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 15 | March 2022

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



Dear Parents,

“Kehillah Kedosha” (קְהִלָּה קְדוֹשָׁה, holy community) are the words that served as the theme for the first virtual worldwide Shabbat BBYO hosted in March 2020 as the world was figuring out what it meant to be isolated while staying connected. It was incredibly fitting and moving when these same words lit up the stage during Havdalah just weeks ago as our Movement reunited in person at BBYO International Convention (IC) 2022.

But what exactly make a holy community? It’s more than just a thematic phrase we say (and sometimes sing). To me, a holy community is everything BBYO has been throughout this pandemic and everything it will continue to be. It’s the smiles on our teens’ faces as they sprinted to hug a friend they had only ever seen on a Zoom screen. It’s the way teens flooded into Friday night services just to sing their favorite tunes from camp with their best friends. It’s the hundreds of teens who came in early to learn about Israel, entrepreneurship, and having challenging conversations. And it is the way our commitment to pluralism was reflected in speakers, programs, Shabbat services, and more.

Just one weekend after the bright words of Kehillah Kedosha lit up IC’s plenary space, BBYO and JDC’s Active Jewish Teens (our partners in Ukraine and across the FSU) showed us yet again what it means to be part of this community by hosting a virtual “Havdalah of Hope” that brought together over 500 people. Shortly after, the BBYO International Board, working with their peers across the Movement, announced a new fundraiser to support Jews in need because of the current crisis in Ukraine.

I believe that Judaism is rooted in a relationship with the Divine that calls on us to play an active role in our learning, practice, and application of Jewish values into the world around us. I see this in our Kehillah Kedosha. The holiness of this community is not something that just exists; it is created and sustained every day by moments like IC, the decisions and actions of teen leaders, our summer programs, and powerful local community programming.

We’re so glad your family is part of this Kehillah.

Rachel Dingman
Director of Jewish Enrichment



International Election Update | One of BBYO’s most treasured and time-honored traditions—the election of the Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls—takes place at IC every year, and we are so excited to welcome our 12 newly elected teen leaders to their new roles. To see the full list of board members, check out this Shofar post.

Advisor Appreciation Month | Every March, we dedicate the month to recognizing our incredible volunteer advisors, who make such a significant impact in the lives of thousands of Alephs and BBGs. Mentorship, support, and planning, are some of the ways BBYO advisors make a difference for our teens. While we often express gratitude to our advisors on a regular basis, we dedicate this month to display our love and appreciation for them. Does your teen have a stellar advisor? Show them your gratitude today!

LGLA TED Talks | The Leven Global Leadership Academy (LGLA) prepares a cohort of Jewish teens from around the world with exemplary leadership skills such as cultivating strengths, networking, public speaking, and managing a team, just to name a few. This year-round program cumulates with teen leaders sharing a TED Talk at IC. We’re so proud of the inspiring messages they presented to their peers—you can view them all on this YouTube playlist.



This edition of Wellness Corner comes from Sari Kripke, LLMSW, our Michigan Region Social Worker.

This year, Michigan Region sent nearly sixty teens to BBYO International Convention (IC) in Baltimore, Maryland. The hugs and screams when reuniting with their camp friends indicated to me how important their relationships are with each other. From standing around the Perlman Tree to late-night pizza parties, in-person programming creates an opportunity for teens to connect with one another and form meaningful friendships in a way that virtual programming does not have the capacity to do.

When our teen leaders met in early January to plan out the rest of the school year, we gauged their comfort levels with in-person programming as COVID-19 cases grew in the area. Even though there were a few concerns about the virus, the consensus was they not only want, but need in-person programming moving forward. I recently completed one-on-one check ins with my teens in Michigan Region, and I was shocked to hear the average times they were spending looking at their phone screens each day. There are not enough hours in their days for additional screen time for BBYO purposes. They are eager to have more in-person time and to feel some sense of normalcy again.

Every Monday, I hold office hours for teens to hang out at the office with staff. Coming up, we have workshops focused on resiliency and coping skills. Our chapters are also planning mental health programs including workout classes and goat yoga. Spending time with our teens face to face gives me an opportunity to get to know them on a personal level and build stronger connections with them. They see so many people through screens, so I am happy to be that person they can have real conversations with as we are adapting to our new normal.

The success of IC and our local programming, especially as it relates to the positive impact on the mental well-being of our teens, is a huge part of our motivation to continue to seek safe ways to gather in person for meaningful experiences.



