I am a 17-year-old Jewish teen. I am just 5 feet tall, but I know that my voice far exceeds my stature. That’s not something I always believed. My world was flipped upside down when my family moved from Australia to Denver in middle school; I had few Jewish friends (or friends at all), and was unaware of any opportunities within my reach. I didn’t know about the potential BBYO had to change my life, nor the changes I could make in others’ lives as a BBYO member. I didn’t know the impact that a 5ft tall Jewish teen could make in the world.
There’s a difference between hearing someone’s story and having a brief desire to make an impact, and waking up the next day and putting in the effort to make that impact. This was only one of the realizations I gained this past July when I chose to spend 10 days before my senior year of high school in Washington, D.C., as part of a BBYO community service program focused on homelessness.
This past July, I visited Israel for three weeks with my youth group, B’nai Brith Youth Organization, more commonly known as “BBYO.” The trip is called BBYO’s international Leadership Seminar in Israel. During these three weeks we traveled to eight cities, saw Israel’s borders, swam in the Dead Sea, visited the Golan, prayed at the Kotel, and saw and did so much more. I gained a wealth of knowledge and information during these many unique experiences, as if Israel was a classroom in itself.