More Than Meetings, Making Changes

By Sophie Dornfeld, Northern Region East: Northern Virginia Council, IC Press Corps 2017 

To put it simply, the February Executives Pre-Summit was game-changing. Each and every unique activity we participated in was in some way or another reinventing both how we can adapt our leadership styles to realize our visions and also how we can restructure our goals to suit where we, as an Order, are headed following a momentous Fall Term. 

We began with two rotations discussing aspects of the upcoming Spring Term that we have to look forward to and prepare for, such as: J-serve, Founders' Days, Summer Experiences, and more! Following dinner, we were engaged in a ceremonial Roll Call to celebrate all of the representatives with whom we would be experiencing IC 2017. After separating into our individual Pre-IC Summits, the Execs body was afforded the opportunity to participate in two rotations of breakout sessions, each designed to provide us with skills to take back to our Countries/Regions/Councils relating to membership, retention, and inspiring and mobilizing our peers. Finally, we once again reconvened to delve into meaningful separates programs to close the first night of what will inevitably be an unforgettable weekend. 

We began another impactful day together with all of the Pre-IC Summits through an early morning musical Shacharit service. After breakfast we partook in a business meeting where we voted on exciting legislation that will change the way our movement operates, making us more inclusive, supportive, and welcoming. Leaving for lunch, you could feel the energy in the air as we had just passed a piece of legislation that will blaze the path to ensure that we are truly a GLOBAL organization (more details to come!). We finished the pre-summit quite appropriately by hearing from Chancellor Arnie Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seninary. He lead a discussion about what it means to be a Jewish leader and have a "hyphenated identity" (Jewish-American). 

Leaving February Execs, I feel confident saying I am not alone in that I couldn't possibly be more energized to have a fantastic last IC and continue the term as Council N'siah, utilizing the skills and tools that were sharpened over the course of my pre-summit. Shoutout to Ellie and Aaron for all of their hard work!! I know the last few months of the programming year will be full to the brim with other incredible opportunities you can't get outside of BBYO. #GameOn 

Going Global with BBYO

By Tash Cowan (BBYO UKI) and Danielle Katz (NRE: DC Council), IC Press Corps 2017

Hi! We're Tash Cowan (UKI) and Danielle Katz (NRE: DC Council), the Global Partners Summit coordinators this year, and it was so impactful, rewarding, and exciting to be able to coordinate this experience for everyone!

Over the course of the past 24 hours, more than 200 teens from more than 30 countries have dedicated their time to learning about the global refugee crisis.

Participants learned about the crisis through a Jewish lens, examining their special obligation to take action as Jews, and their responsibilities as Jewish teens.

To convey the relevance of it being a modern crisis and to humanize refugees, we watched videos and looked at multi-media portrayals of a refugee crisis in a time of advanced phones, connections, and technology. We held discussions on how different mediums impact the viewers and how they depict the crises.

In a values clarification exercise, participants shared personal and preconceived values, sharing the significance of them in their decision making processes.

Three speakers from a variety of backgrounds and organizations inspired teens to go beyond only learning about the crisis and to take action. Participants brainstormed how to use resources gained here to make an impact on the world from their community by writing declarations for the UN Youth Council and learning about hands-on projects with the JDC.

Now, we can't wait for everyone to make their mark on the world and see our thoughts and inspirations translate to actions across the world. 

From Coast to Coast, Eh?

By Sarah Swartz, Lake Ontario Region, IC 2017 Press Corps

This year, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the second annual Canadian National Pre-Summit, twenty-four hours for me and over 60 other Canadians from Alberta to Quebec to celebrate Canada’s 91st year as part of the International Order, and learn how to grow and strengthen Canada’s BBYO presence. When I walked into the room, I was shocked at how many other Canadians are active in BBYO. We had so many differences depending on what region of Canada we were from, but one thing we all had in common was our dedication to our respective chapters, regions, and the International Order at large. Sure, we might like to order different drinks at Tim Horton’s, but our love for this organization unites us all. The steering committee really emphasized this idea through our first program, where we each made a flag for our region, and presented them in front of the entire group. While our flags were all different, we all valued connection to Judaism, leadership opportunities, and strong sense of community our region provides. This is what makes BBYO such a powerful movement - we are equally diverse and unified.

