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Teen spotlight: Colin Silverman

Read this story in Juf News

Colin Silverman, 18, was recently elected Grand Aleph Godol (the highest male position) of BBYO, a 90-year-old Jewish youth movement engaging teens in leadership opportunities and other Jewish experiences. As the highest-ranking teen leader, he will oversee more than 50,000 teens in 30 countries in North and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. After graduating from Stevenson High School, he will begin his term as Grand Aleph Godol this summer, taking a gap year before college to travel the world visiting the global BBYO community.

Colin was elected by his peers— other BBYO participants— from among five candidates from all of BBYO, to hold this office, after previously serving as chapter president of Armand Hammer (AZA #2414), Regional Vice President of Programming, and currently Regional President for BBYO Great Midwest Region. Colin was also selected as a BBYO summer experience Coordinator. He is planning Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) in Bethany, West Virginia. CLTC is designed for BBYO members who want to learn how to build and strengthen their chapters. Colin will plan programming that allows the teen participants to grow as they develop as a leader and explore their Jewish identity.

Celia Livshin, Regional Director of BBYO Great Midwest Region, says, “Colin is a talented and special teen. He consistently works tirelessly to ensure the success of his peers. His two terms on Regional Board has allowed Colin to spend the past years, and then some, teaching younger members the values and skills he has learned. Colin understands the importance of leaving a legacy, but more importantly he understands the importance of teaching others how to leave their own legacy.”

Colin was one of 20 Chicago-area Jewish teens selected for the first cohort of the Diller Teen Fellows program, which graduated in February of this year. Diller is a 15-month international program created to inspire and train future Jewish leaders through 10 North American/Israeli partnerships. Participating in Diller allowed Colin “to form a network with Jewish teens from diverse backgrounds and many different movements of Judaism,” he said. It also brought him to Israel, where he enjoyed spending time with his Israeli peers, relaxing by the Dead Sea, and experiencing an evening at a dinner theater run by blind and deaf actors.

He notes that his experiences in BBYO and Diller have allowed him to explore Jewish values and integrate into his everyday life. “Being involved in the Chicago Jewish community through various youth organizations has impacted me to strive to incorporate Jewish values throughout the rest of my life. Incorporating these values into the college I attend, the major that I study, and my future family is all because of my involvement in Jewish organizations.”

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