Parent Pulse



Dear Parents,

Welcome to our inaugural issue of BBYO Parent Pulse, a newsletter specifically designed for parents of BBYO teens to help you keep up to date with goings on in the Order! At BBYO, we know that the only way for us to achieve our mission of bringing meaningful experiences to Jewish teens is by partnering with parents. For nearly a century, parents have trusted us to provide a safe space in which their teens can thrive, and Parent Pulse will give you an insider’s glimpse into those spaces every other month.

Every issue you’ll find news about upcoming events, thoughts from our dedicated Wellness and Jewish Enrichment teams, helpful links, interesting articles, as well as some new surprises along the way. We’re thrilled to offer this easy way for parents to stay informed and in touch. Do you have feedback or things you’d like to see? Reach out to us at [email protected]!


Matthew Grossman

Around the Corner


CELEBRATING SUMMER | Summer 2019 is just wrapping up and what an amazing summer it was! This year, 2,284 teens joined us on BBYO summer leadership experiences and international travel programs. Of that group, over 1,050 members participated in our premier summer leadership programs (CLTC, ILTC, and Kallah), including our largest contingent of international teens to date! Check out this video of our global teens sharing their thoughts on how meaningful their experience was with us this summer.

LEADING THE MOVEMENT | Are you familiar with BBYO’s International Leadership Network (ILN)? The ILN is an opportunity for members from every community, regardless of position or grade, to raise their hand to help build the Movement. Whether teens want to plan IC, envision new ways to strengthen our priorities, or build bridges between communities across the world—there are endless ways for them to step up and lead. Teen applications just closed, but you can learn more about the opportunities in the ILN here.

AUGUST EXECS | One of our most strategically important events of the year, International August Executives Conference, took place last weekend in Pennsylvania. BBYO community presidents and staff members from all over the world came together to plan the year ahead—and they couldn’t be more excited about all of the awesome things they have in store for everyone. Additionally, the 95th Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and 75th International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls were officially installed into their new positions! You can watch our teen presidents’ inaugural address here.

IC REGISTRATION IS COMING | BBYO International Convention (IC) 2020 is going to be bigger and better than ever before as it lands in Dallas, Texas, on President’s Day weekend in February!

As the world’s largest international gathering of Jewish teens, this annual event is a fully immersive experience with panels and performances from celebrities, philanthropists, thought leaders, business executives, and more! Registration for this sell-out event opens worldwide on Thursday, September 26 at 8 PM. More information is available on the IC Launch Night page.

Wondering if IC is the right fit for your teen? You can explore the event on the AZA BBG website, including recap video, blogs, and photos from past years, and details on our commitment to making IC an inclusive and safe space in which anyone can feel welcome and comfortable.

Wellness Corner


Welcome to the Wellness Corner. We are excited to share with you all of the news coming out of BBYO and our Center for Adolescent Wellness. This will be a space where we will share information about current events, hot topics, and challenges in adolescent mental health and development, as well as tips for handling issues, resources, and more. To start things off, we want to share a little information about ourselves, our wellness and inclusion initiatives, and a few suggestions for the start of the new year.

Drew Fidler, LCSW-C (pictured above), is the Director of the BBYO Center for Adolescent Wellness. “As the Director of the Center for Adolescent Wellness, I help to ensure that BBYO and other youth serving organizations are places where adolescents can thrive through institutional best practices in health and wellness. Working with teens has always been my passion, and my social work career has focused on aiding youth serving organizations in understanding children’s mental health issues and how to best support and advocate for their needs.”

Ari Handel, LSW, is BBYO’s Director of Inclusion. “Throughout the last three years, I’ve worked to ensure that BBYO’s inclusion efforts have evolved to ensure teens have their emotional, mental, and physical needs met in chapter and regional programs, International Convention, summer programs, and Passport trips. I work directly with teens, families, and staff to support BBYO teens.”

At BBYO we are committed to creating a mentally, emotionally, and physically safe environment for all teens. BBYO welcomes Jewish teens of all backgrounds, denominational affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, including those with a range of intellectual, emotional, and physical abilities. Through the Center for Adolescent Wellness and our inclusion initiatives we want to create a movement that is focused on growing leaders who can face challenges and thrive.

In that vein, here are five tips for a healthy start to the new year:

  1. Routine | The hardest part of the year is getting back into a routine—let’s be honest, no teen likes to get up before noon. Start easing them into a routine before school starts. This can help to reduce the anxiety and the uncertainty of new beginnings.

  2. Communicate | Open up the lines of communication for your teen. Let them know that you are always here to talk.

  3. Phones Need Sleep, Too | Every night teens need to rest and recharge and those pesky screens don’t help. Try helping your teen get better refreshing sleep by encouraging them to digitally disconnect and leave their phone elsewhere.

  4. Destress Plan | School is stressful. Help your teen to make a plan to destress before the year begins. What are 10 things they love to do that can help them to destress when they are feeling the pressure? How can you be a partner in helping them to achieve those things?

  5. Focus on the Positives | Help your teen recognize their strengths and how they can leverage them throughout the school year. Some teens may need to be reminded of their strengths throughout the year and may benefit from writing their strengths out and referring to them when things get tough. 

We look forward to providing you more information throughout the year. Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] and [email protected] with questions!



Welcome to the “trend spot” where we’ll share the latest updates on youth trends from our partner, YPulse, a leading provider of news, commentary, and research on tweens, teens, and young adults. As a BBYO member parent, you now have access to the latest teen trends and market research through these exclusive insights!


