After a long plane ride to Baltimore, Maryland, I arrived at the BWI airport and was greeted by staff members of the BBYO program that I was attending, Impact:DC. This program’s goal was to teach Jewish youth from around the world about issues in the Washington, DC community and ways to combat them.
Today, BBYO is a welcoming home to the more than 40,000 Jewish teens who take part in programming around the world. Participants find a safe place where they can be themselves, learn, lead, serve and have fun with friends who become brothers and sisters.
When 2,200 BBYO teens joined forces with 1,000 members of NFTY — the North American Federation of Temple Youth represents the younger cohort of the Reform movement — for a day of joint learning sessions in Atlanta on Feb. 14, Christiansen found that the teens had more in common than he realized.
From Bulgaria to Canada, Argentina to Macedonia, there is an unbelievably diverse Jewish population out there that, despite centuries of assimilation threats and persecution, has formed strong communities that are deeply committed to sustaining Jewish life.