BBYO and Our Common Destiny Launch International Teen Competition


Debbie Shemony, BBYO
202.857.6691 | [email protected]
Lauren Silverman, West End Strategy Team
917.603.6433 | [email protected]


#CommonGroundChallenge Rallies Jewish Teens to Build Programs that Connect Diverse Groups

WASHINGTON, DC – BBYO, in partnership with Our Common Destiny and the Marcus Foundation, is launching a new international $50,000 teen competition called the Common Ground Challenge in which participants will compete to design and implement new engagement programs that encourage dynamic conversation among diverse groups of teens.

The challenge was created in the memory of Ilia Salita, the late CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) and Co-Founder of Our Common Destiny, the global Jewish unity movement launched by GPG and the State of Israel under the auspices of Israel’s President.

The competition will encourage new BBYO chapter programming rooted in community engagement with teens of different Jewish backgrounds, as well as non-Jewish teens. Grants will be awarded for programs that best meet the following goals:

  • Engage teens across a diverse Jewish landscape in their communities
  • Engage peers from the broader secular community
  • Stretch the capacity of teens to think creatively
  • Can be implemented in a virtual or in-person environment
  • Can be scaled across the global BBYO Movement

“The Common Ground Challenge offers a wonderful opportunity for members of BBYO and beyond to seek creative new ways of connecting and engaging their peers in Jewish life,” said Sandy Cardin, CEO of Our Common Destiny. “This challenge truly honors the memory of its inspiration, Ilia Salita, who dedicated his life to that very mission, and to the goals of Our Common Destiny: uniting Jews the world over through collaboration and innovation.”

This competition is an incredible way for BBYO chapters to elevate their programming and dream up new ways to connect members with Jewish teens, as well as non-Jewish teens, to explore our differences and shared values,” said Hannah Borenstein, regional teen president (n’siah), BBYO South Jersey Region. “Embodying the concept of ‘by teens, for teens,’ Common Ground Challenge truly gives us an opportunity to strengthen the structure of our community through open dialogue, innovative programming and new relationships.”

Proposed programs will be voted on by teens on social media, using the hashtag #CommonGroundChallenge, as well as a committee of BBYO International Board members and Our Common Destiny staff. The Common Ground Challenge is launching this month and is expected to conclude by May 2021. Details and information can be found here.


About BBYO
BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 95 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts, and Jewish communal life. Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers, and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful, and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring world-wide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education, and Jewish values.

Please note that BBYO should not be referred to as the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, but rather as “BBYO.”

For more information on BBYO, please visit and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Our Common Destiny
Our Common Destiny is a crowdsourcing initiative, founded by Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Israel Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, under the auspices of Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, to unify and strengthen the Jewish people by connecting Jews worldwide around shared values.

Our Common Destiny is convening Jews in an online survey of their Jewish priorities for the future, which will be used to inform a Declaration of Our Common Destiny. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.