In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing updates on the social causes Gen-Z cares most about, highlighting some unusual items young shoppers are purchasing, and reporting on the long-term impact social media is having on teen girls. 

Gen Z Cares About These Social Causes | Two years into the pandemic, Gen Z and millennials are shifting their focus from COVID-specific causes to other areas. While the negative impact of COVID-19 is still important to this generation, much has changed in the last year and 64% of young people agree, “This is our new normal, we will never go back to the way life was pre-COVID.” In 2022, racism has become the top social cause that young people are passionate about in North America. At the same time, mental health is the number one cause young consumers want brands to be more involved in, the first time it has ever appeared in the top 10 list.

Popular But Unusually Branded Products | Recent trend reporting found that nearly half of young consumers purchased a special edition, unusual, or “available for a limited time only” item to experience the brands they like in a new way. While it’s clear that weird marketing is still as popular as ever, brands are ramping up just how weird they can make their products to reach consumers. Among the recent limited-edition products that launched and sold out quickly were Oscar Mayer’s Bologna Face Mask, Campbell’s Soup-Scented Candles, and Chipotle’s Cilantro Soap. It’s clear that brands are putting out limited-edition lifestyle products that align with young people’s interests, including skincare, loungewear, and home decor.

Social Media’s Impact on Teen Girls | With the majority of young women using filters and editing tools to alter their appearance on social media, it is taking a negative toll on their mental health. This follows a report from last fall which revealed that Facebook knew Instagram was toxic for teen girls and impacted their self-esteem. Now, there is also evidence that the pressure to look perfect on social media is causing young people to change their appearance in permanent ways, with 18 to 24-year-olds having more plastic surgery than 51 to 64-year-olds. One takeaway for brands is how mindful they should be about the impact that the strive for perfection is having on Gen Z and provide alternatives to over-edited norms.



J-Serve 2022 | J-Serve, an annual day of Jewish youth service held around the globe, is approaching fast on April 3. J-Serve is a fantastic opportunity for teens to work alongside friends to give back to their communities and make the world a better place. To discover more about the opportunities available to teens near you, visit the J-Serve website!

Together As One Campaign | This spring, we’ll celebrate BBYO and the impact of our Movement on thousands of Jewish teens as we launch “Together as One: Rallying Support for Our Regions.” This week-long fundraising campaign, kicking off April 11, will bring teens, parents, advisors, staff, and supporters together to rally support for their local BBYO communities. Each day, we’ll celebrate an aspect of BBYO from leadership development to service, lifelong friendships, connections to Judaism, and an incredible alumni community. Check out this page to learn more.

Purim | Each year on Purim, we encourage regions to create programs connected to the traditions of the holiday. This year, with the conflict in Ukraine affecting so many, it is more essential than ever for our focus to be on the mitzvah of Matanot LaEvyonim, to provide charity to those in need. BBYO has mobilized a grassroots effort, challenging each community to raise $180 USD and donate it to our trusted partner, the JDC, and their Emergency Campaign. This Purim, we encourage you to focus your efforts relating to the festival to those who are suffering through this worsening humanitarian crisis.

Teen Wellness Webinar for Parents | Join us for a conversation on March 23 at 7:30 PM ET on managing stress, engaging in self-care, and building resiliency in teens, as well as strategies to support our own wellness journeys and improve mental, emotional, and social health. Hosted by BBYO's Wellness and Inclusion Advisory Council, we'll be joined by IC 2022 speaker, wellness coach and BBG alumna Emily Abbate, creator of the podcast Hurdle. This is a free educational opportunity for BBYO parents! You can learn more about the event and register here.

In Their Words


Did you know that the communication efforts at BBYO International Convention are led by our Teen Press Corps? As they do each year, 2022’s cohort did an amazing job covering our Movement’s most exciting event and we are so proud of all the hard work they put in! The Press Corps handled many different tasks, such as writing articles for the IC Blog, posting to our social media channels, taking photos and videos, as well as creating video content like our live news desk shows that ran daily on our YouTube and Facebook livestreams. Some of our teens also got to interview VIP guests in our studio! Keep an eye on our YouTube page for those interviews coming soon.

"I adored being on IC Press Corps. I had the opportunity to interview a celebrity/featured guest, do a takeover of all of BBYOInsider’s social media platforms, and take part in leading our Snapchat. Through this, I interacted with teens from all around the world to create content and received support from the incredible Press Corps staff all along the way. Being on IC Press Corps truly enhanced my IC and allowed me to see some behind the scenes of this event." —Hannah Marmor, Nassau Suffolk Region