyone’s faces that something changed about the group as we walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was something I had not seen before; a new side of everyone. My favorite part of the day was the speaker from ADL because he spoke about topics that are very relevant and important to be up to date about.” -Margot Siegel, North Texas Oklahoma Region

“Today we went to the Holocaust Museum and even though I have already been, I was emotional towards the end. I feel that it’s important to learn as much as we can because we are the last generation that will ever hear from survivors. The metro is a fast paced area and it is always keeping me on my toes. I feel today I learned more about Judaism and myself.” -Jonas Berkowitch, Lonestar Region

“Today I visited the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was a heavy trip and we all learned allot. I thought it was particularly upsetting that there were youth groups run by the Nazi party to get kids involved.” -Josh Berenzweig, Northern Region East


McPherson Square Reflection

Posted on 07/13/2015 @ 11:55 PM

Stories are one of the most important things in my life. A story is what defines the difference between man and wild, and everyone has one. Everyone has a series of defining moments that explain all of their experiences, desires, and what defines them as a person, and homeless people are no exception.

Today, I did something that I’ve never done before in feeding homeless people in McPherson square. I’ve done the whole soup kitchen thing where you make food for people and you know that the food is going to a great place, but I’ve never experienced the exchange for myself. And it was fascinating. There was one person I met who has been here since he was five. He stays here because he has his family and his friends whom he loves, and he enjoys a lot of the simple pleasures in life that we, as people of means, also enjoy. He was talking about going to movies and listening to music and just hanging out with good friends, which are things that don’t always come to my mind as things a person who is homeless would do. And there was another guy, whose name was Jackson. He’s been living in DC for years and has a daughter and is falling on harder times because his bike got stolen. He didn’t just love the bike because it was his way of getting around, but he loved feeling the nice breeze while riding and wearing crazy socks because people would always ask and compliment about his socks while he was riding.

One of the most important things I’ve ever learned in my life is that people are people first and their situation after that. Everyone’s situation is a story, and those stories are what make us human. Whether you have means, are homeless, have mental issues, are of a different race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or background from me; you are human. Homeless people often get the shortest end of the stick because so many people think that their homelessness is their identity. Homeless people are simply people who happen to be homeless; often because of one bad decision or one key moment in their own lives. Their stories are rich and fruitful; and deserve to be told on listening ears because people are people first and everything else second.

-Michael Blickstein, Great Midwest Region


Lessons Learned at CLTC

Posted on 07/10/2015 @ 12:56 AM

“CLTC so far, to me, has been an experience of a lifetime. Each day has brought me closer to both my brother Alephs and sister BBG’s. I come from a less well-known region in the Grand Order, and I am the only one from my region here at CLTC 4. In the beginning, I was scared I wouldn’t make friends. Now, as we are close to the end of CLTC 4, I have made so many new friends from all over the nation, and my fear of not making any friends did not come true.

Fraternally submitted with undying love for my Mom, Dad, siblings, JFK #456, PWR #44, and the Grand Order of the Aleph Tzadik Aleph, I remain Aleph Liam Charles Cohen.”

“Leading my mock chapter these past 12 days has been an incredible experience and has taught me so many things about leadership. As we have worked diligently through challenges and accomplished many tasks together, Achim AZA has bonded in remarkable ways. Through our CLTC experiences, each of us has grown as leaders and has been prepared to make incredible improvements to our home BBYO and Jewish communities. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had here at CLTC and can’t wait to return and do everything I can to make my own chapter even more prosperous.”

