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 2 | October 2019

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


We hope the new year’s start has been a great one for your family. Like Judaism, BBYO’s global Movement thrives on an annual cycle. Over the last few months, AZA and BBG welcomed tens of thousands of teens—returning members and many new faces—to local activities, chapter events, and the first conventions of the year. As we round-out kickoff season, professionals, volunteer advisors, and teens are producing compelling experiences where teens can have fun, learn, and be a part of something much bigger than themselves in ways that feel most powerful and rewarding for each of them.

And, this is happening all over the planet. BBYO impacts more than 15,000 teens across 50 countries beyond the United States and Canada—and we’re rapidly growing. As the High Holiday season reminds us, we may practice, observe, and celebrate a little bit differently based on our history or geography, but the Jewish People are definitely one family. So, as you watch your teen run off to their local kickoff or host their first meeting of the new year, know the very same activities, rituals, and traditions are happening across six continents in more than 700 communities. Worldwide, BBYO staff and advisors are igniting teen passions and fostering the skills our teens need to lead a vibrant Jewish future.

Older members are becoming big brothers and big sisters to a new generation. New Alephs and BBGs are receiving their first pins and handbooks at local inductions. And teens from every time zone raced to claim their spot last month at our yearly “family reunion,” BBYO International Convention, the world’s largest annual gathering of Jewish teen leaders, happening in February 2020 in Dallas, Texas.

As the holiday season concludes and we look ahead with optimism and enthusiasm, we are reminded of how grateful we are that your family is a part of BBYO’s. We wish you only the best in the new year!

Ian Kandel
Vice President, Movement Strategy



CONNECT WITH BBYO | Do you follow BBYO on LinkedIn? We encourage parents to follow and join our network of 2,000+ other parents, alumni, friends, employees, and more! We post weekly updates sharing articles, news, and accomplishments from teens around the Order, as well as job and advisor opportunities across the country. In fact, we have a number of advisor positions we’re currently seeking to fill and we encourage parents (and their friends) to explore what’s out there. Be sure to check us out on Facebook as well for daily updates!

IC REGISTRATION NIGHT WAS A HIT | BBYO International Convention (IC), which takes place annually over President’s Day weekend, is undoubtedly the biggest global Jewish teen event of the year. Thursday, September 26, was IC launch night, and communities all around the world held launch night parties for teens to gather to celebrate and register for IC together. We’re thrilled to announce that in one night, we had 2,540 teens register, and we’re now at nearly 98 percent capacity! We’ll be opening a few more waves of registration until the event is completely sold out. We can’t wait to see everyone in Dallas, Texas, in February!

GET INVOLVED IN FALL FEST | Fall Fest is BBYO’s seasonal campaign featuring an array of unique events and exclusive experiences designed to showcase the best of what each community has to offer. This year’s global Fall Fest lineup includes interactive culinary experiences, behind-the-scenes access to professional sporting events, party bus city tours, arcade/laser tag/go kart takeovers, charity rides hosted by spin studios, and so much more! In early October, for example, Nashville BBYO had their Fall Fest at a Titans game. In November, Wisconsin Region’s Fall Fest will be a waterpark adventure and St. Louis Council will have Fall Fest at Top Golf. Keep an eye out—your teens will not want to miss their local Fall Fest event!

Wellness Corner


In August, Elana Fauth, an Ezra Jewish Education Specialist and Springboard Fellow at Hillel, shared an article chronicling her battle with anxiety (you can read it in full here). She writes about how she felt isolated and struggled to respond to the pressures of her daily life and what seemed like a terrifying and fast-paced world around her. Additionally, Elana writes about how the Jewish community offered her support, connection, and—in her lowest moment—was the resource that provided her help. Finally, Elana touches on an essential point: “I never considered that repairing the world starts with repairing myself.” That tikkun h’nefesh, repairing one’s soul, is just as important as tikkun olam, repairing the world.

For many of our teens, Elana’s feelings are not unfamiliar. When faced with enormous pressure—midterms, finals, SATs, college, extracurriculars, the list goes on and on—teens can struggle to find their safe space and a moment of calm. It is how we support them through these moments and build up their internal strength that helps them handle these challenges and learn to ask for help when it feels like too much.

Teens experience a variety of changes as they move through adolescence. These include physical, mental, social, and emotional changes. These changes may present differently in all teens and some of the changes can also look similar to some of the symptoms of mental illness—shifts in mood, decreased/increased appetite, sleeplessness, or excessive tiredness. The distinction is that if a change in your teen is impacting their ability to function in school, if they are withdrawing from family and friends, if they no longer want to engage in activities they once enjoyed, or you are noticing a drastic change in their behavior, they may be experiencing a mental health challenge, rather than a typical adolescent change.

It’s important to check in with your teen and let them know you have noticed a change in their behavior. Use I-Statements: “I have noticed a change...” or “I have seen…” This provides them with a safe space to share their feelings and experiences.

Teens also have protective factors that affect their resiliency to assist in their navigation through these changes and challenges that adolescence presents. Protective factors can include a sense of spirituality, good self-esteem, a good support system, and a sense of community. The most important protective factor is a positive relationship with a safe adult. This could be you or it could be a BBYO staff member or advisor, a coach, an aunt or uncle, or a teacher. Who are those safe adults that your teen can turn to if they are struggling?

