State of the movement - december 2016

State of the Movement


Jewish Teens Around the World Celebrate Unforgettable Shabbat

Throughout the weekend of December 2-3, Jewish teens from more than 500 local chapters in hundreds of communities across 20 countries joined together to take part in BBYO’s Global Shabbat 2016. Celebrating this year’s theme, “Be a Gamechanger,” participants engaged a variety of influential gamechangers, including local officials, politicians, lay leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists, and Holocaust survivors, in interactive Shabbat celebrations alongside their peers, families, and communities.

Just a few of the many notable guests joining this year’s Global Shabbat celebrations included: Glenn Greenberg, Senior Editor at Time, Inc. and former writer for Marvel Entertainment; Larry King, American television and radio host and former CNN commentator; Mort Lightstone, Captain with the Royal Canadian Air Force; Estee Portnoy, Senior Vice President of Marketing for JUMP DC and Business Manager for NBA legend, Michael Jordan; and Harry Swimmer, a top-ten finalist for this year’s CNN Heroes and Founder of Mitey Riders, a non-profit providing equine therapy to young people with disabilities.


From Canning to Car Washing, Teens Raise Thousands for Breast Cancer

For two BBYO chapters in the Greater Jersey Hudson River Region, it came down to months of car washing and canning to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. Pascack Valley BBG #1096’s and Pascack Valley AZA #1353’s hard work paid off in the form of $17,628 they raised for Play for P.I.N.K., a breast cancer research foundation. Due to a generous donor’s underwriting of the organization’s administrative costs, 100% of all funds raised for Play for P.I.N.K. are donated directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The Pasack Valley teens held multiple canning locations and car washes every Sunday during the summer, and culminated their hard work in November with a celebratory Pink and White Ball where they raised additional funds from raffles, merchandise and over 300 teens in attendance!  Learn more about the teens’ continuing service efforts by visiting their YouCaring page.


Gearing Up for Exciting Journeys on #BBYOSummer2017

From adventure to leadership to community service, BBYO has a plethora of exciting journeys planned in destinations across the globe this summer. On the home front, registrations for summer leadership experiences are flourishing! The number of teens signed up for ILTC and Kallah this summer is already higher than the number of participants in these programs in 2016. Additionally, the 16 Teen Coordinators selected for CLTC represent 15 different BBYO regions -- the most diverse group of coordinators CLTC has seen yet!

On the “what’s new” front, BBYO is headed to the Big Apple and rolling out a brand-new program with partner, Summer Discovery, at Pace University.  The BBYO NYC Global Leadership & Social Change Institute offers participants the opportunity to grow as leaders in business, education, and beyond. Teens will meet with business and organizational leaders through appearances and off-campus site-visits to sites such as the United Nations, Be Social Change, and Wall Street. And finally, across the ocean, BBYO is marking 60 years of travel to Israel with a series of celebrations this summer! An Israeli Shaliach has joined the team to provide additional education, training and travel opportunities so that more teens can travel to Israel and form a personal connection with the Jewish homeland.


Launching A Space for Teens to ‘Voice Their Vote’

The unique nature of this year’s election provided an even greater need for teens to understand and connect to the issues by tuning into the presidential debates. As a result, BBYO teens hosted 100 debate night watch parties, engaging more than 1,200 teens around the U.S. On Election Night, thousands of teens gathered to take in history side-by-side with their peers in 31 BBYO communities. These events, in partnership with Rock the Vote and over 50 local agencies, incorporated national live polling, programs to better understand the electoral process and celebrity engagements, including Justin Baldoni from The CW’s Jane the Virgin, Jackie Cruz from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and RJ Mitte from AMC’s Breaking Bad. Election Night was capped off with four teens winning an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC for the Inauguration in January!

With the introduction of the #gamechangers campaign this August, BBYO has seen an increase in political awareness and understanding throughout the teen-led movement. Through fun and informative programming, almost 6,000 Jewish teens have been educated, inspired and empowered to understand how to productively build civic engagement, leadership and service into their everyday lives.


JDC-BBYO Fellowship Offers Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

In the famous words of the ancient storyteller, Aesop, “No act of kindness is ever wasted.” In this case, the act of kindness turns out to be a unique professional opportunity for Jewish young professionals to volunteer overseas with JDC, the world's leading Jewish humanitarian aid organization.

Responding to international Jewish and humanitarian needs, JSC (Jewish Service Corps) Fellows facilitate and create innovative programs using their unique skills and talents. A select number of these JSC Fellows serve as year-long paid JDC-BBYO Fellows, working with Jewish teenagers and helping to enhance Jewish life around the world. Fellows couple their experience as counselors, advisors and leaders, with BBYO’s expertise in teen engagement as the largest global pluralistic Jewish youth movement, to develop leaders and connect teens around the world.  Read more about the current cohort of Fellows and alumni – and if you’re interested in applying, the deadline is quickly approaching on January 5, 2017!


Strengthening U.S.-Israel Relationship Through Advocacy and Training

BBYO’s commitment to Israel is both rooted in history and ingrained deeply in values. This year, BBYO brought 80 delegates from across the United States to Washington, DC to participate in the AIPAC Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit. The Summit offered training to over 400 high school students in how to effectively strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship through engagement of the American political process. Together, teens learn how to have agency in the U.S. political process, gain a deeper understanding about the issues facing Israel, become stronger Israel advocates and further develop their relationships with the State of Israel.

Participating in the Summit gave me an opportunity to advocate for a cause I believe in,” said Jacob L., BBYO Southern Region, Atlanta Council. “It also connected me with hundreds of teens who share a common, uniting passion—the protection of a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship. After the summit, I knew I had the tools necessary to continue making a difference on the local government level."

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