Parent Pulse

Parent Pulse is a bi-monthly newsletter for BBYO member parents to help keep up to date with goings on across the Order. For nearly a century, parents have trusted us to provide a safe space in which their teens can thrive, and Parent Pulse offers an insider’s glimpse into those spaces every other month. Take a look through our past issues here!

Issue 12 | August 2021

Welcome Note | Around the Order | Wellness Corner | Trending Now | Coming Up Soon | In Their Words



Dear Parents,

It's hard to believe summer 2021 has come to an end. I feel like we have been planning for this summer for FOREVER, playing out countless scenarios on how to create a fun, meaningful, and healthy summer for our participants. We knew our teens needed it, our staff needed it, and you—as parents—needed to see your children return home with joy, laughter, a sense of belonging and community, new friends, a connection to Judaism, and most of all, confidence to return to the school year.

Here are some highlights from this summer I’m excited to share with you:

  • Nearly 650 teens traveled to Israel with BBYO, and over 750 teens participated in our domestic summer leadership programs.
  • Our flagship leadership program, CLTC, settled into a new home at Commonpoint Retreat Center in Pennsylvania, where teens enjoyed classic camp activities, like boating, swimming, Spikeball, basketball, and tennis, as well as meaningful leadership training.
  • We launched two new programs, Movement Makers, a later summer option offering teens the leadership experience of ILTC and International Kallah wrapped into one, and Camp BBYO, an opportunity for 8th–10th graders to get a taste of BBYO and enjoy a week of camp with friends.
  • Thanks to the RootOne program, we offered $3,000 vouchers to make traveling to Israel even more affordable; our teens rode camels, went on a Tel Aviv graffiti tour, spent Shabbat at the Western Wall, rode banana boats in the Mediterranean, and so much more.

Looking over the survey results from this summer, participants overwhelmingly indicated that our programs met or exceeded their expectations, raved about how much fun they had, and said they would recommend it to their peers. Teens came home feeling excited about having formed a new close-knit group of friends and feeling connected to their Jewish heritage.

Interested in having your teen join us for summer 2022? Mark your calendars NOW for November 4 when registration opens, and our BIGGEST discounts of the year are available. You can also pre-indicate your interest here and we’ll make sure to notify you before registration opens and spots fill up. In the meantime, I want to wish all of you a sweet and happy New Year. L’shana Tova!

Robyn Judelsohn
Chief Movement Experience Officer



We could not be more thrilled about our safe, fun, and successful return to in-person summer program. Here are a few of our brightest highlights:

  • International Kallah: Voices from Israel and Palestine Seminar and Shabbat to Remember
    • This summer at International Kallah, Alephs and BBGs from around the world were able to participate in eye-opening conversations about differing perspectives at the Voices from Israel and Palestine Seminar. At BBYO, one of our goals is to foster an inclusive community and we are so thrilled that our participants were able to have open and honest conversations surrounding complicated topics such as Zionism, even when opposing opinions may have made those discussions challenging.

    • Participants of Kallah were also given the opportunity to come together with Holocaust survivors (virtually and in person) to celebrate the fifth annual Shabbat to Remember. Throughout the weekend, our honored guests taught us the importance of staying positive even when life gets hard and the value of a strong Jewish community.
  • CLTC: Commonpoint Grand Opening and The Hate U Give Anti-Racism Program
    • CLTC had one eventful summer! This was the first time we held CLTC at the Commonpoint Retreat Center, our beautiful new home. We are so happy that we finally got to be together in person and gathering in our new facility made the experience that much better.

    • Throughout CLTC, our teens had the opportunity to participate in an educational program that featured the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Together, we read the book, watched the movie, and had various discussions on the subject of racism. BBYO is thrilled to have implemented a new program that educates teens on the topics of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. The program ended with an interview, facilitated by two BBYO teens, with the director of the film, George Tillman Jr. We are so thankful that Mr. Tillman donated his time to help educate CLTC participants. We hope our teens continue to have these important conversations.
  • Israel: A Recap of Our First Summer Back in the Homeland
    • After spending last summer at home, we are excited to have had around 650 teens travel to Israel this summer through BBYO Passport! Our participants bonded with one another as they experienced, learned about, and immersed themselves in the Jewish homeland. From staying in traditional Bedouin tents, to witnessing Shabbat in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and everything in between, our teens really got a taste of the Israeli lifestyle. Even though the weather was scorching hot, our teens raved about their summer experiences. We encourage you to take an inside look of what life is like on our Israel trips by visiting our blog to read weekly updates from our 2021 trips and our Facebook page for hundreds of vibrant photos.  

To express your interest in our 2022 Summer Experiences and be the first to know when registration opens, you can complete this form!



Fall Forward: Supporting Your Teens in a Strong New Start

Over the last few months, it has been incredible to reconnect with our teens IRL (in real life). From our summer homes in Pennsylvania to travel programs in Israel, we kvelled watching our teens grow their leadership skills, deepen their connection with Judaism, and build friendships across the Movement.

However, reintegration wasn’t without its struggles. COVID-19 has left an impact on all teens, and this was seen firsthand at our summer programs and camps across the country. We saw and heard of teens struggling to re-adapt to in-person social interactions, increases in eating disorders and self-harming behaviors, and those anxious about their future and health. We also saw how time with peers helps to bring healing to our teens and gives them a community of support. Being a part of the BBYO community this summer allowed teens the opportunity to breath and reboot; to struggle, but also to find connection and support.

