May 20, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 20, 2015
This story was published in The Hebrew Watchman
A fourth generation BBYO member from Memphis, who is the current president of Rose Belz Kriger BBG, has taken her love for the youth organization one step farther - joining BBYO's International Teen Board as new International Sh'licha (vice president of Jewish Heritage) for the 2015-16 programming year.
As this program year winds down, Deena Notowich, who was elected to her new position at BBYO's 2015 International Convention earlier this year, is preparing for her role as part of a ten-member teen board that will help chart the organization's vision for the coming year and provide leadership and support to teen leaders in local communities throughout the BBYO system.
As International Sh'licha, Miss Notowich - along with her international level counterpart, Hunter Cohn of Columbus, Ohio - will specifically act as an advisor and sounding board for the sh'lichim at the regional and chapter level across the BBYO International Order. She will lead them in their focus on enhancing the Judaic content of programming in communities around the world, as well as oversee initiatives that highlight Jewish values and themes. In summer 2016, she will also coordinate Kallah, BBYO's summer experience for Jewish learning, spirituality and self discovery attended by Jewish teens from around the world every year.
"The hands-on leadership development and international Jewish connections that BBYO offers teens is so unique," said Miss Notowich. "I feel humbled and fortunate to be able to play a role in the Judaic content we offer and collaborate with Jewish teens from 30 countries to create a welcoming environment for all high school Jewish teens no matter their affiliation. My hope for this year is to continue to affect positive change in our world."
Miss Notowich comes from a family with deep BBYO and Memphis roots. Her great grandfather, the late Herbert Shainberg, was a founding father of both Israel H. Peres AZA Number 71, the oldest BBYO chapter in Memphis, and the Memphis Jewish Community Center, home to the local BBYO program.
In addition, all four of her grandparents were involved in BBYO. Miss Notowich's parents, Jill and Scott; her brother and sister, Joey and Samantha; and countless aunts, uncles and cousins were active BBYO members who held various leadership roles within the organization.
Her strong connections to her relatives, members of Memphis' Canales, Kolker, Lazarov, Notowich and Shainberg families, have instilled in her a passion for Jewish continuity which she champions through BBYO. She will continue to do so in her new role.
"We are so proud that Deena is continuing the family lineage of BBYO leaders and representing the strong BBYO program in Memphis as part of the International Board," said Scott Notowich, Deena's father. "Deena is specifically following the footsteps of her cousin Happie Hoffman, a former International Sh'licha, who has inspired her to take her leadership to the next level and serve this role now."
"I have had the opportunity to watch Deena grow from a 7th grader who was so excited about what her BBYO experience would be, to a leader in her chapter and the region, to now taking her talents to the International level," said Kevin Falik of Nashville, senior regional director of BBYO Cotton States Region. "Deena has always had the potential to accomplish anything and everything she wants to, and I can't wait to see what she is able to do for the thousands of Jewish teens around the world. I know it will be great."