Some additional tips for dealing with stress and anxiety in teens are:

  1. Maintain open communication with your teen. Allow them a safe space to express themselves without fear of punishment.

  2. Practice self-care with your teen: Go for a walk, take a yoga class, practice meditation, or find something that works for both of you.

  3. Talk about your feelings. If your teen hears you expressing yourself, they know that they can do the same.

  4. Know the warning signs for mental health issues so that you can recognize if your teen experiences them.

  5. Know where to go for help. Talk to your child’s pediatrician, school counselor, and others to know what local resources are available to you.

Have questions or want to talk more? As always, we are here for you. Reach out to us at [email protected] and [email protected].

Trending Now


In this edition of our “trend spot,” we’re sharing the latest updates on Gen Z media, brand, and finance trends from our partner, YPulse, a leading provider of news, commentary, and research on tweens, teens, and young adults.

  1. Gen Z Spending Monitor | Gen Z wields an annual direct spending power of $30 billion, receiving an average of around $100 monthly for spending—but soon they may have even more funds to spend. According to a TransUnion report, the percentage of those born after 1995 with a credit card balance has jumped 41 percent year-over-year to 7.75 million in total. They also have around $2,300 on average saved up. A large majority of teen females are spending on clothing every month, making it their top monthly expenditure. Food and personal care/beauty products are popular with Gen Z as well, followed by video games/mobile apps/software—which is Gen Z males’ top monthly expenditure.

  2. Has the Influencer Bubble Burst? | Arii, a popular teen influencer with 2.6 million Instagram followers, recently debuted a clothing line on her account—although she couldn’t manage to sell many items from her collection. “The influencer bubble is bursting,” remarked one industry analyst, while others observed that perhaps her followers aren’t her customers. Marketing analysts have called attention to the fact that Arii’s clothing line is a different aesthetic than what she wears on her account, leading many of her teen followers to call out her lack of authenticity.

  3. Growing Up YouTube | YouTube is the top source of media content among Gen Z, who grew up watching the platform. According to YPulse’s Media Consumption Monitor, teens are more likely to watch YouTube on a weekly basis than any other platform or service, including Netflix. Media companies are cropping up to cater their content to the post-TV generation and made-for-YouTube TV and movies are bringing in millions of Gen Z viewers. With 55 percent of 13 to 18-year-olds watching YouTube more than once a day, it’s no surprise that YouTube is becoming a popular search alternative to Google. Nearly one-quarter of teens will go to YouTube first when they need to find something out.

Coming Up


SUMMER 2020 | Registration for BBYO Summer 2020 opens on November 7 at 12pm EST! Explore our summer offerings and enjoy your best savings on an unforgettable summer for your teen during Early Bird Summer (November 7–25). Thinking about CLTC for your 9th or 10th grader? Our one-day-only SUPER deal of $1,999 is available only on November 7, so mark your calendar now!

GIVINGBBYODAY | Part of the worldwide #GivingTuesday charity campaign, #givingBBYOday is on December 3rd, and is our opportunity to give back after we show gratitude for family and friends on Thanksgiving (and shop the deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday!) Every dollar raised for a region stays local, and we have a matching grant to double all donations, up to $150,000.

GLOBAL SHABBAT | December 13–14, thousands of Jewish teens across our Order will celebrate Global Shabbat—BBYO’s worldwide celebration which joins communities together to take part in meaningful, teen-led Shabbat experiences. This year’s program theme, “With All Our Might,” will be embraced around the world through a diverse array of thoughtful programming designed to bring brothers and sister together around the strength of Shabbat.

Looking for local events in your region? Check out the BBYO Near You page to see what’s happening nearby.



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

“For transgressions between a person and G-d, Yom Kippur affects atonement, but for transgressions between a person and their fellow, Yom Kippur does not affect atonement, until they have pacified their fellow.”  (Mishna Yoma 8:9)

There is something powerful about the fact that Judaism requires us to engage with one another. The Mishna tells us that we must first make amends with the people in our lives—then and only then can we be prepared to receive forgiveness from G-d. It is a powerful reminder during the holidays we just experienced that while our relationship to Judaism and G-d is crucial, our relationships to one another and our actions in our communities are just as important.

This year, we launched a project called Six Word Sorry, a High Holiday take on the six word story literary tool. We challenged members of our BBYO community to take a moment to personally reflect, giving people the opportunity to express themselves before they entered into the Yom Kippur and atonement season. The responses included powerful statements like “I overacted, I’ll apologize for that,” “Can’t is no longer an excuse,” “I said sorry, meant it too,” and “Tomorrow I get to try again.”

I know that these and other moving reflections are just the beginning of what is to come in 5780. I am consistently impressed by the maturity, self-reflection, and desire for action I see in our teens. Whether it is at a summer program, regional convention, or a chapter meeting, I know that our teens will challenge themselves, take action, and reflect on the Jewish community they are working to build.


Know a Jewish teen who should join BBYO? Tell us who they are, and we’ll reward you both with some awesome gifts as our way of saying “thanks”!

Refer a Teen