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The passing of BBYO legend, Ruth Cantor, February 20, 2018

BBYO is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Ruth “Ruthie” Cantor on February 20, 2018. Please take a moment to read this tribute our CEO, Matt Grossman, wrote in her memory.

Ruthie will be remembered as a BBYO legend, having been born on December 17, 1923 – the same year BBYO was founded. Ruthie first became a BBYO advisor in 1953 and soon after became a full-time BBYO professional for over 40 years. Ruthie held every job BBYO had to offer but cherished most the time she spent with Jewish teens.

She once summarized for me that the job of working with teens was pretty simple - encourage them, challenge them and tell them that you believe in them. She had an unwavering commitment to BBYO and was driven by the limitless potential of teenagers. Her legacy in BBYO will not only be marked by the thousands of young lives she influenced, but by the programs she was instrumental in establishing including Chapter Leadership Training Conference, International Leadership Training Conference and the International Leadership Seminar in Israel. Still today, those programs reach over a thousand teens every summer.

BBYO is fortunate to have had so much of its history defined by a woman like Ruthie. I had the honor of occasionally spending time with her over the last decade and even convinced her to speak at BBYO’s 90th Anniversary celebration – eleven days prior to her own 90th birthday. My lasting memory is of these words of encouragement she shared with me, “You are doing great, keep going.” Inspired by Ruthie’s memory, BBYO promises to keep going….


Matthew Grossman


BBYO International Office
800 Eighth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
P: 202.857.6633 / F: 202.857.6568

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