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BBYO's Great Midwest Region Helps to Charter Co-ed Chapter

Read this story in the Northbrook Star

With the mission of involving more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences, the Great Midwest Region of BBYO, the world’s leading pluralistic Jewish youth organization, is widening its reach by working with the Shir Hadash Synagogue in Wheeling, Ill. to charter a new co-ed BBYO chapter, Ra’am BBYO. Jewish teens in the area can now get involved with this global youth movement. Ra’am BBYO is now accepting any Jewish teen interested in joining their chapter.

“This is an exciting time for the Jewish community of Wheeling and the Shir Hadash Synagogue,” said Marty Shankle, Program Director. “Forming new chapters means that even more teens have the opportunity to find a place to be themselves, fit-in and shine.”

BBYO Great Midwest Region’s programming is teen-led and designed to reflect the interests of the teens involved. Diverse chapter and regional school-year programs and summer experiences at camp, on campus and around the world offer teens ways to meet new people, explore new ideas, play sports, connect with their Jewish heritage and learn about Israel.

On December 6, 35 local teens celebrated Shabbat at Shir Hadash Synagogue, with thousands of their peers worldwide. Through AZA and BBG Global Shabbat, one of BBYO's international initiatives, teens throughout BBYO regions around the world celebrated Shabbat on the same day surrounding the same themes. Included in the celebration was welcoming the new Shir Hadash Chapter, Ra’am BBYO, to the Great Midwest Region. Ra’am was presented with their temporary petition for a charter by GMR’s Regional Presidents, Sydney Oliff and Daniel Way. While Chicagoland teens celebrated Shabbat here, they connected with other Jewish teens from around the world. This included a Shabbat message from BBYO Great Midwest Region’s partnership community in Kharkov, Ukraine.

BBYO Great Midwest Region’s next event is Invite Convention at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare on January 24-26. For more information about the convention or BBYO Great Midwest Region, please contact Celia Bernstein and Marty Shankle, Regional Program Directors, at 224-406-9261 or

About BBYO

BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For 90 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts and Jewish communal life.

Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring world-wide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education and Jewish values.

For more information on BBYO, please visit

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