November 16, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 16, 2015
By Eliana Schuller
BBYO is pluralistic, but what does that mean?
Pluralism is encouraging every Jewish teen to define their own Jewish identity based on what they connect with.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, the lovely ladies of Reba Wadel BBG No. 349 asked a very important question: Why can't womanhood be pluralistic? Why can't we define our own womanhood? Many people have confronted this question, but the social stigma surrounding this topic is still strong.
Wadel BBG decided to take action by planning an empowering program about womanhood.
After being inspired by a similar womanhood program at ILTC (International Leadership Training Conference), I introduced the idea to Madison Becker (Wadel N'siah) and Carly Hacker (Wadel S'ganit), who helped lead the program. But in all honesty, the girls were so engaged that they practically led the program themselves.
For instance, in discussion groups, each and every girl proactively spoke about a variety of topics that interested her: from reproductive rights, to wage gaps, to PMS stereotypes, to rape culture, to sexuality and LGBTQ issues, to body shaming and more. One group even split into a mock-debate about Planned Parenthood. The activity not only engaged every girl, but also sparked meaningful discussions about current issues that affect us as B'nai B'rith girls.
Every girl brought a box of tampons or pads to the program to donate to women in shelters who are missing a piece of kavod, or dignity - a value that many women are stripped of because they do not have access to feminine products.
Taking part in this type of philanthropy as a chapter really enhanced the unity we were already feeling, but the program did more than just bring us closer together. Everyone had the opportunity to think about what role womanhood plays in their own lives and how it shapes their identities.
Sometimes, we can't help but wonder how BBG has changed Jewish girls' lives for over 70 years. During the planning process, Madison, Carly, and I primarily focused on BBG values: the Menorah Pledge Principles. Everything else (including five of the six folds) seemed to just fall into place. Ultimately, the program accomplished our goals and exceeded our expectations. I think that what Wadel did that night is a prime example of the why BBG is so great.
The meaningful inspiring discussions, the fulfilling feeling that community service brings, the sense that we are a part of something bigger, the opportunities to make a change, the sisterhood... every eye-opening BBG experience stems from the core values that we as B'nai Brith Girls have set for ourselves. BBG has a purpose, and keeping that purpose in mind helps us program better, grow stronger, and change more lives.
I'm proud to be a part of a movement with such an inspiring purpose. An empowering womanhood program is one way that my chapter has reminded me of this purpose, and because of that, I'm proud to be a BBG