I knew from the first BBYO event I went to four years ago that I wanted to commit myself to the organization – I wanted to be a part of something bigger – and it was BBYO.
While the meaning of BBYO has changed for me throughout my time as a BBG, I met my best friends at BBYO and connected with communities of Jewish people around the world. I found opportunities to not only learn about being Jewish but to support others as they find their path and connections to Judaism – something I’d be hard pressed to find anywhere other than BBYO.
This last year I served as the International Sh’licha, BBG vice president of community service, social action, and Jewish heritage. Through my work, I witnessed, first-hand, the impact of bringing the global Jewish community together and was inspired by how BBYO brings Judaism to teens around the world.
A few months ago I left home on a two-week journey to Poland to bear witness the atrocities of the Holocaust, and to Israel to celebrate the Jewish Homeland, as a part of the BBYO international teen delegation on the March of the Living. Together with 10,000 people and 140 fellow BBYO members, I marched in silence from the Auschwitz to Birkenau concentration camps and days later celebrated Israeli independence on the streets of the Jewish state.
While I learned so much on this trip about the persecution of Jews and was overcome by the strength and perseverance of the Jewish people, I was in awe of how BBYO brings teens together and helps teens lead the Jewish revival – this trip serving as one example of many.
Throughout the trip, I reconnected with my friends Lara from Ireland, Paula from Argentina, Aviel from Austria, Benjamin from Slovakia. Before the March of the Living, I met these friends at International Leadership Training Conference (ILTC) and International Convention (IC). BBYO gave me so much from this experience: I connected with Jewish teens from around the world, some of my closest friends – not just once but many times – in a place that sought to end our people, allowing us as Jewish teens to be a part of the Jewish renaissance.
BBYO has brought me Judaic fulfillment and connection by offering me outlets to not only be Jewish, but share my religion, my passions, and my commitments with peers. While my experience is unique to me, I know BBYO is changing so many lives, unifying and growing the young, global Jewish community.
Nicci is one of nearly 20,000 BBYO members who has more Jewish experiences and a broader community thanks to supporters like you. An anonymous donor pledged to match all gifts up to $50,000 between now and June 30. This week your gift will go twice as far, helping make our network of Jewish teens a richer place. Will you help share these experiences with more Jewish teens?