Jewish Brotherly Love
Read this story in the JTA
Nathan Levy was the winner of BBYO’s AZA Oratory Contest, the result of which were announced at BBYO’s International Convention in 2013, which ended Sunday in Washington, DC. He addressed the prompt: “What does brotherly love look like in 2013 and how can it be made stronger?
Aleph Godol, my brother Alephs: one present, one voting. Members of chapter, council, and regional boards say this countless times throughout the year at business meetings without thinking about the words. This phrase mentions not just fellow Alephs, but brother Alephs. What makes the members of the Aleph Zadik Aleph brothers?
Brothers look out and care for one another. Brothers all have something in common, and usually they have a lot in common. Brothers belong together in some form of society. All of these traits characterize the Alephs of the order. We are all Jews, and together, as a society working together, we can accomplish so much as such a powerful group of teenagers. AZA has harnessed this brotherhood to do many great things for the world in the past, and as our Order becomes stronger, we can continue to use this brotherhood to change the world.
In 2013, brotherly love will be shown by the Alephs of the Order, building a connection with each and every other Aleph. They will feel an unprecedented level of comfort while being themselves. They will show support and encouragement for one another’s endeavors.
At International Leadership Training Conference (ILTC) this past summer, I gained a whole new understanding of the concept of brotherly love. Brotherly love is feeling a deep connection with other guys, beyond just a basic friendship. It is a connection that makes you want to be around that person for hours upon end; it allows you to open up and share your deepest secrets. Brotherhood is a connection so strong that you do not know what to do with yourself when you are separated from those brothers. AZA gives us Alephs a connection that very few other teenagers experience. I can go nearly anywhere in the United States and find someone more than willing to welcome me into their house, whether or not I have met them before, simply because I am in AZA. Numerous times in the past several months, I have stayed with otherwise complete strangers while visiting colleges. They were more than glad to host me, and treated me like a long-time friend and a brother just because they were Alephs in their past.
In 2013, brotherly love will consist of Alephs protecting another one. As great as the people are in this organization, we still face the teenage challenges of bullying and exclusiveness. This year, I see more and more brothers sticking up for one another. For example, words such as “gay” and “retarded” are constantly thrown around, and we can create a much more comfortable environment for all by cutting these words out of our daily vocabulary. Alephs will continue to strive to make a difference in the world to help out fellow brothers, Alephs or not, by means of community service, fundraising, and advocacy. Our duties as brothers pertains not just to coming to the aid of our brother Alephs, but also coming to the aid of other Jewish men across the country. As brother Alephs, we will continue to strive to live by the principles of Judaism, Patriotism, Filial Love, Charity, Conduct, Purity and Fraternity. By living by these virtues, we can make brotherly love stronger than ever before. Alephs must continue to be morally strong men who lead honest lives, and must continue to be powerful representatives of the Jewish people. As the next generation of Jewish leaders, our beliefs and actions can shape the future of our religion.
My brothers, let us go out into the world and show all men we dedicate ourselves to honor, to truth, to virtue, and to justice. Thus we hasten the day when all men will acknowledge the common fatherhood of God and the common brotherhood of man. (Taken from Aleph Zadik Aleph Meeting Rituals). In the order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph, I have hundreds of friends. More importantly, however, I have thousands of brothers. They are not just fellow Alephs. They are my brother Alephs.