-Jonathan Schwartz, KIO Region


Quotes from ILTC

Posted on 07/09/2015 @ 07:20 PM

"ILTC has been so meaningful to me because I'm surrounded by passionate teens who seek to help build BBYO in their home towns as I desire to, and because we're learning from experienced staff that give us the tools necessary to strengthen BBYO at home. Nowhere else would a Jewish teen be able to connect with so many international Jewish teens and talk about how diverse BBYO, Jewish life, and Jewish leadership are in our respective homes. I know that I've made lifelong friends that I'm thrilled to have shared this journey with." Zach Roston, Miami Region

"Here at ILTC, I've made so many new friends and learned so much. It's been the greatest two weeks of my life so far!" Trev Stein, Ohio Northern Region

"I've learned tons of new techniques on how to become a better and more impactful leader in my region. Also, it was great to listen to all the people that make a difference in the Jewish community all around the world on a daily basis. I highly recommend this summer program to all BBYO members." Zach Gaines, Gold Coast Region

"ILTC has given me the opportunity to connect with other Jewish teens from around the world." Brooke Barron, Southern Region, Atlanta Council

"I can't wait to take all of the amazing things I have learned at ILTC and bring it all back home to better my community in BBYO and in general." Jennie Jacobs, Northern Region East: Baltimore Council

"In the 18 days I have been at ILTC, I have been inspired by the incredible ideas of my peers, I have learned more than I thought was possible, I have made friends that will last a lifetime and I have found my home in BBYO." Jasmine Lubinsky, Central Region West


Making a Change in the World

Posted on 07/09/2015 @ 01:38 AM

Our second day here at CLTC 5 was an incredibly busy one. The teens had leadership sessions in their chapter, rotation on how we celebrate Shabbat, learned about public speaking and explored what unique traits they each bring to the communities that they are a part of. These are some of the questions that the teens though today:

What does it mean to be a leader? What qualities of a leader to you embody?

In their leadership sessions with their mock chapters (they chose names, numbers, colors, and mascots for these today!) they explored the components of what it means to be a good leader. By building their ideal leader, the teens were able to put words to the qualities that make them stand out. Additionally, all members of the CLTC community sat in a session facilitated by our wonderful Assistant Site Director, Rachel Heilbronner, about the importance of each and every member in a group.

What do you stand up for? What do you stand up against?

This evening, Alexis Prager, BBG Coordinator, and Alex Merritt, AZA Coordinator, led a program introducing Stand Up, BBYO’s grassroots initiative that mobilizes teens to take part in service, advocacy and philanthropy for causes that they believe in. Each teen got to take either a red or green paper plate and write something that they stand up against (red plates) or stand up for (green plates). The teens went around in a circle and shared their causes – it was an incredibly powerful moment for our community. After the program, the teens went back to their chapters and had a conversation about shared values, while choosing a Stand Up cause for their mock chapters.

Between high-energy song sessions, snack breaks, tacos for dinner, and beautiful weather, CLTC 5 is off to an amazing start.

We can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

"It inspired me to be more active in my community and stand up for what I believe in and help others do the same." -Lexi Atler, Michigan Region


CLTC 4 Goes to Israel

Posted on 07/07/2015 @ 02:00 AM

This afternoon, CLTC 4 “flew” to Israel to visit our Israeli counselor, Nofar and learn about her life. Earlier in the program, participants wrote letters to Israel as if Israel were a person. In “Nofchi’s house” volunteers shared their letters and a few offered to share them here on the blog.

“Dear Israel, I would love to come visit you soon! You’re so beautiful in every single way. I am honored that my people call you home. No matter where I go, you will always be a part of me. You will always be in my heart. I think about you sometimes. Swimming in your Dead Sea, seeing your Western Wall, and meeting your amazing people. Thank you for being a home to my people. Without you, we would be nothing. I hope that you always stay alive and well. I love you.” -Bekkah Lerman, Mountain Region

“Dear Israel, I know your life is a difficult one to life. You have many enemies, many threats, and many struggles. But do not let that get you down. The positive aspects of your life outweigh the negative. You have a bright and successful future. You have a rich culture and a passionate people. You have natural beauty and infinite wisdom. You are the future of this world. With love always, Ari.” -Ari Fischel, Northern Region East: DC Council


First Shabbat at CLTC 4

Posted on 07/05/2015 @ 10:00 PM

Hi, this is Julia, Emily, and Ruthie from Chaverot BBG. This week, we kicked Shabbat off with dinner where we talked about what aspects of CLTC remind us of home. Afterwards, our chapter, Chaverot BBG, planned a powerful Shabbat service also surrounding the theme of home. Our Shabbat experience continued on Saturday with a morning service and electives, followed by an outdoor havdallah service. While our Fourth of July experience did not include fireworks, glow sticks were a part of the celebration.

