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 8 | November 2020

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


Dear Parents,

Fall is always an exciting time at BBYO. From kickoff events to regional conventions to Summer 2021 registration opening, there’s a feeling of anticipation in the air around programs and events taking place across the globe. And while we certainly acknowledge that things don’t look quite the same as in previous years, in the words of a teen who attended her region’s virtual convention last month, “Whether we’re together in person wrapping our arms around each other or in small boxes on Zoom, the strength of our Movement is always present.”

We often refer to November as “Growvember” in BBYO, as teens focus their efforts on recruiting and building an inclusive and energized new member class. They use a variety of tools to support their chapters in planning engagement events to bring in new brothers and sisters, educate and train new members, and plan exciting induction ceremonies to welcome them formally into the Order. Goals are set, resources are shared, and the hustle is underway! If you know a Jewish teen who would benefit from membership in BBYO, let us know (and we’ll reward you both with some swag).

Is your teen joining one of the nearly 30 virtual regional conventions taking place this weekend? Over the past few weeks, teens have worked tirelessly to reshape and create new convention experiences that would usually take place in hotel ballrooms or camp retreats. We've heard over and over again that adolescents are looking for a sense of connection in their lives—and regional conventions represent a moment where our members can connect and be there for each other as they step back from the pressures of their daily lives.

I wish you all a safe and healthy week ahead and a Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

Debbie Shemony
Vice President, Marketing and Communications



Summer Launch Excitement | Registration for our elite Summer Leadership Experiences officially launched on October 21 and we already have 1,330 Alephs and BBGs signed up to join us for an epic Summer 2021! We are currently sending 700 of those teens on lifechanging trips to Israel, and still have open spots at our domestic leadership programs CLTC, ILTC, and International Kallah, and Movement Makers. Our Early Bird Summer discount pricing is only available until November 17, and our risk-free registration policy (fully refundable through March 2, 2021) is making it easier than ever for families to plan with confidence. Spaces are filling quickly, so if your teen is interested in one of our summer experiences, don’t delay!

Voice Your Vote Recap | Thank you to the 1,500+ community members, 400 chapters, and 150 amazing Teen Field Corps Organizers who participated in our #VoiceYourVote campaign. From ensuring that people were registered and had plans to vote, to encouraging others to volunteer at the polls, we are grateful for your commitment to this important initiative in partnership with Power the Polls.

Thinking About a Gap Year? |  Our friends at Masa Israel Journey are hosting a 24-hour Virtual Gap Year Fair this Sunday, November 15 for students and families to learn more about gap year program options in Israel. Take advantage of a unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with program organizers and current Gap Fellows to see what Masa programs are like now and how they've adjusted during the pandemic.

Not Sure Where to Start? | We are excited to announce a partnership with Maccabi World Union to offer a new gap year program in Israel, beginning August 2021. This eight-month program is packed with enriching, meaningful, fun, and educational experiences, perfect for anyone looking to have a year of growth and exploration after high school. This gap year is fully customizable to each participant's interests and includes a wide range of activities like outdoor adventures, community service, and Hebrew immersive learning.



Take a moment and think back over the last few months to a time when you were confronted with a person not wearing a mask or observing social distancing in the same way as you. What did you do or say, if anything, and how did you feel? This is just one example of how our boundaries and communal obligations to one another are a daily presence in our lives. As adults, we are constantly re-thinking, re-establishing, and/or holding firm to the boundaries we have set in our lives to protect ourselves and our families. Sometimes it is easy to do and other times, setting boundaries is fraught with concern and uncertainty. This is true not just in response to the pandemic, but in everything we do. For teens, understanding and being able to set boundaries is key to developing healthy relationships with their peers.

In many ways, this phase in a teen’s life is all about discovering who they are in relation to others. They want to fit in with their peers while at the same time, establish their own unique identity. Boundaries are key to them feeling safe and being able to explore. This is what is at the core of healthy relationships—a solid grounding of the individual, their values, and decision-making processes.

Creating boundaries is not always a straight line. In fact, due to the process of brain development, many teens struggle with decision making. Teens are more vulnerable to “hot cognition,” making decisions based on emotion, rather than fact and logic. This is something we are all vulnerable to, but brain development and a desire to seek approval from one’s peers makes teens particularly vulnerable to this kind of thinking.

Ideally, teens with healthy boundaries can:

  • Prioritizing and advocate for their needs
  • Be assertive and direct
  • Recognize when others are disregarding their boundaries
  • Ask for help from a trusted adult

To support this development in teens, BBYO is committed to educating on healthy relationships and consent. Recent examples of this include the teens recently passing new legislation voting in Health as the 6th fold of AZA and the 7th fold of BBG and by requiring conversations about consent at every council, regional, and international event. Additionally, two new chapter programs were introduced to educate on healthy relationships and consent: Yes and Know and Choose Respect. These programs are about helping teens know themselves, develop their boundaries, and interact with peers in a safe and supportive manner.

