BBYO - One of the Best Decisions I've Ever Made
Read this story in the Heritage Florida Jewish News
In 1924 the first chapter of the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) was formed in Omaha, Neb. In 1925, B’nai B’rith International adopted AZA as its official youth program. Later on, in 1944, B’nai B’rith Girls was officially established the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) was born. Now BBYO is independent from B’nai B’rith International and BBYO, Inc. was established as its new name. Also BBYO has spread to Israel, U.K. and Ireland, France, Thailand, Bulgaria, Curacao, South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and recently Turkey, Serbia, and Argentina due to a new BBYO-JDC partnership. Now there are over 40,000 teens involved in BBYO internationally.
North Florida Region #52 (NFR) is where I call home. We hold events with more than 300 teens and are growing with eight different chapters in Orlando, Oviedo, Sarasota, Tampa, and Naples. I am a member and current board member of Rebels AZA #442, located in Orlando. We have more than 25 members and have been around for over 60 years. This fall term we had a regional kickoff on a boat. More than 100 Jewish teens attended! We also participated in an event for young Jewish men of Orlando called Project Mayhem. Everyone arrived at the Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando dressed in all black and oblivious to the surprises of the night. We then got on a bus and arrived at a fitness center and tested our workout endurance. Afterwards we were transported to the JCC where former Orlando Magic player Anthony Bowie awaited us. He told us his story of playing in the NBA and how it was like a family. Then we proceeded to play basketball with him for the rest of the night. It was one of the most influential nights of my life. This past November we had our regional Kallah convention where I was chosen as a member of the steering committee in charge of marketing and logistics. Throughout the weekend everyone discovered part of their Jewish Identity and had a great time doing it. For me, personally, it was a life changing convention and by far my favorite convention I have attended. I want to thank North Florida Region BBYO for all of the amazing opportunities for Jewish teens.
BBYO is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have met so many amazing people that I would have never met if it wasn’t for BBYO. Now I have friends all across the country who also love BBYO as much as I do through the summer programs I’ve experienced. My best friends are also my Brother Alephs and the bond we all have is stronger than any other. I have learned so much about Judaism and just everyday things during my time in BBYO. BBYO is a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.