As we transition back into fall and all that means—school, athletics, and the BBYO calendar year—COVID-19 is still very much a part of the picture. As a result, there are going to continue to be both struggles and wins. As parents, there are a few ways you can help your teen to prepare, and support them with any challenges that may arise:

  1. Routine | COVID and Zoom school made routines challenging to say the least. However, having a consistent and reliable routine can help to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty.
  2. COVID Keepers | There have been positives in the last year. Ask your teen what the things from COVID times are that they want to keep as part of their routine, and help them to fit that into their schedule.
  3. Listen and Communicate | Open up the lines of communication for your teen and listen to what they have to say. Teen behavior and words will tell you volumes about how they are feeling and where they might need support. If you aren’t sure what is going on with your teen, ask.
  4. Set Expectations | COVID is not over, and things are going to continue to change. Help your teen be comfortable with that change by being clear about rules and expectations. Encourage them to ask questions and try to help them anticipate that things are going to continue to evolve and change.   

Transition and change are always hard, and this pandemic has been a time of continuous change, uncertainty, and upheaval. However, there are many opportunities for us to ease the load on our teens and help them to reconnect to themselves and peers, and grow from the challenges they have faced.  Together, we can work to create a happy and healthy fall season for all our teens.



In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing the latest updates on how students feel about back-to-school season, the sub-cultures on TikTok influencing teen behavior, and the relationship between Gen Z and the brands they target as part of their dream professions. 

In-Person Learning This Fall | YPulse’s recent education behavioral report explored what the fall semester will look like for students (and parents) and their feelings around what they think are appropriate mandates. In most cases, college students reported being more cautious about in-person learning than middle and high school students. Of those polled, 45% of 13 to 39-year-old students will be in the classroom this fall, 20% plan to be hybrid, and 14% plan to take classes fully online. The number of students who plan to be back in classrooms in-person is significantly higher among middle and high school-aged teens, with 56% saying they will be in a classroom compared to only 27% of college students.

TikTok Sub-Cultures | There is no doubt that TikTok has become an unstoppable force in the world of social apps. The increase in niche subcultures on TikTok has also proved to be lucrative for brands as young users talk about the hottest new thing they just purchased. Here are three of the subcultures helping boost sales for specific industries:

  • #BookTok: Boasting over 16.3 billion views, #BookTok is made up mostly of women in their teens and twenties recommending books and recording time lapses of themselves.
  • #SkinTok:  With 871 million views, “skinfluencers” have been making waves on social media for their product reviews and skincare tips, creating a subculture which has emerged as Gen Z’s go-to source for all things skincare related.
  • #SpiritualTok: With nearly 62% of 13 to 39-year-olds saying mystical healing/supernatural practices are becoming mainstream, the popular #SpirtualTok hashtag features young users talking about everything from astrology to New Age concepts.

Gen Z Dream Jobs | When asked if they would use social media channels to apply for a job, an overwhelming majority of 16 to 34-year-olds say they would—and the launch of the new #TikTokResumes feature is making social media job applications more of a reality. Seventy-eight percent of 13 to 39-year-olds feel it’s important to have a job that they enjoy doing, and brands are promoting fun dream jobs for Gen Z as a way to reach the next generation. But creating roles designed for young people is not only a great way for companies to support young job seekers, it also serves as a marketing tool to help young consumers become more interested in their brands.



  • Fall Kickoff | BBYO is back and we’re ready to celebrate! In order to welcome in the new programming year, tens of thousands of teens from around the world will participate in community-wide events to mark the beginning of a new BBYO chapter. Visit the BBYO Kickoff Page to learn more and explore all the activities your teen can participate in.
  • Global Israel Fellowship | The Global Israel Fellowship is an amazing opportunity for Jewish teens from around the world to join together to learn about, grapple with, explore, and engage with Israel. Through tailored educational content, virtual meetings, and an in-person retreat, we aim for our teens to develop skills allowing for facilitation of respectful dialogue. Completion of the fellowship includes a $1,000 merit scholarship for Summer 2022 and a $1,000 local programming grant. Please visit the Global Israel Fellowship Page to learn more and apply—applications are due August 31.
  • IC Launch Night | We are SO excited to gather in-person for BBYO International Convention 2022! Taking place February 17- 21 in Baltimore, Maryland, teens from around the world will join together for an incredible weekend of celebration, learning, service, and bonding. Worldwide registration opens on October 7—to learn more, visit the IC 2022 site and mark your calendars NOW for the biggest teen event of the year!


This special edition of In Their Words contains a message from our newly installed International Teen Presidents.

Hello, BBYO Parents!

We are Emma Zentner and Jared Wilen, and we’re super honored and excited to be serving as this year's BBYO International Presidents! As part of our role, we both have taken gap years following high school to serve in these roles. We will be leading/supporting the International Board, supporting teen leaders across the organization, and traveling to different communities across our now 60 countries. The two of us additionally sit on BBYO’s Board of Directors, serving as the teen voice with our most valued fellow board members. We’re most excited to travel to the many communities we will be visiting this year—and hey, maybe we’ll stop by your community as well! We can be reached at [email protected] (Jared), and [email protected] (Emma) any time you or your teens wish to communicate with us. Thank you for all that you do for BBYO, whether it's encouraging your teen to go to their first event or driving them over an hour to a regional convention, we truly appreciate your dedication to making your teen's BBYO experience the best as it can be. Here's to another great year!

We remain,

Jared Wilen and Emma Zentner
97th Grand Aleph Godol | 77th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah