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 6 | June 2020

Welcome Note | Around the Order | Wellness Corner | Trending Now | Coming Up Soon | Jewishly Speaking


Every summer I look forward to traveling from one BBYO summer program to another, across the country and around the world. It gives me an opportunity to see our teens and staff come together to lead, learn, and build our Movement, as well as celebrate friendships, Judaism, and Shabbat.   

When June 21st (the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere) approached this year, sadly, I realized I didn’t have any of my bags packed for camp. When we made the decision to cancel in-person summer programs, I thought a lot about how BBYO would come together. I’m sure many of you have heard the phrases, “Together but apart” or “Apart but not alone” but what do they actually mean? 

As I reflect on living in “social isolation,” these past few months, I sometimes think about how lonely and boring it’s felt. But what if, instead, I think about how my family came together for dinner every night? Or how we baked challah every Friday, something we would not have had the time to do before. And last Friday afternoon, I took my high school-age kids strawberry picking. When would I EVER have taken time off to do that?   

Instead of wallowing about not being in the woods of Pennsylvania, the beaches of Israel, the mountains of Bulgaria, or anywhere else around the world, I choose to see that BBYO has nearly 500 teens participating in our Virtual Summer 2020 programs. As we often do, BBYO quickly pivoted and created an incredible suite of virtual summer experiences, including CLTC ConnectMovement MakersAnita M. Perlman BBG Leadership Academy, Elevating AZA, and Jewish Enrichment Innovations. I am so proud that we found the “milk and honey” in our situation and we’re sharing it, as we always do, with teens across the globe. 

Take a look at the summer experiences we’re offering virtually this year—classes are all kept small, and teens can meaningfully interact with one another, make new friends, and learn valuable leadership skills. And don’t forget to mark your calendar for 2021 and check out our amazing offerings: from March of the Living to ILSI to staying right here in the U.S. and heading to CLTCILTC, or International Kallah!

Wherever your calendar brings you, I hope it is home to BBYO. 

Healthy wishes,  
Robyn Judelsohn 
Senior Vice President, Immersive Experiences   



Members of Color Hangouts | On Wednesdays at 8 PM ET throughout the summer, we'll be holding Members of Color Hangouts on BBYO On Demand where Jewish Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Mizrahi, and Sephardi BBYO teen members can gather together for a meetup, get to know one another, and explore their identity. BBYO advisor Jess Attas will be present to facilitate discussions of learning and laughter; teens can see the full schedule and register here.

Nike Partnership | We’re exciting to announce a new partnership with Nike! They’ll be extending special offers to to BBYO members and alumni as part of their efforts to encourage everyone to make sport a daily habit. Your teen can now access Nike Training Club premium content for free—check out all the details here.

BBYO Fan Club | Since launching in March, BBYO On Demand has reached more than 73,000 users in over 35 countries, hosting 3,600 experiences for Jewish teens worldwide. We would not have been able to achieve this impact without the help of the BBYO Fan Club, parents and supporters who have made tax-deductible gifts to enable our work. Fan Club members also receive exclusive perks—we hope you’ll consider joining today.

AmazonSmile | Looking for an easy way to support BBYO at no additional cost? AmazonSmile lets you donate 0.5% of the price of your Amazon purchases to BBYO, with no additional fee! All you do is select BBYO as your AmazonSmile charity, and Amazon will donate a portion of the shopping you do anyway. Set it up once (you can find instructions here) and you’re good to go!



Will You Be Proud of the Person You Were?
Reflections from our Wellness Staff on Growth Amid Turbulent Times

The past four months have required us to constantly re-evaluate who we are in relation to our local community, the larger country, and the world. It feels daunting and overwhelming, and oftentimes we are left scrambling to find the right words and actions. As we continue to live through a global pandemic, a racial reckoning, and political turmoil, the question that I wrestle with is, “when this is over, will I be proud of the person I was during this time?”

This question is intimately connected to the building of resiliency; it gets at the core of identity formation. Resilient youth have a strong personal narrative, and now is an essential time to help our teens build that narrative—central to this is meaning-making. Meaning-making is how we process the events happening in the world, our relationships to others, and our relationship to ourselves. It requires us to take a step back and look at everything that has happened over the last four months. We must assess what we have gained and lost, actions we have or haven’t taken, and how we want to remember this time in our life. For our teens, this is a critical step in their development, growth, and resiliency.

Whether through social media, pictures, diaries, movies, or creative writing, teens can begin to memorialize the time and build the narrative of their experience. Then the question becomes how these experiences mold and shape who they will become. What are the new skills they have acquired, the lessons they have learned, the moments that have altered or solidified their sense of self?

The last four months have not been easy, and the difficult times are not done. However, we have seen incredible stories of perseverance. There are many fighting for a better, more just world. For our teens, this is the beginning of their ability to shape and change the world for the better, and the question remains, “will I be proud of the person I was during this time?”



In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing the latest updates on which streaming services Gen-Z is flocking to, how brands are impacting Facebook advertising, and what effect COVID-19 is having on high school and college graduates. These insights come from our partner, YPulse, a leading provider of news, commentary, and research on tweens, teens, and young adults.