Today, many of the teens chose to participate in Tzom Tammuz, a fast in remembrance of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, which led to the destruction of the Second Temple. In addition to this, we increased our skill set by attending sessions on how to be better leaders for certain board positions.

We can’t wait to see what else CLTC brings!

--Julia Kramer, Lonestar region; Emily Lawerence, Eastern Region; Ruthie Renberg, Northern Region East


Homey Shabbat Atmosphere at CLTC 4

Posted on 07/03/2015 @ 07:00 PM

It’s Ari and Maddie here for your day 4 update. Shabbat is just around the corner and as the chapter responsible for setting the atmosphere--we chose the theme of home. We feel it’s the perfect theme for the first Shabbat, knowing that some of the participants might feel slight bouts of homesickness since it could be their first time away from home. However, Bethany College and all of the CLTC 4 staff and kids are quickly becoming a family and a home too. This morning, we asked participants to find an item at CLTC that reminded them of home--whether home was found in a person, place or thing on campus. We as BBGs have found a home in our mock chapter, Challah BBG, which is why we chose this name. Challah, just like us BBGs, has been braided together to create something special, united, and unique. We hope everyone enjoys their Shabbat, as we put much time and effort into its planning. “Home is the nicest word there is, ”--Laura Ingalls Wilder. P.S. 1, 2, 3, …CHALLAH!

-Ari Hagarty, Liberty Region and Maddie Horvitz, Northern Region East: DC Council


Blueprint Reflection

Posted on 07/03/2015 @ 03:19 PM

Since I have arrived at ILTC, one of my favorite programs has been Blueprint. Blueprint is a 2-hour daily program where we meet with a group of participants and staff to learn about a variety of leadership techniques applicable to BBYO and the world. The wisdom and advice that the staff bring is effective, creative, and I can't wait to utilize it when I get back from. It is also extremely interesting to hear what works in other chapters and regions that can be adapted to improve my BBYO experience. For example, a friend of mine from NTO suggested me a brotherhood program that he thinks would work in my home region of Cotton States. The program incorporated aspects of Judaism and patriotism, two of the Seven Cardinal Principles, by showing our appreciation to America and Israel. These principles are key to building a family of successful Jewish brothers.

Blueprint is more than just a leadership class, it is a team that is working together towards a common goal. The common goal is to strengthen BBYO and build the Jewish leaders of the future. Everyone in our Blueprint group are friends and are constantly willing to help one another to reach our highest potential. Blueprint is a valuable asset to improving chapters and regions, building friendship, and enjoying a complete ILTC experience. I can't wait for the rest of the sessions.

Sam Canales, Cotton States Region #72


CLTC 4 Updates

Posted on 07/02/2015 @ 10:00 PM

Hey, this is Gus and Jeremy from Atlanta and Washington DC, respectively. It’s been a busy couple of days here at Bethany College. We already held our mock chapter elections! Now, we are planning a powerful program for Shabbat that relates to appreciating freedom, and we hope that it conveys a powerful message to everyone here at CLTC 4. Even though it’s only been three days, everyone seems to keep getting closer and closer to one another. We are so excited for what the next ten days will bring us! We never want it to end!

-Gus Glasser, Southern Region & Jeremy Bloom, Northern Region East

“Today is day 3 (counting arrival day) and it feels like I have known these people for all of my life. I have met 87 new people and I am proud to call them my brothers and sisters for life. Already I can tell that CLTC will be the best 12 days of my life. Thank you all for letting me become your brother. #brothersandsistersforlife

-Jake Stofman, South Jersey Region


A Busy First Full Day

Posted on 07/02/2015 @ 12:56 AM

“Shalom, this is Becca and Talia here at Bethany College! It’s only been 24 hours but it feels like so much longer and we’ve become so close to people in such a short period of time. So far we have learned all about election procedures, public speaking, Jewish profiles and our leadership personalities- and it’s only the first day!! Although the walking can be tiring, it’s a great way to meet new people and talk. We can’t wait for everything else that about to come over the rest of the 12 days here at CLTC!”

