BBYO to Pay Tribute to Schlessel for 30 Years of Service
Read this story in the Cleveland Jewish News
Lane A. Schlessel’s affiliation with BBYO dates to 1973, when he was recruited for AZA, BBYO’s teen leadership program for boys, to play basketball.
He was involved with BBYO – an international Jewish youth movement based in Washington, D.C., that was formerly B’nai B’rith Youth Organization – in a professional capacity from 1983 until June 1, when he was named director of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Ohio chapter.
The BBYO Ohio Northern Region will honor Schlessel, a Lyndhurst councilman since 2006, for his 30 years of dedicated service to BBYO at a dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.
“It’s hard to believe it’s 30 years,” Schlessel said. “I don’t feel that old.”
All proceeds from the event will benefit the BBYO Ohio Northern Region and will establish the Lane A. Schlessel Family Scholarship Fund.
“I wanted the money raised from the event to create a designated fund for the teens,” Schlessel said. “This perpetuating fund will be allocated for teens for programs that will enhance their Jewish identity.”
Schlessel, who grew up in Mayfield Heights, said becoming a member of AZA Gideon Chapter 209 at age 13 was a life-changing moment for him.
“I didn’t realize back then what the impact would be,” he said. “But I’m friends today with people who recruited me into AZA.
“My mom used to tell me, ‘Someday, you’re going to replace Hal (Bordy),’ who was the regional director at the time, and in reality I did.”
Schlessel, 53, started his career with BBYO as assistant director of the Greater Ohio Council, which later became the BBYO Ohio Northern Region. His passion for Israel became an integral part of his professional life, through his leadership of the Passport travel programs and the March of the Living, an initiative through which he traveled with teens to Poland and Israel.
“Lane has been a vital part of helping shape BBYO’s Ohio Northern Region,” regional director Todd Kay said. “He has impacted the lives of so many in his career and continues to devote himself to creating a brighter future for our teens, our community and beyond.”
Schlessel, a member of Solon Chabad, said he continues to volunteer with BBYO and is considering advising a chapter in the future. His wife, Marla, is a longtime BBYO volunteer and chapter adviser of B’nai B’rith Girls.
“With my wife involved as a chapter adviser, I’m still involved,” he said. “You can’t leave something you’ve been associated with for 40 years, just like that.”
WHAT: Lane A. Schlessel will be honored for his 30 years of service to BBYO by its Ohio Northern Region
WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 24, at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, 6111 Landerhaven Drive, Mayfield Heights
INFO: For information about scholarship opportunities, email CelebrateLane@bbyo.org or call 216-360-0075