State of the movement - June 2017


Teens Dedicate 50,000+ Hours Helping Local Communities

This spring, approximately 13,500 Jewish teens across 25 countries joined together to serve their communities as part of J-Serve 2017, the international day of Jewish youth service. Thousands of BBYO teens and their peers partnered with more than 400 service organizations focusing their efforts on supporting a variety of causes including hunger, homelessness, refugees, literacy, senior wellness, and the environment.

One such effort, created by the Atlanta J-Serve team, showcased local teens’ pro-Israel pride as part of the Israeli Graffiti Project. The group created eight graffiti-art murals in partnership with Artists 4 Israel, reflecting their love for Israel while also learning about Israel advocacy. These murals were then placed on display as part of a one-of-a-kind art exhibit celebrating Israel in the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. At another J-Serve project in New Orleans, teens volunteered at an urban farm, participating in hands-on service while learning about the lack of access to healthy foods for low-income families as well as the power of environmental sustainability and fresh produce for families in need.

You can learn more about these programs, and others around the world, including this year’s largest J-Serve event in Toronto, on the J-Serve Facebook page or at

BBYO Delegates Receive Prestigious Award at AIPAC Conference

More than 35 BBYO teens were presented with the AIPAC Early Engagement Exemplar Award, recognizing the commitment to activism and unwavering support of Israel across the Order, at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC in March.

BBYO’s delegation joined thousands of Jewish adult and student leaders from around the world to discuss and strengthen U.S.-Israeli relations. Delegates received elite advocacy training and learned skills essential to political organizing, lobbying, and campaign support. Teens walked away learning to advocate for a strong and long-term American-Israeli relationship. In addition to attending sessions specifically designed for student leaders, teens heard from various policy experts, members of Congress, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and many more.

BBYO members continue to show their connection to Israel through ongoing Speak UP programs at chapter, regional, and international events and conventions – you can learn more here.

Impact L’Atid Drives Big Ideas for the Jewish Future

In partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s United Jewish Endowment Fund, BBYO Northern Region East: DC Council launched their first-ever social innovation and entrepreneurship training program, Impact L’Atid (Impact on the Future), aimed at generating original ideas designed to enhance the local Jewish community.

12 teen gamechangers collaborated with their peers over a five-month span to create new social ventures to support their communities. With the support of one-on-one mentorship and coaching from talented business and thought leaders (including three BBYO alumni), participants presented their ideas at a “Shark Tank”-style Innovation Showcase to nearly 150 of their peers and fellow community members. First, second, and third place winners received prizes worth thousands of dollars toward participation in Jewish immersive experiences, and all teens had the opportunity to bring their ideas to life to apply for additional funding and mentorship.

Learn more about the teens’ ventures.


Same Movement, New Look Coming for

Later this month BBYO will be launching a brand-new website! When you visit, you’ll notice a new look-and-feel, mobile responsiveness, an improved user experience, and new functionality designed to make it easier to navigate and register for programs and events.

“We’re so excited to be on the cutting-edge of technology to help us bring everything BBYO has to offer directly to our families,” remarked Matt Grossman, CEO of BBYO. “Launching a new digital platform that helps us deliver more meaningful experiences to more Jewish teens across the globe is truly a celebratory moment for the entire organization.”

Consider this a “heads up” on some big changes coming to!

Strengthening Global Connections for Local Teens

Spanning nearly 40 countries and including more than 7,000 teens outside the United States and Canada, BBYO’s global network is central to the organization’s mission in helping teens share ideas, best practices, and programs that enable them to create connections with their peers throughout the world.

One such program, ihost, brings Jewish teens from different communities around the world to North America for visits, as well as sharing and learning opportunities with their teen counterparts. Two of these teens, Jessie from Ohio and Sara from Croatia, met on BBYO’s Ambassadors to Bulgaria program and formed a connection over their shared values. Jessie and Sara spent 10 days on their Ambassadors experience, traveling city to city participating in service projects and learning from the local Jewish community. After becoming friends, Jessie decided to raise funds in her local community to bring Sara to North America to share her global perspective with other BBYO teens and families.

Read Sara and Jessie’s story in their EJewish Philanthropy article, “From Bulgaria to Croatia to Ohio: Three Countries, Two Teens, One Jewish Peoplehood.”

New I-Board Shares Excitement for the Year Ahead

Each year at International Convention (IC) teens elect their peers to the next International Executive Board (I-Board) to chart the movement’s vision for the coming year and provide leadership and support to local teen leaders. Here are the newly elected members of the 73rd International Board of the B’nai Brith Girls and 93rd Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph sharing their favorite part of BBYO:

International N'siah Rebecca Sereboff, BBYO Northern Region East: Baltimore Council: “I love that as we are a pluralistic movement, we have members from all walks of Judaism that bring many incredible perspectives and ideas with them, which help enhance our mission and diversify our movement.”

International S'ganit Julia Paul, BBYO Mid-America Region: Kansas City Council: “One of my favorite parts of BBYO is becoming friends with people from all around the world, with all different backgrounds and experiences, and knowing that we are all dedicated to furthering the Jewish future.”

International Aym Ha'Chaverot Allie Kalik, BBYO Northern Region East: DC Council: “My favorite part of BBYO is being able to make friends from around the country (and world) and share experiences like IC, summer programs, and more – that wouldn't be possible anywhere else.”

International Mazkirah Caroline Shrock, BBYO Gold Coast Region: “For me, having the opportunity to learn from Jewish teens around the U.S. and around the world is without a doubt my favorite part of BBYO. The people I've met through conventions, summer programs, and collaborating on programs have taught me so many impactful lessons.”

International Sh'licha Noga Hurwitz, BBYO Central Region West: “Given that very few teens are provided the opportunity to build and lead meaningful programmatic experiences for themselves and their peers, my favorite part of BBYO is the skill set that I have developed because of the movement's teen-led model.”

Grand Aleph Godol Ron Hasson, BBYO Central Region West: “My favorite part of BBYO isn’t the quantity of friendships that the organization fosters, but rather the quality of those friendships. So many Alephs and BBGs would tell you that the connections they make in the organization are meaningful, intellectual, and genuine.

Grand Aleph S'gan Jacob Lewis, BBYO Southern Region: Atlanta Council: “My favorite part of BBYO is the ability to have relationships with Jewish teens from every corner of the globe. Before I became an Aleph, I had little interaction with people outside of my school. After joining BBYO, I became a component of the global Jewish movement. I have broadened my own social circle from just Atlanta to five continents and 30+ countries.”

Grand Aleph Moreh Dylan Meehan, BBYO Nassau Suffolk Region: “My favorite part of BBYO is the countless amount of connections and friendships I have made.”

Grand Aleph Mazkir Jake Busch, BBYO Southern Region: Atlanta Council: “Among all of the leadership opportunities and wonderful programs available to me as an Aleph, the unbreakable bonds I've developed and continue to develop with friends around the country have made my experience in BBYO so memorable and rewarding.”

Grand Aleph Shaliach Jack Rosenblum, BBYO Eastern Region: Virginia Council: “My favorite part about BBYO is the connections I've made with people from my state, the country, and around the world – connections I would have never made without this organization.”