State of the movement - March 2017


4,500 Jewish teen leaders, educators & professionals united in Dallas for IC 2017

Over Presidents’ Day weekend, February 16-20, 4,500 of the Jewish community’s top teen leaders, educators, professionals, and philanthropists from across the world came together in Dallas, Texas for BBYO International Convention (IC). Participants heard from inspiring speakers, deepened their leadership skills, served the local community, celebrated Shabbat together, and enjoyed exclusive music performances, all while doing their part to ensure a stronger Jewish future.

With more than 2,500 teen participants in Dallas, a 296% increase in participation over the past six years, IC 2017 demonstrates an increased teen demand for high-quality Jewish experiences with Jewish peers. The convention builds joy and enthusiasm for being “a part of something bigger” and, in addition to showcasing spirit and community pride, IC delegates joined in the democratic process of electing AZA and BBG’s next international board!

We extend our deepest thanks to all the Alephs, B’nai B’rith Girls, parents, alumni, advisors, and volunteers across Dallas for their hard work, warm welcome, and gracious hospitality. As we experienced this incredible moment together, we’re more inspired than ever to be the Jewish world’s home for every Jewish teen – anywhere and everywhere – for generations to come.


2017 marked a series of exciting milestones for BBYO’s historic convention

While IC continues to expand, and evolve each year, this year marked several exciting milestones and “firsts” for BBYO’s historic convention, including:

  • Select IC 2017 sessions broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube in 3D virtual reality

  • The presence of full-time mashgiach overseeingGlatt Kosher meal preparation and provisions in a fully koshered kitchen

  • Program workshops offered in various languages including Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish

  • A teen-led committee upgrading dozens of conference elements to elevate inclusion access, communication, and services to make IC accessible to all members

  • Upperclassmen piloting a brand-new mentorship program to 124 freshmen attending IC

  • Delegations from our global communities in Austria and Poland attending IC for the first time

As we look ahead to IC 2018 in Orlando, we look forward to creating and sharing more milestones and “firsts” with you!


Teens celebrated Shabbat in various ways that resonated personally with them

BBYO offered 24 pluralistic teen-led Shabbat services at IC, of all observance levels, allowing teens to celebrate Shabbat in a way that resonates personally with them. Shabbat services ranged from a Beatles-themed service where teens drew parallels between themes from the music and Judaism to a mindfulness and meditation service focused on inner peace.

To do their part in sharing acts of kindness and repairing the world, thousands of Alephs and BBGs engaged in 40 different hands-on initiatives with organizations across Dallas where they learned about topics such as advocacy, civil rights, education, food sustainability, human rights, immigration, and more. These opportunities focused on exploring and sharing leadership resources as well as skills that teens can use to become gamechangers in their communities and throughout the world, positively impacting their communities and giving back.

"When I joined BBYO, I instantly felt a stronger connection to my Jewish heritage. After attending IC this year, that connection grew stronger. I'm thankful for this experience and for having the opportunity here to be proud of and express my Jewish identity.” – Rachel S., BBYO NRE: DC Council


IC delegates engaged with remarkable figures and brands via interactive experiences

With over 220 program partners at IC this year, including AIPAC, Buzzfeed, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, Duke University, Girls Who Code, Samsung, and SoulCycle, Alephs and BBGs gained real-world insights from a remarkable group of figures and brands from the worlds of politics, activism, entertainment, and business. Through these unique experiences, participants were challenged and inspired spiritually, personally, and intellectually throughout the weekend.

Delegates were also able to learn more about BBYO, our partners, and some of the most interesting and exciting organizations from across the Jewish and business communities via the IC Interactive Partner Network! Highlights of these experiences included an opportunity to see and work with 3D printing up close, the ability to record and update GIF clips to social media in real-time, and engaging with a freestyle recording booth onsite!

"BBYO International convention is about more than energy and hope—it’s about vision and resolve. For five days, the student-led youth organization and its delegates come to hear prominent speakers at plenary sessions and hold smaller breakout discussions, sharpening their leadership skills and grappling with hot-button issues facing both the Jewish community and society at-large.” – Jewish News Service (, February 22, 2017


The classes of 1967-1970 celebrated their 50-year BBYO anniversary throughout the weekend

In addition to the teen experience at IC 2017, community supporters, philanthropists, and professionals invested in the Jewish future attended a special VIP reception honoring the Dallas Jewish community, featuring BBYO members, alumni, and partners from around the world. They gained a deeper understanding of the impact BBYO is having throughout the global Jewish community through environments like IC, where teens build relationships and lifelong connections to their Jewish peers.

As part of a weekend long-reunion, the Classes of 1967-1970 celebrated 50 years since their active AZA and BBG membership. They joined delegates for a special 50th anniversary reunion program, including speaking with the current Grand Aleph Godol and International N’siah (BBYO teen presidents) about BBYO 'then and now.'  At the same time, a group of young alumni also joined IC 2017 on Saturday evening for Havdallah and a special celebration of where BBYO is today!


IC served as the launchpoint for BBYO’s new free Jewish roommate finder app

BBYO’s first-of-its-kind free Jewish roommate finder app, Joomie, launched at IC 2017. Available for both iOS and Android devices, Joomie matches Jewish high school seniors or current college students who are set to attend the same college or university, with potential roommates who share similar interests, hobbies, and/or values.

First formulated in a hack-a-thon sponsored by Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s ROI Community, teens from Tel Aviv to Silicon Valley brainstormed ways to use technology to connect with BBYO or camp friends as they transition to college.

To find a new roommate, students download the free Joomie app and answer a series of questions to ensure it’s the right match. Questions range from their Jewish youth group affiliations and whether they’re Sabbath observant and keep kosher, to what kind of music they like, and whether they’re early birds or night owls. Students then will be able to see profiles of others who are good potential roommate matches based on their profile characteristics, making it easier than ever to find a Jewish roommate.

Thank you for your continued support! By investing in BBYO, you're investing in the lives of today's Jewish teens and in Jewish continuity, values and traditions.

Support our Jewish future by making a donation today. Your contributions enable us to provide fun, meaningful and affordable experiences to Jewish teens throughout the world!