By Melissa Hans and Brenen Grossman, Presidents of Liberty BBYO
Across the globe this fall, thousands of teens are turning to BBYO and discovering a sense of meaning and belonging, a support system in a time of profound change and uncertainty, and the inspiration and the platform to make an impact on the world around us. As the Liberty Godol and Nsiah (Presidents), it is our privilege to lead BBYO in Liberty this year—and to guide it through an extraordinary, and critical, journey in the months ahead. We are excited to introduce ourselves to you and to share with you the ways in which BBYO is continuing to expand its reach and to provide much-needed social connection, community, and support to Jewish teens.
Despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, BBYO’s year is already off to a strong start. Over the summer, more than 700 teens participated in virtual summer leadership experiences through BBYO—from Jewish Enrichment Innovations to the first-ever BBG Leadership Academy to Movement Makers and Elevating AZA. The energy and enthusiasm generated by sold-out summer programming propelled the launch of “Voice Your Vote,” an unparalleled civic engagement initiative recruiting more than 50,000 teens and alumni to organize, volunteer, and pledge to vote in this year’s election.
This fall, hundreds of teens tuned in for BBYO’s High Holiday programming, connecting teens with incredible Jewish educators, community leaders, role models, and industry pioneers. BBYO also announced new $3,000 RootOne vouchers last month to support teens travelling to Israel next summer —we’re already on our way to doubling the number of teens headed to Israel with BBYO in 2021. We had our first virtual conference two weekends ago and are looking forward to gathering again to celebrate Global Shabbat on December 11.
Throughout the year, teens will “feel the magic” of BBYO when we gather for Virtual Shabbat and Havdalah each week; when we grow our leadership skills by reimagining chapter programs and regional events; when we learn from world-class educators, entrepreneurs, activists, and pioneers on BBYO On Demand; and when we work together to strengthen and uplift our community. These experiences may look a bit different than they have in the past, but in reality, BBYO is continuing to do what we’ve done for nearly a century—empowering Jewish teens to find their voice, deepen connections with one another, and create the future we wish to see. This year will be like no other in our history. But our collective responsibility to one another has never felt more important, and we’re ready to get to work.
Thank you so much for your partnership in Harrisburg!