We then met with our regions to identify specific challenges within our chapters, and brainstorm effective solutions. Regional and international programs are incredible, but the most special and memorable experiences happen on the chapter level. It is the intimacy and support of one’s chapter which empowers members to become more involved on regional and international levels. We also heard from Jamie Reich, the director of outreach and programming at CJPAC, Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee. CJPAC encourages Jewish Canadians to engage themselves in political discussion and advocacy. She explained to us that it is so important to involve ourselves in the political process, to amplify Jewish voices in our communities and to advocate for what we care about most. This morning, we had a Canadian business meeting, and it was interesting to see BBG business meeting traditions from around Canada. At this business meeting, we worked together thinking of ways to improve connections between Canadian regions after IC. I learned so much at this summit, and made friends from across the country. I am so excited to bring back these new skills and ideas back to the Great White North to strengthen and inspire my chapter, region, and nation.


International Convention is kicking off with five incredible Pre-IC summits

By Leah Kay, Liberty Region Alumna, IC Press Corps 2017 

International Convention is kicking off with five incredible Pre-IC summits this February! The second annual Canadian National Summit where teens across all four Canadian BBYO regions come together to set priorities and goals. Throughout the program, ensuring they are growing the movement and strengthening their Canadian network. The February Executive Meetings are a strong 24 hours of planning, and goal setting, while also reflecting on the past successful semester. Alephs and BBGs come together to network, connect about their regions, and get to know each other further. Continuing a recent addition to the Pre-IC summit schedule, GPS, Global Partners Summit, exploring pressing global issues and their connections to Jewish communities around the world. Jonathan Orenstein, the Executive Director of JCC Krakow spoke to share his personal experiences of finding his Jewish home in a foreign land. 

At the Membership Growth Summer, or MGS, Alpehs and BBGs come together to share their strengths in amplifying and growing the our Movement. Teens from across the International Order plan and execute effective methods focusing on recruitment and retention in their chapters, councils, regions, and countries. Finally, the Jewish Enrichment Institute is featuring three unique tracks: BBYO Sings, Community, and Spiritual. BBYO Sings brings together teens to learn about mishpacha (family), through breakouts and song. The Community track’s theme of “Tzedakah: Why, Where, and When” is teaching teens how to focus on what their communities need and how to support them properly through giving back. Finally the Spirituality track focuses on gratitude and meditation through personal reflection. 

As teens begin to funnel into IC through their various Pre-IC summit tracks and leadership positions, AZA BBG International Convention is in full swing! Energy is high, and motivation is strong for the best International Convention yet. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week as we continue to immerse ourselves in stronger programming. 

IC 2017 - See You Tomorrow!

Hey Everyone,

It’s Jeannie and Grey, writing to you from convention headquarters at the IC hotel! We hope that you’re getting pumped to join thousands of your brother Alephs and sister B’nai B’rith Girls in just three days for the best IC to date. We cannot wait for you to see what we have done to Change the Game at #AZABBGIC2017, and to unite as a movement for the biggest event of the year!

You’ve probably already seen our stellar line up, but if you haven’t, be sure to check out the IC Trailer here. From world-renowned speakers to award-winning artists, we are confident that we’ve built out an exciting few days for you.

Throughout the planning of IC, our goal was to build a weekend so spectacular that all of your friends back home will wish that they were in BBYO and celebrating with us in Dallas. And – believe it or not – we still have plenty of secrets and surprises in store for convention, so keep an eye out for random pop ups throughout the hotel upon your arrival.

If you have any questions regarding the weekend, please refer to the IC website. Pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready for an unforgettable weekend filled with thousands of teen leaders, philanthropists, business professionals, and brilliant minds.

Welcome to the largest gathering of Jewish teen leaders worldwide. Welcome to BBYO IC 2017!!

We’ll see you soon,

Jeannie Spiegel and Grey Silverman
2017 IC Coordinators
72nd International S'ganit and 92nd Grand Aleph S'gan