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Jewish youth group affirms gender inclusivity

Read this story in JTA.

BBYO, a pluralistic American Jewish youth group, affirmed in a motion that it is fully inclusive of its members regardless of gender.

The motion was passed Friday by BBYO’s teen leadership at the group’s International August Executives Conference, according to a press release.

“Young people who genuinely identify as Jewish – male, female or gender neutral – are given full eligibility to join and afforded full status as members of the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the International Order of the B’nai B’rith Girls in any matter, business or forum,” the motion read, referring to the boys’ chapter and girls’ chapter, respectively.

While most BBYO chapters are single-sex, some are co-ed. Asked if gender neutral individuals will be able to choose whether to join a girls’ or boys’ chapter, regardless of their birth gender, a spokeswoman said in an email, “The teen leadership of [Aleph Zadik Aleph] amended their constitution to widen the definition of an eligible member of BBYO to any high school-aged teen who identifies as Jewish, based on their own definition of their gender. The teen leaders of BBG [B’nai B’rith Girls] immediately adopted the amendment for their own constitution. We will now further review policies to see what changes might need to be made.”

BBYO CEO Matthew Grossman said the group was founded to create a space for Jewish students excluded from other groups, and that this motion continues that tradition of acceptance.

“This motion is a testament to BBYO’s commitment to inclusivity and just one example of how BBYO is a welcoming place for every Jewish teen.”

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