  1. Services young consumers are flocking to since COVID-19 began | Since earlier this year, nearly half of 13 to 39-year-olds say they have tried a new brand, product, or service specifically because of COVID. But their adoption of new services has clearly favored some industries:

    • Video streaming subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu were the most likely to gain new young users during coronavirus

    • Music streaming was the second-biggest winner in terms of new young user sign-ups, followed by Amazon Prime

What hasn’t benefitted? Neither physical magazine subscriptions nor workout subscriptions have seen an uptick from young consumers’ time at home, mostly because there are so many free workouts online and on social media.

  1. Brands taking action | The North Face, Patagonia, and REI have all pulled advertising from Facebook to protest hate speech. The North Face was the first to respond to a call issued by the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which is asking brands to remove ads from Facebook for the month of July. The campaign is partnering with organizations including ADL, NAACP, and Color of Change to encourage Facebook to address hate on its platform. The North Face explained that they are taking action, “until stricter policies are put in place to stop racist, violent, or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on Facebook.” As the boycott movement gains traction, pressure is mounting for other brands to join in.

  2. COVID-19’s effect on class of 2020 plans | Nearly half the members of the high school class of 2020 across the country say that coronavirus has changed their plans. In fact, more than 40% of high school and college students say that COVID-19 has changed their college plans in some way—and according to Junior Achievement and the MPI Education Foundation, 49% of this class of graduating seniors say that they have changed their plans for the future because of the crisis. Nearly a third of that group says they will delay their college start date, and 16% are changing their career path plans altogether.



BBYO Summer On Demand | We are thrilled to share that nearly 500 teens are dedicating part of their summer to learning, leading, and connecting through our virtual summer programs! We kicked off the first round of programs earlier this month, and there’s still plenty coming up:

  • CLTC Connect

    • Rising Grades: 10–11

    • Overview: Teens will explore the foundations of leadership through team building, project challenges, interactive content, and customized learning opportunities

    • Upcoming Start Dates: July 6, August 3

  • Movement Makers

    • Rising Grades: 11–12

    • Overview: Teens will learn advanced leadership techniques and how to use them to transform their local community, shape our worldwide movement, and gain valuable experience in collaboration and communication

    • Upcoming Start Date: July 20

  • Jewish Enrichment Innovations

    • Rising Grades: 9–12

    • Overview: Teens can explore their Jewish identity through a variety of fascinating lenses alongside peers from around the world

    • Upcoming Start Dates: July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27, August 3

  • Elevating AZA: Building the Future of the Aleph Zadik Aleph

    • Rising Grades: 10–12

    • Overview: Members of AZA will re-imagine how young men mobilize around the world and amplify the programming AZA chapters offer and the culture they provide

    • Upcoming Start Date: July 12

DIY Shabbat | One of our favorite parts of BBYO On Demand has been our weekly Shabbat gatherings. Now, we’re giving families the tools to recreate some of these amazing experiences at home! This upcoming Shabbat, July 3 & 4, will be our “DIY Shabbat” and teens will be sharing their celebrations throughout the weekend, but you can use these resources any and every week to bring something new to your Shabbat celebrations.

Programming Update & Survey Results | Thank you to the 1,400 BBYO member parents who took our survey to help us understand what protocols and guidelines need to be in place to make you comfortable sending your teens back to in-person programming. We also sought to learn how families were financially impacted by COVID-19. You can read about the results here—these insights will help guide our decisions as we look forward to resuming our traditional programming at the right time.



Jewishly Speaking features a thought from a member of our Jewish Enrichment team. This issue’s message comes from Rabbi Meir Tannenbaum, Director of Jewish Enrichment.

Every year as July 4th, American Independence Day, approaches, I think about the relationship between my country and my faith. This story, relayed in the Talmud in Yoma 69a, is one I constantly return to:

The Samaritan people requested permission from Alexander the Great to destroy the Temple and he agreed. When the High Priest, Simeon the Righteous, was informed of this, he immediately set out on the road with other leaders in the community. The armies of Alexander and the Samaritans set out to meet them and at dawn the two groups met. 

Alexander descended from his chariot and bowed before Simeon. His escorts said to him, “Should a king bow to this Jew?” He said to them, “I do so because before each battle, it is his image that I see before me as a sign of victory.”

Alexander then said to the Jewish people, “Why have you come?” And Simeon said to him, “Is it possible that you have been misled into destroying the Temple, the house in which we pray for you and for your kingdom? Should we be silent and not tell you?”

Immediately, Alexander granted their request and spared the Temple.

Looking at the story again this year, two fundamental questions stick out:

  • Did Simeon lie when he said that the Temple is the house where they pray for Alexander’s kingdom?

  • Why does Alexander see the image of the High priest before every battle?

Of course Simeon was not lying when he claimed that he prayed for Alexander and his kingdom there, because Judaism directs us to be loyal citizens of our country. We can certainly disagree with its decisions, policies, and practices. We can demand change and even protest when we feel change is not forthcoming. And at the same time, we must always pray for our government, and ask that our leaders be guided by wisdom, morality, and clarity. However, the second question shows that asking and praying is not enough. We must make our voices heard through voting, engagement, and demonstration, ensuring that our leaders see our image before them every time they take their legislative and political battlefields. You voice can be heard, and make a true impact on those making the decisions.

Simeon’s message to us is simple yet incredibly important—never give up on your country. Do whatever you can to help it, fix it, and change it if you have to, and make sure that you still feel Independence Day is something worth celebrating.

Happy July 4th!