-Becca Levitt, Lonestar Region & Talia Genossar, Eastern Region


Getting Creative

Posted on 07/01/2015 @ 12:11 PM

Hi! I’m Meredith Harris of Livingston BBG #2356 in the Greater Jersey Hudson River Region: Northern Council. ILTC has been amazing so far! Today we worked in our Blueprint groups and discussed various recruitment strategies that work in different regions. I loved hearing all of the different methods used to grow our movement. I can’t wait to bring back the MRIHA strategy (Meet, Recruit, Invite, Host, Ask) to my region. Aside from Blueprint, I also had a great time doing Rikkudim, or Israeli dancing today. I loved it because I was actually surrounded by my best friends at Perlman. Canada day was great, and now I can’t wait for July 4th!

Hi! My name is Shaina Lubliner, and I hail from Tikvah BBG #1233 in the Connecticut Valley Region. Before I came to ILTC, I felt apprehensive about spending my summer before senior year at a leadership camp in the middle of Pennsylvania. While my peers from home would be holding internships and pursuing career paths that they would continue to study in college, I would be here, still lost about what I wanted to do with my life.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Last night, we heard from from CreativCatalyst and I was hooked. The art of meaningful event planning intrigued me. I learned that every detail from the way the room was set up to who was invited has to be handled with thoughtfulness and intuition. The team from CreativCatalyst discussed their various roles – marketing, linguistics, and innovative programming. Each one of them was so passionate about their job that they made it seem more like fun than monotonous work. That kind of a job is definitely something I would love to do with my life!

We were then challenged to break off into groups and plan a thought-provoking event of our own. My group, comprised of friends new and old, decided to plan a night all dedicated to empowering the next generation of females. At a sleepover, we would enjoy a delicious meal of comfort foods and participate in conversation about issues facing women today. We learned that asking open ended questions such as, “If you could change one thing about the world to make it better for your future daughter, what would it be?” can lead to an inspiring evening.

I look forward to applying the insights I gained from CreativCatalyst in my home region and at the third shabbat of ILTC. For the past 4 days, I have met with a planning committee dedicated to creating a 25 hour shabbat experience inspired by CreativCatalyst at South By South West.

I am so grateful to be a participant at ILTC and have had the opportunity to hear the brains behind CreativCatalyst speak. Who knows, one day I may be the one planning South By Southwest!

Meredith Harris, Greater Jersey Hudson River Region: Northern Council, Livingston BBG #2356 Shaina Lubliner, Connecticut Valley Region, Tikvah BBG #1233


CLTC 4 Begins!

Posted on 07/01/2015 @ 12:00 AM

Coming to you from CLTC 4, we’re your coordinators, Leah Kay from Liberty Region and Zach Alter from Connecticut Valley Region! We can’t believe the day has finally arrived for CLTC 4 2015 to begin, and we couldn’t be more excited! The next twelve days will include participants fulfilling the lesson of, “find yourself a teacher; acquire a friend; and judge every person favorably” through gaining leadership skills, exploring their Judaism, and ultimately creating an incredibly special kehilah, or community with strong friendships that will last a lifetime.

We are both so excited about not only teaching our participants about AZA and BBG through our past experiences, but also learning new lessons from them to bring to the next chapter of our lives. Along with the main theme, “find yourself a teacher”, we will teach the teens and learn from them throughout the next 12 days! Seeing what each participant has to bring into our kehilah is so exciting, and is what will make our time here that much more special!

We cannot wait for the next twelve days! Keep a look out for more blog posts throughout CLTC from our participants!



Posted on 06/30/2015 @ 11:53 AM

If I could describe ILTC so far in one word it would be enlightening. I am becoming more aware of discovering myself as a person, especially through the guest speakers. In high school, I often find myself behind a barrier of not knowing my interests. The opportunity to be here at ILTC and and to be surrounded by strong leaders is helping me to ultimately discover myself. Last night, BBYO brought in a powerhouse line up of speakers from, Avodah, Opportunity Nation, Democracy Prep Schools, Student Alliance for Prison Reform, and Turbovote. The guest speakers discussing their missions and goals for society helped me actualize my own passions and what I want from the world.

Briana Davine, Rocky Mountain Region


Just Getting Started

Posted on 06/29/2015 @ 11:02 PM

I can’t think of any other program that is similar to ILTC. The hard work and love that has been put into planning this ILTC is what has made it such a unique experience. I've been learning a lot in my Blueprint training sessions. Along with many other participants, I am now understanding how important the lesson we learned at CLTC – begin with the end in mind – is applicable to strengthening my chapter and region. Our Blueprint staff have been incredibly inspiring and have made me extremely interested in the content we are learning about. More than learning to be a leader in BBYO, we are learning how to be a leader and change agent in the greater community.

Last night, Tiffany Shlain, American filmmaker, author, and public speaker, presented to our group. Her inspiring story about following a passion and chasing after her dreams resonated with the aspiring global leaders at ILTC. One fascinating piece from her story was about her "technology shabbats." For six years now, Shlain has completely disconnected from technology on Shabbat with her family. Hearing how every member of her family is able to be fully present was truly powerful, especially since we are encouraged to disconnect during Shabbat at camp. It was nice to hear that you can do something like this without being at a place like Perlman. I'm very excited to see what else ILTC has in store for me.

Arielle Sabot, New England Region #18, Ariel Ometz BBYO #5389


Working at Jewish Vocational Services

Posted on 06/29/2015 @ 05:00 PM


JVS addresses the issue of refugee life and poverty. This is achieved by working to both educate the students and to help find jobs for those in need. JVS also helps bridge the cultural gap between their home countries and the United States. I admire the willingness of JVS to help people become independent.

One student has surprised me because of his strong desire to learn. At the beginning he was shy and didn’t really talk but now he is constantly asking questions and wants to learn more. He has a good understanding of English and although he's behind the other students, it is clear that he's eager to catch up. I love how willing the other students are to help him.

-Samara Langsam NRE:DC Council


Shavuah Tov from ILTC

Posted on 06/28/2015 @ 10:45 PM

ILTC is in full swing, and we could not be happier to finally have all 250 leaders from around the world at Perlman Camp for the next two weeks. The teens arrived on Thursday and were reunited with old and new friends from BBYO. After the teens moved into their dorms, Jake Nitzkin and Roni Rose, the ILTC 2015 Coordinators and International Mazkirim, opened the program. The teens participated in an exciting opening event getting to know each other through making individualized cupcakes and Rikkudim (Israeli dancing). Everyone went to bed energized and ready for the next two weeks.

On Friday, we started our morning with a beautiful Shacharit service. The participants began to learn about how they can find their own way to pray through BBYO's pluralistic model. At ILTC, teens can choose between four different siddurim and will be shown different ways of connecting to prayer.

The day included a lot of introductions – the teens started their first Blueprint leadership training session and learned about their Jewish learning and speciality opportunities. In the afternoon, everyone was paired with a big or a little to begin a program modeling the roles of having a big or little brother or sister in a BBYO chapter.

As the sun set, the cameras came out for many pre-Shabbat photos and we had a ceremony celebrating the new wooden menorah built by the Madrichim in the large quad. We shared a powerful Shabbat with singing, dancing, and lots of eating.

Today, the teens began the day with morning prayer and a plethora of Shabbat electives ranging from topics about Tikkun Olam to Jewish life in college. And after an afternoon of rest, we are re-energized for the exciting week ahead.

Stay tuned for more blog posts sharing personal experiences form ILTC participants.

Shavuah tov!


Final Reflections

Posted on 06/28/2015 @ 05:00 PM

As part of our final Friday night Shabbat service at CLTC 2, the Alephs leading the service shared their reflections on their experiences so far. As the participants head home this afternoon, here is one of those reflections as a closing blog post for this session. Thank you to all of the participants of CLTC 2 for a wonderful 12 days.