As parents, there are steps that each of us can take to support the development of healthy boundaries—even during a pandemic:

  1. Establish rules and routine.
  2. Encourage regular sleep, exercise, and healthy eating habits.
  3. Help teens take information and social media breaks.
  4. Communicate regularly and allow a safe space for teens to express themselves without fear of punishment.
  5. Talk about your decision making and feelings when it comes to setting boundaries. If your teen hears you expressing yourself and the logic behind your decision making, they learn how to do the same.


In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing the latest updates on TikTok shopping, which TV shows are popular with young viewers, and the newest beauty trends for Gen-Z.

Shopping on TikTok | With social shopping becoming a big deal among young consumers, TikTok is teaming up with Shopify to bring more ecommerce to the app. With the holiday shopping season around the corner, stores on Shopify will now be able to create targeted marketing campaigns and see how well they perform without leaving the commerce platform. At the same time, the new TikTok channel on Shopify, which is currently live to all merchants in the U.S., will allow sellers to create and connect their TikTok for Business account and release shoppable video ads.

Young Viewers’ TV Favorites | From more game shows to fewer scripted series, COVID-19 is changing what viewers see on TV. As streamers and traditional providers rush to provide original content, it’s becoming harder than ever to make a top ranking of TV favorites. But among the Gen-Z and millennial crowd, a few shows rise to the top, including: Grey’s Anatomy, The Boys, Lucifer, Power, Family Guy, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, All American, Riverdale, and The Umbrella Academy. One clear theme in the top performing shows is cast diversity with ensemble casts that feature BIPOC actors or have Black actors in many lead roles.

Beauty by Gen-Z, for Gen-Z | Young shoppers are looking for more than just beauty and skincare items that make them look good. Many 13 to 19-year-old buyers believe that companies can no longer just sell skin care, cosmetics, hair care, or perfume because “standing for something”—whether it’s being cruelty-free or being the best version of yourself—is what matters more. Whether Gen-Z-founded or partnering with famous Gen-Z faces, a slew of new brands are speaking the language of young consumers and taking a different approach to beauty, including Morphe, Gloss Twins, Kinship, and Topicals. These brands believe it’s important for them to share a message that “doesn’t focus on perfection or unattainable beauty standards.”



Giving BBYO Day | The countdown to #givingBBYOday has begun! On Tuesday, December 1, BBYO teens, parents, staff, advisors, alumni, and friends will rally together to raise more than $375,000 in support of Jewish teen experiences worldwide. All parents are invited to join us as #givingBBYOday Ambassadors, where you’ll receive access to easy-to-use templates, graphics, and tools to share your family’s BBYO story and help us reach our ambitious fundraising goal. And be sure to tune into BBYO Insider on December 1, as we watch the thermometer grow and celebrate the power of our community to make a difference in the lives of thousands of Jewish teens.

Global Shabbat | On December 11 & 12, thousands of Jewish teens and their communities around the world will celebrate Global Shabbat—BBYO’s biggest Shabbat celebration to date. We are embracing this initiative as a way to connect Alephs and BBGs with Holocaust survivors, Jewish leaders, cross-cultural activists, and politicians to engage in meaningful programming and to share inspiring stories. Virtually or in person, our community will come together stronger than ever before through a meaningful, shared Shabbat and Hanukkah experiences. Learn more and join your community in celebration, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information.

Summer Job Opportunities | Whether you are looking for an opportunity for your recently graduated teen to serve as one of our madrichim (counselors), or you want to work alongside BBYO staff to help provide teens with an amazing summer camp experience, we have opportunities for various professional backgrounds. Our seasonal opportunities are listed on our job board and include important roles like camp nurse, office manager, wellness specialist, Jewish educator, and more. Join us at camp for an enriching summer while continuing your ongoing professional development!

Hillel College Fair | Is your family unable to tour college campuses due to the coronavirus pandemic? Maybe your teen still can’t decide between a big or a small school? High school students and parents who want to learn more about Jewish college life can sign up for Hillel’s first ever virtual College Fair! Choose from over 150 colleges and chat with experts on campus during this free event on November 22-24.



In a historic move for our Order, at a recent convening of the Aleph Zadik Aleph & B’nai B’rith Girls Executive Body (all Council, Regional, and Country Presidents), our teen leadership voted to make Health the 6th and 7th Programming Fold for AZA and BBG, respectively. These Folds, the guiding principles for all activities, have not been modified since their establishment in the 20s and 40s. This vote speaks volumes to the emphasis our teen leaders have placed on creating safe spaces for all Jewish teens, anywhere and everywhere. You can learn more about the Health Fold and the legislation that was passed in The Shofar.