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Todd Kay was synonymous with BBYO

Read this story in the Cleveland Jewish News

By Jonathon Shapiro

A life member, chapter adviser, regional director, senior regional director, community member and brother. All are titles befitting Todd Kay, who passed away Jan. 26 at his home in Beachwood.

Todd served first as a member, and later as head, of the Ohio Northern Region of BBYO. He worked to ensure quality Jewish programming for teens and young adults in Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Canton and Toledo. Through his work, Todd sought to create and connect these teens to the broader Jewish community.

Todd knew what it took to push members to the best of their ability. When someone needed an ear to bounce an idea off of, Todd was there. When someone wanted to do something amazing, Todd was there. When someone did not know how to move forward, be it in BBYO or in life, Todd was there

He had a unique ability to talk with people of all ages on all subjects. For some, Todd would talk about the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of his many loves. With others, he could discuss the Dave Matthews Band. Proud that he never missed an election, Todd also participated in lively debates about local or national politics. After all of these discussions, Todd always hoped to brighten someone’s day.

Todd never lost sight of the broader picture. Not only did he believe in the enjoyment offered by BBYO, he also knew the region could make an impact. When Ben Berger, the father of Cleveland-area chapter David Berger AZA’s namesake, passed away, Todd made sure that he and the chapter were able to celebrate Ben’s life and bring comfort to the family.

Todd knew that BBYO made people better. When Hudson High School’s Sean Carmichael invited BBYO to send a delegation to its student forum on race, Todd not only brought as many individuals as possible, but also personally attended the forum, learning alongside the members. Todd would always seize these opportunities and would encourage students to do the same.

Whether you are a new member or a graduate, you could tell that Todd Kay was BBYO. Todd lived and breathed the spirit of fraternity and service that most men are never able to find.

In his own words, Todd Kay believed that all people could “move mountains” in BBYO. Despite his untimely passing, the work that Todd did for the young men and women of the Ohio Northern Region will continue to have a lasting impact on the lives of everyone he touched, as well as the Jewish community he strived to create.

Jonathon Shapiro is a senior at Beachwood High School and a member of BBYO.

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