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 7 | September 2020

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


Dear Parents,

As summer 2020 fades out and the days begin to lengthen, fall is the time of year we begin our planning for next summer. And this year is no exception. After countless hours on Zoom calls and streaming services, barely leaving the house or seeing our friends, we all need something exciting to look forward to, especially our teens. I feel confident next summer is it!

You’ve probably heard about the BIG news by now; as part of the RootOne initiative, BBYO has a limited number of $3,000 travel vouchers to reduce the cost of sending teens to Israel next summer (regardless of need)! We’ve amped up our Israel summer offerings for 2021 with more destinations and date choices than ever before. Best of all, we are continuing our promise, as we do every year, with a registration that is flexible and totally risk-free—your $250 trip deposit is refundable through March 2, 2021, and you can change your program choice as long as space is available. BUT voucher quantities are limited, so claim your spot ASAP!

I invite you to be amazed by our Israel experiences and connections. There are incredible opportunities available to your teen, from journeying across Israel on a cross-country experience, to scaling mountains and hiking through canyons, to exploring local cultures and society, to designing a summer program with a customized electives-based experience. Whatever your teen chooses, we can offer them a unique summer experience in Israel they won’t want to miss. This summer, they deserve it.

I’d love to hear from you if you want to connect or ask questions about our programs. Feel free to set up some time to speak. Our first trip leaves in 270 days; will your teen be on it?

Best wishes,

Aaron Robbin
Senior Director, BBYO Passport



Voice Your Vote | BBYO’s Voice Your Vote campaign is in full swing and hundreds of young organizers are working hard to help get out the vote. Parents can easily get involved by registering to vote, pledging to vote, or even signing up to be a poll worker. Learn more about what we’ve got going on for our campaign here.

High Holiday Enrichment | Our teens have been actively preparing for the high holidays with acts of kindness and introspection. Our calendar for the Hebrew month of Elul is filled with engaging speakers, acts of kindness as part of the #BeKind21 initiative (you can learn more about that in the Wellness Corner section below), and the return of last year’s popular Six Word Sorry campaign.

Movement Kickoff | Last Sunday, thousands of teens from across the word united to officially launch our new programming year. We were joined on Zoom by our special guest, Saturday Night Live writer, comedian, and actor Colin Jost. This epic celebration was just the beginning for our Alephs and BBGs—if you know a teen who is not yet a member, now is a great time to invite them to join and get involved in all the amazing things we have coming up this fall.

Israel Travel Vouchers | As Aaron mentioned in his welcome note above, we recently shared the exciting news about a limited number of $3,000 travel vouchers available to Jewish teens to defray the cost of summer Israel travel for 2021. Parents can hold their teen’s spot with total confidence—a $250 trip deposit is all you need to secure your spot and get in line for a voucher, and it’s fully refundable through March 2, 2021. We know planning still feels a bit daunting in these changing times, and so we’re making it easier and more flexible than ever before.



The Jewish month of Elul is considered a time for reflection, thoughtfulness, and community, and is typically accompanied by a flurry of activity. However, like so many other benchmarks and milestones of the past few months, this Elul is different. The future is uncertain for our teens and for us—we are continuing to live through a pandemic, struggling with racial inequality, and grappling to support our youth in what continues to be challenging and unprecedented times.

Recognizing this different new year’s season and the continued need to connect to community, BBYO is participating in Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation initiative, BeKind21. Inspired by the idea that habits are formed by repeating an activity for 21 consecutive days, #BeKind21 calls on participants to practice an act of kindness each day. For all of Elul and up through Yom Kippur, BBYO teens have the daily opportunity to engage in kind acts for their community and themselves.

With so many things happening in the world right now, one might wonder why we are choosing to focus on kindness. In fact, kindness is more important now than ever. Being kind is a skill that one can learn. Kindness promotes empathy and compassion, and combats isolation. Additionally, acts of kindness can help to reduce stress, anger, depression, and anxiety—areas where research has shown adolescents tend to struggle. Finally, being kind can positively alter the chemicals in our brain, increasing dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.

