Structure of AZA
Structure of the Aleph Zadik Aleph
In order to appreciate the many opportunities that AZA offers, an Aleph, or member of AZA, must understand the structure of the organization and the many levels at which he can be involved.
AZA BEGINS WITH MEMBERS
While countless opportunities for leadership exist within AZA, the organization succeeds due to the active participation of all Alephs. It is every member’s right to utilize AZA to its full capacity, whether it be attending programs, assisting in event planning, inviting other Jewish teens to get involved or by serving as active members of the Jewish community.
AZA IS BUILT ON PLURALISM
The Aleph Zadik Aleph has always been a Movement that Jewish young men can join regardless of their levels of Jewish observance. It is the mission of AZA to create a united Jewish community that grows because it celebrates Judaism’s differences. At conventions, programs, and summer experiences, Alephs are encouraged to learn more about the different Jewish customs and rituals from other Alephs from around the world. AZA is very privileged to welcome many kinds of Judaism, but also many different kinds of Jews. AZA is open to Alephs regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. This notion was affirmed by the “Stand UP for Each Other” campaign, an initiative that present the cardinal principle of fraternity within the context of inclusivity – creating a safe space for all Jewish teens in AZA.
LEVELS OF AZA
Because there are thousands of Alephs around the world, it is necessary to break AZA down into smaller groups. The following structure has been developed over time to maximize each Aleph’s opportunity for involvement.
Chapters: The smallest, most personal, and arguably most important group within AZA is the chapter. Each member of AZA belongs to a chapter and each chapter functions much like a large family. Chapters plan programs geared toward the interests of their members and train new members in the ways of AZA. A chapter’s small size allows for the development of strong bonds between the Alephs of the chapter. The chapter is the most important level of AZA because it affects Alephs most directly.
Councils: Several chapters in the same area may be grouped into a council. Some areas have councils and others do not. They are usually used to break up large regions in order to provide additional leadership opportunities and make communities of chapters more manageable. Councils exist to serve the chapters and to allow for interaction between chapters.
Regions: Chapters in a larger area are grouped into regions. They vary in size from one large city to several states or provinces. Regions serve to bring chapters together so that they can exchange ideas, socialize, compete, and work together on larger projects. Regions also exist to serve the chapters and to help them in any way possible. Councils and regions represent all AZA communities at the international level.
Note: Certain regions that are composed of councils elect council boards as opposed to a single regional board. This scenario, known as council predominance, may occur for a variety of reasons, such as large geographic distance between councils, very large regional membership, or if the councils vary in strength to the point where each council is better served by independent leadership.
AZA is a teen-led fraternal order. Each chapter, council, region, and international program elects officers with different responsibilities to sustain the Order. Chapter officers serve six-month or full-year terms. On the council, region, and international levels, all officers serve for one year. The following are the major offices found in AZA chapters, though the order of offices varies in different areas:
Aleph Godol, President
• Leads his chapter
• Works with each board member to help accomplish their individual goals
• Represents his chapter to his council/region
• Runs business meetings
• Makes sure the board is fulfilling their responsibilities
• Communicates with the chapter advisor
• Presides over chapter elections
• Is responsible for the well being of the chapter
• Keeps constant communication with the council/regional Aleph Godol
Aleph S’gan, Vice President of Programming
• Responsible for programming in all of the Five Folds
• Presides over committees for events
• Coordinates all chapter chairmanships
• Runs board meetings
• Keeps constant communication with the council/regional S’ganim
Aleph Moreh, Vice President of Membership
• Coordinates chapter recruitment efforts
• Coordinates chapter retention and re-education efforts
• Guides and directs members in the re-registration process
• Educates new members on AZA and BBYO traditions and history through AIT classes
• Responsible for keeping brotherhood strong in the chapter
• Keeps constant communication with the council/regional Morim
Aleph Shaliach, Vice President of Jewish Heritage, Community Service and Social Action
• Plans Judaic, community service and social action programming
• Works to promote the chapter’s Stand UP cause through philanthropy, service and advocacy
• Plans all Shabbat services
• Educates chapter on Jewish customs and holidays
• Keeps constant communication with the council/regional Sh’lichim
• Serves as the chapter’s advocate for the international Speak UP campaign
Aleph Mazkir, Secretary
• Communicates with the chapter through different mediums.
• Informs chapter members of upcoming events
Aleph Gizbor, Treasurer
• Keeps track of incoming and outgoing chapter funds
• Plans chapter fundraisers
• Manages annual contribution to the International Service Fund (ISF) to support global Jewry
• Communicates with chapter advisor concerning chapter finances
• Keeps in constant communication with the council/regional Gizborim
Aleph Sopher, Publicist
• Publishes chapter newsletter or newspaper
• Maintains chapter website
• Aleph Shotare Godol, Sergeant-at-Arms
• Keeps meetings orderly and safe from intrusion
• Aleph Shotare Kotone, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms
• Assists the Aleph Shotare Godol in keeping meetings orderly and safe from intrusion
• Aleph Kohen Godol, Parliamentarian (the past Aleph Godol)
• Supports the Aleph Godol and board by offering advice and help
It is common for officers to be acknowledged by their elected office and the level of AZA on which they serve. The president of a chapter, for example, is called the Chapter Aleph Godol, while the secretary of a region is called the Regional Aleph Mazkir. The international officers of AZA are referred to as the Grand Board, and thus the international president is the Grand Aleph Godol.
Note: The positions listed above are examples of organized leadership in AZA. However, throughout its history, AZA has empowered Alephs at all levels of involvement to make a difference within their chapters and regions. Many communities have other locally specific roles for Alephs.
While AZA is a teen-led organization, adults play an important role, assisting in decision-making processes and helping to resolve any problems that might arise. Some staff members are paid professionals while others are volunteer advisors.
The adult with whom you will come in contact most often is your chapter advisor. He is a volunteer who gives of his time to help interpret BBYO policy as well as work with the elected leadership to guide the chapter. The advisor attends all chapter events and is available as a resource and mentor to chapter members.
The professional staff members primarily responsible for overseeing a council or region are the Program Directors and Program Associates. BBYO Professionals serve as advisors to the regional/council board, supervise the chapter advisors, and help plan regional/council events. Professionals are also responsible for working with parents, coordinating the fundraising efforts through BBYO’s Friends and Alumni Network (FAN), and forging relationships with community agencies.
Through summer experiences and other international activities, an Aleph will likely encounter members of the International Office staff. These professionals are charged with setting and leading the strategic direction of the organization. Members of the International Office staff have responsibilities ranging from managing the finances and operations to running our summer leadership programs to hiring and training our regional and council paid professional staff and serving as a liaison with our international teen executive boards. In addition, fundraising and FAN relations efforts are coordinated at this level.