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HUNDREDS OF TEEN LEADERS GATHERED IN LOS ANGELES TO BUILD MOVEMENT COMMITTED TO THE JEWISH FUTURE AND MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

March 2, 2011

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Los Angeles, Calif. hosted more than 750 Jewish teen leaders from more than 11 countries on February 17 – 21 for BBYO’s 85th Annual International Convention (IC). For the past eight decades, this convention serves to unite the rising leaders of AZA and BBG, BBYO’s fraternity and sorority of teen members, to set the course for the coming year, determine strategies for strengthening BBYO as a youth-led movement and connect teens to the worldwide Jewish community.

With a convention theme entitled, “Our Movement, Our Moment,” participants set their focus on making an immediate difference in the world as representatives of a movement of nearly 30,000 teens. The weekend was headlined by the Day of Service and Advocacy, in which teen participants dispersed throughout Los Angeles to twelve service learning sites including: the Miracle Project, which allows youth with disabilities to participate in theater; Alta Gracia, an apparel company that supports its workers with pathways out of poverty; Tree People, which encourages a sustainable future for Los Angeles; and the Jewish Home for the Aging, where teens will work directly with Jewish residents.

The Day of Service and Advocacy will include an “Advocacy Boot Camp” developed with Jewish World Watch consisting of Jewish service- learning and skill-building sessions on creating social change through community organizing, coalition building, philanthropy, and community service.

In addition to the Day of Service and Advocacy, IC 2011 highlights include:

  • A Day of Learning on Shabbat, with 25+ learning sessions throughout the day and multiple services to choose from allowing the teen participants to customize their own Jewish experience.
  • An exciting global representation of Jewish youth with teens from eight countries attending from as far as Argentina, Serbia, Ireland, England, Bulgaria, and Israel.
  • An evening focused on BBYO’s anti-bullying initiative, “Stand UP for Each Other: A Campaign for Respect and Inclusion,” with presentations by the Anti- Defamation League and The Miracle Project.
  • The presentation of BBYO’s Alumni of the Year Awards to Steven Windmueller of Los Angeles and Abigail Michelson Porth of San Francisco and the BBYO Advisor of the Year Award to Dan Appleman of San Francisco.
  • Featured speakers to inspire teens to advocate for causes they care about including: Orrin Kabaker, a BBYO International President in 1949, who spoke about a motion he wrote in early 1948 for AZA to recognize the State of Israel; and Dr. Judea Pearl, the father of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who spoke about the Pearl Foundation’s work to promote cross-cultural interactions.
  • The election of the top ten teens who will serve at the helm of the 2011-2012 AZA & BBG International Boards. Those 10 teens who will serve at the helm of the world's leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement as members of the International Boards include:

President (Grand Aleph Godol): Oz Fishman of Sunnyvale, CA

VP of Programming (Grand Aleph S'gan): Logan Miller or Bayside, NY

VP of Membership (Grand Aleph Moreh): Grant Fineman of Burlingame, CA

Secretary and Treasurer (Grand Aleph Mazkir): Alex Metzman of Nashville, TN

Jewish and Israel Education, Community Service and Social Action VP (Grand Aleph Shaliach): Jake Sorrells of Rockville, MD

President (International N'siah): Samantha Levinson of Fairfax, VA

VP of Programming (International S'ganit): Allie Michel of Charlotte, NC

VP of Membership (International Aym Ha-Chaverot): Lindsey Duboff of Cherry Hill, NJ

Secretary and Treasurer (International Mazkirah): Talia Katz of Olney, MD

Jewish and Israel Education, Community Service and Social Action VP (International Sh'licha): Allison Van Wye of North Potomac, MD

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