All this means that kindness builds protective factors for both short and long-term mental health and wellness. It helps to connect our teens to the community around them which is vital at a time when the future feels uncertain and individuals feel alone and isolated. Kind acts also help build hope—they help individuals see the impact that one person can have and inspire others to be kind as well.

As we begin a New Year full of unknowns, kindness matters. Both being kind to ourselves and doing kind acts for others are foundational practices that will help us all weather whatever comes our way. I hope that you will join your teens in this effort and #BeKindBBYO.



In this edition of Trending Now, we’re sharing the latest updates on social media changes, how brands are re-thinking shopping seasons, and one surprising hobby on the rise.

Instagram’s new layouts | The social media giant has started testing three new layouts on the app’s navigation bar to put a spotlight on shopping and Reels. By adding a shopping tab on the home page, Instagram believes it will be able to attract more retail businesses and help monetize influencers on the platform who are selling merchandise, art, and other products, especially as young consumers are becoming more interested in “social shopping.” Furthermore, as competition with TikTok heats up, emphasizing Reels with a tab could also help boost its popularity at a key time. Reels was introduced by Instagram earlier this summer and allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and creative tools.

Brands re-thinking Black Friday | This year’s holiday season, as with everything else in 2020, is certainly going to look different. While retailers are preparing for increased ecommerce traffic, there are still questions around how comfortable shoppers will be visiting stores, how they feel about key events like Black Friday, or how much they’ll be willing to spend. In a recent study by YPulse, nearly a third of young shoppers said they will likely spend less than they did in 2019. Furthermore, only 10% of shoppers say that brands should treat Black Friday the way they always have. In fact, young consumers are far more likely to shop online for Black Friday in 2020, with only 8% saying they will shop in store, compared to 36% who say they will shop online. As such, retailers will need to re-think how Black Friday can transform into an ecommerce event this year.

Guitars rise in popularity | It appears that young consumers have been fueling guitar sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, over the past few years, sales of electric guitars dropped, with some calling the instrument a “Boomer relic,” but during the pandemic, guitar brands are having a record year. Teens and young adults, the majority female, are fueling the guitar revival. Nearly 20% of new users were under 24-years-old, while young women accounted for 45% of new buyers. Instructional guitar sites like GuitarTricks saw spikes in views this spring, while instructional app Fender Play saw its user base increase from 150,000 to nearly a million users between March and June.



Rosh Hashana Celebration | This Thursday, September 17‪ at 8:30 PM ET we will be kicking off 5781 with a Movement-wide New Year Special and parents are invited to join in! Judaism has given us the gift of a New Year in the middle of one of the most challenging years many of us have ever experienced, and we’re ready to celebrate with music, reflection, and inspirational messages. We will be joined by Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak, long considered one of the most athletic and energetic personalities in the sport of swimming. He will be sharing his journey as a Jewish athlete, how we can all stay motivated to set goals and work through challenging times, and how to feel inspired as we start 5781. Get all the details and register here.

Fall Conventions | Start-of-year Conventions are a hallmark of BBYO programming, and this year in no exception! Our communities will be hosting incredible virtual conventions over weekends in October and November, and we’re embracing the flexibility of the digital platform with community-connecting opportunities, more special guests and educators, and even more chances to get involved in planning. Stay on the lookout for info coming your way from your regional staff!

AmazonSmile | Are you doing any fall shopping? You can easily support BBYO while you do 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!



Welcome to the newest section of Parent Pulse! Based on parent feedback, each issue we’ll be sharing thoughts and writings directly from our teens.

Hannah Borenstein, South Jersey Region | Hannah sits down with her parents, Jordan and Debora—who have both been volunteering as BBYO chapter advisors for a combined 20 years—to discuss their shared BBYO experiences, the bond it’s created between them, and what being advisors means to them. Read her interview here.

Leon Jasqui, BBYO Mexico | As a member of our Global Leadership Academy, Leon has been empowered to lift his voice and share his perspective in order to create change. He even got to create his own Ted Talk about the pros and cons of autonomous vehicles! Read about his experience here.