“Coming into CLTC, I did not know much about BBYO, or how the order works. Whenever my chapter at home would talk about anything or had a meeting, it was always very confusing. CLTC changed that for me and did so much more. It gave me friends. It showed me my Jewish identity. It even changed my perspective of people. My favorite memory at CLTC was from separates last night. While we were walking, I could hear the feet of every Aleph hitting the ground at the same time. It showed me that BBYO is a unified movement of Alephs and B’nai B’rith Girls coming together because of the one thing we have in common- our Jewish heritage.” ~Aleph Matthew Young, South Jersey Region


CLTC 2 International Inductions

Posted on 06/26/2015 @ 06:00 PM

Last night the B’nai B’rith Girls of CLTC 2 had an impactful experience. Each of our 54 new sisters was inducted into the international order of BBYO. As Jilly shared her BBYO experiences, many of us were moved to tears. There was a huge sense of kehillah (community) and sisterhood filling the room. She had us write down how we pictured the rest of our time in BBYO, and then we ripped it into shreds because our life paths are unpredictable. She told us about how her path was nothing like the way she imagined at the start of her BBYO career, and she wanted us to let our path lead us wherever it may go. We then took out our goals that we wrote down on the second day of CLTC, and she asked us to think about how our feelings have changed since then. (Zoe Arking, South Jersey Region; Sarah Gamoran, Northern Region East: DC Council; Sarah Green, Kentucky Indiana Ohio Region)

“I felt an overwhelming rush of emotion take over me. Jilly’s story was too relatable to my own so far, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I felt a bond between me and the girls around me and I got extremely upset about leaving my new family in just a few short days. I love everyone here and can’t wait to see everyone at IC 2016 in Baltimore!” –Zoe

“The bonds that I have shared throughout CLTC have been indescribable. When I got to CLTC I had no idea what to expect and could not have asked for a better experience.” –Sarah Gamoran

“Throughout the last 10 days of CLTC, I feel as if I have found myself more than I could have ever expected. I have made lasting friendships and bonds that I can’t describe. I will miss my new friends more than ever, but I’ll see them at IC 2016 in Baltimore.” –Sarah Green


Reflecting on Connections

Posted on 06/26/2015 @ 05:00 PM

Despite Impact Boston's focus on community action and hands on learning, my absolute favorite part of this program happens to be text study. Every day, 15 participants and myself spend an hour with Benny, one of the educators, for connections. Connections is a text- based study, designed to take an academic, and near philosophical perspective on the tangible change were creating in Boston's communities. The hour sessions are there to give us intellectual space throughout the day. My connections group takes it to the next level.


Every day, my entire group specifically looks forward to connections, and we're always left speechless and amazed by the end. Instead of treating connections as another class-type setting, we have turned it into intense discussion. Everyone feeds off of each other's ideas, and points made about the text always turn into collaboration. One of my favorite parts is how we all contribute a vibrant energy to each other during connections; we all participate to hear from and learn from each other. I think it's amazing how insightful and enthusiastic text-study can become for youth, especially over the summer. I now think that many teenagers don't give themselves enough credit for their hunger and capacity to learn, on any topic. When we all walked into connections for the first time, we were not enthusiastic, and some of us most likely didn't want to be there. Before we all made the session exciting, our educator taught us to love it. Benny Summers is a phenomenal person and teacher; he brings a new dimension to educating us. He facilitates the discussion, but he wants to learn from us as much as we do. He constantly pushes us to further our perspectives, and elaborate on our theories.

Connections has given me a greater insight into how to interpret text, as well as relate the readings to my own life. I feel that I gave a greater desire to read text in my own time, and continue the thought process I've created here. Whereas every participant has a distinct perspective to contribute to our sessions, I feel that somehow, they all meld into one message that we take away from our sessions each day. I cannot wait for today's lesson.

-Ellie Sullum: Liberty Region



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