  1. Cult of Ugly | The new "ugly" trend, which embraces people's imperfections and flaws, is growing in popularity. Teens are tired of seeing unrelatable "perfect" pictures that previously dominated social media. When polled, 80 percent of 13 to 17-year-olds like when people showcase their flaws and imperfections. Brands are embracing this trend by releasing chunkier and less form fitting garments and showing off “imperfections” such as acne and gapped teeth on the runway and in other marketing tactics.

  2. Wellness Intensified | In a world where 77 percent of teens feel that "the world is a chaotic place right now" and where 85 percent "wish they could have more control over the events in their lives," health and wellness, also known as self-care, has become increasingly important. Social media celebrates this trend as influencers aim to inspire teens to spend an increasing amount of money on new vitamins, therapy treatments, and more. The wellness intensified movement has teens focusing on and spending more than ever on personal care.

  3. Unstoppable Female Athletes | For young consumers today, athletes are influencers, with 35 percent of 13 to 36-year-olds following athletes on social networks. For many teens, athletes’ personal stories and achievements, even away from the sport they play, matter to them, and their attachment to athletes isn’t just about game stats. The ranking of favorite athletes this year among Gen-Z and Millennials is increasingly female, with Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and U.S. soccer champ Alex Morgan both making the top 15 list. For years, Serena Williams—who ranked #1 in popularity for females and #3 for males —has been the only female on the list, so this marks a significant change.

  4. How Gen-Z Watches TV and Video | Gen Z is a video-first generation. They’re more likely than Millennials to prefer video over text and are attracted to social platforms that put video front and center. Below are five stats which represent their responses to the question, “What kind of content are you watching and how are you watching it?”

    • Seven in ten teens watch video content on their smartphones

    • Only a third watch on TV

    • Three-quarters watch YouTube weekly

    • Less than one in five watch cable weekly

    • Over three in ten watch video content on Instagram weekly

Coming Soon


  • Fall Kickoff, our Movement-wide initiative to launch the new year, is going on now in communities around the world! Visit the BBYO Kickoff page of the AZA BBG website to learn more and find an event in your region your teen can attend.

  • A new BBYO Parent Portal is launching this week! The portal will serve as an online resource for both prospective and member parents to learn more about what teens do in BBYO, what leadership opportunities they have access to, and how parents can get more involved.

  • Worldwide registration for the biggest Jewish teen event of the year, BBYO International Convention 2020, opens on Thursday, September 26 at 8 PM EST. Teens can join local launch night parties and get in on all the fun in their own communities!

  • The High Holiday season is quickly approaching! We’ll be putting out resources to help chapters and families enhance their celebrations—stay tuned!

Looking for local events in your region? Check out the BBYO Near You page to see what’s happening nearby.

Jewishly Speaking


Jewishly Speaking features a thought from a member of our Jewish Enrichment team. Our inaugural message comes from Liron Lipinsky, Associate Vice President of Jewish Enrichment.

I write this message on the heels of an incredible weekend with teen leaders from all over the globe at August Executives Conference. While there, I found myself frequently pausing, completely awed by the wonder that surrounded me. BBYO teens feel an undeniable sense of urgency—an urgency to make their communities more just, more welcoming, and safer for all. “If I am not for myself, who is for me? When I am for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14). Like Hillel when he wrote this, BBYO teens are in a constant state of self-examination.

Rosh Hashanah literally means “Head of the Year” in that it marks the point when we begin the new calendar year (this season begins the Jewish calendar year 5780). There are four names for this holy day, each one highlighting a different facet of the holiday. In addition to Rosh Hashanah, we have:  

  • Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgment

  • Yom Harat Haolam, the Birthday of the World

  • Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance

  • Yom Teruah, The Day of Sounding [the Shofar]—this is the actual name that the holiday is called in the Torah. The Teruah is the staccato sound blown by the shofar.

We open another programming year at BBYO alongside the High Holy Days and the sounding of the Shofar. This sound, an alarm for our souls, further fuels the sense of urgency for our Movement. The Shofar jolts us to reevaluate, re-envision, and refine ourselves for another year ahead. Another year has gone by… another year lies before us for us to do better for the world.

Of all the names for the holiday listed about, Yom Hazikaron is likely to be the least familiar to most. Yet, memory, and thus Yom Hazikaron, is one of the most powerful and hopeful elements of this season. The role of memory and remembering has extreme significance in modern Jewish practice, but also stems deeply into the history of our people. In fact, the word zachor, “remember,” appears more than 150 times in our Torah. Most familiar, the Ten Commandments include, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,” as well as, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt,” the reminder of our responsibilities as a Jewish people once enslaved and now free. These are the seeds that root into the sense of urgency teens feels today.

Your teen is not in this work alone. They have a whole Movement from all corners of the world joining them in pursuing those urgent dreams. They also have you to partner with them and cheer them on. These upcoming High Holy Days provide a valuable opportunity—ten whole days set aside from our otherwise busy and noisy world to remind ourselves of who we are and where we came from, and to dream about where we would like to be. We do this work together as a Jewish community all over the globe to encourage one another not only to vision, but to get started on fulfilling those visions—of a more just, more welcoming, and safer world for all.


Know a Jewish teen who should join BBYO? Tell us who they are, and we’ll reward you both with some awesome gifts as our way of saying “thanks”!

Refer a Teen