BBYO | AZA & BBG | International Convention | Summer

Born in Omaha. Traveled the World.
AZA & BBG: Creating Jewish Leaders Since 1924.

A lot has happened since 1924. Our Movement has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and has evolved and adapted to the changing times of our world. The rituals and traditions of AZA and BBG have stood the test of time and Alephs and BBGs will "sing to AZA" and "pledge to BBG," for generations to come. Scroll down to see the making of our Movement.

1923

Fourteen boys in Omaha, Nebraska, USA form the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA). Abe Baboir is elected as the first president and Nathan Mnookin is the first advisor.

May 3, 1924

Mnookin moves to Kansas City, Kansas, USA. Sam Beber becomes the advisor, and the International Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph comes into being. First Supreme Advisory Council is created, and the first national convention is held.

1925

AZA is adopted by B’nai B’rith International. The Shofar Newsletter is established.

1926

AZA becomes a truly international organization with the founding of the first Canadian chapter in Calgary, Alberta.

First national headquarters opens in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

1927

First district tournaments are held featuring competitions in oratory, debate, and basketball.

1928

AZA Mother’s Day program is introduced.

AZA Shabbat, the first simultaneous international program, is introduced.

Dr. Boris D. Bogen presents his brilliant Five Fold and Full Program to the Supreme Advisory Council.

1931

AZA Mother’s Day becomes AZA Parents Day.

AZA’s work with the Boy Scouts of America is initiated.

Temporary chapters are introduced.

1932

First International Convention in Canada is held.

Scholarship Loan Fund is founded.

1933

Tenth Anniversary of AZA, celebrating one hundred AZA chapters in North America.

1935

A free, circulating library is created.

Lapidus Memorial Forest comes into being.

The minimum age requirement for an Aleph is lowered to 15 years.

1936

Karmel Chapter is formed in Sofia, Bulgaria, the first chapter to exist outside of North America.

1938

Chapters installed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Tel Aviv, Palestine.

1939

AZA is instrumental in forming National Conference of Jewish Youth Groups.

The Order raises $3,091.50 USD for the Lapidus Memorial Fund.

The secrecy of rituals and password are abolished.

1940

AZA membership breaks 10,000 brothers for the first time.

First British chapter is established in Leeds, United Kingdom.
Successful campaign to raise $10,000 USD for Aleph Jerry Safur, infantile paralysis victim.

1941

The Aleph Zadik Alephs of the United Kingdom & Ireland care for 50 English children that evacuate from English cities to the British countryside during World War II.

1942

AZA turns its efforts to an all-out “Help Win the War Campaign” with scrap drives, bond sales, and hospitality for servicemen.

William Suckle is the first Grand Aleph Godol to be re-elected.

1943

International Convention elections and motions are voted on by mail.

Minimum age requirement for membership is lowered to 14 years.

Over $6,343,720 USD worth of war bonds sold.

April 22, 1944

The National Order of BBG meets in Chicago and officially establishes BBYO as an international organization.

1944

Julius Bisno becomes the Administrative Secretary of the Youth Commission and Director of Boys’ Work. Beatrice Chapman becomes the Director of Girls’ Work.

The Supreme Advisory Council becomes B’nai B’rith Youth Commission and is comprised of both men and women.

1948

AZA recognizes State of Israel ahead of independence.

Dr. Max F. Baer becomes the International Director of BBYO.

1949

Silver Anniversary Ceremony for AZA, organization reaches a 25-year milestone of service to the Jewish Community.

1952

BBG membership breaks 10,000 sisters for the first time.

1953

AZA rallies 5,000 Alephs to provide disaster relief in Western Pennsylvania following massive floods.

1955

BBYO is established in Australia and Belgium.

International Kallah is established at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp.

The first Leadership Training Institute is planned as a part of International Convention, stressing Judaism and democratic leadership.

1956

Israel Summer Institute is established.

1961

Noar LeNoar, BBYO’s first counterpart in Israel, is founded.

1962

BBYO is sought after to develop activities in European lands “where Jewish life has been slow in recovering” following the devastation of the Holocaust.

1963

BBYO issues a declaration that Jewish heritage demands “Jews be at the forefront of the civil rights struggle” and dramatically amplifies national activism on behalf of racial equality across the southern United States.

1967

BBYO passes a resolution calling upon the Soviet Government to permit American and international Jewish youth organizations to establish relations with Jewish youth in Russia.

1971

AZA and BBG vote that every Jewish teenager is entitled to visit Israel when they graduate from high school “whether or not they can afford it,” decades before the advent of Birthright Israel.

1973

Close to 1,000 BBYO teens from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela meet for a two-week Jewish Youth Congress.

1974

AZA celebrates its Golden Anniversary, 50 years of service to the Jewish community.

At the International B’nai B’rith Convention, AZA and BBG International Board members become official voting members of the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission.
International AZA Alumni Association is established.

1977

Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) is established at B’nai B’rith Beber Camp.

Dr. Sidney Clearfield becomes the International Director of BBYO.
International Convention votes to disband the District level.

1980

BBYO begins smuggling Judaica behind the Iron Curtain to sustain Jewish life during the Cold War.

1981

District level is completely phased out in North America to be replaced with the regional level.

Grand Aleph Godol Michael Froman makes first GAG visit to South Africa.

1983

First office opens in continental Europe. Chapters begin in Austria, France, Germany, Holland, and Spain.

1987

BBYO opens first chapters for teens with special needs and launches inclusion programming and training.

1988

AZA and BBG send largest delegation on the inaugural March of the Living.

1989

BBYO Connect (formerly Teen Connection), BBYO’s experience for Jewish middle school students launches.

Grand Aleph Shaliach established as a position on the Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph.

1990

First public BBYO program held in Soviet Union with more than 200 Soviet Jewish teens in attendance.

1991

Sam Fisher becomes the International Director of BBYO.

1992

Grand Aleph Moreh established as a position on the Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph.

1993

Israel Leadership Summer Institute (ILSI) is established.

1994

BBYO designates the historic and biblical Mount Cheres Forest, outside of Jerusalem, Israel, as a community gathering place.

International Spirit Award and Chapter of the Year awards are established.

The International basketball tournament is revived under a new name, AZAA (AZA Athletics).

1995

First Hungarian Leadership Institute is established.

AZA International Board votes to change the Five Folds to increase the folds’ usefulness in the chapters.

2002

BBYO transitions to independence from B’nai B’rith International to become a new and legally independent organization under the name of BBYO. It is no longer officially recognized by its former full name, “B’nai B’rith Youth Organization.”

2004

Matthew Grossman becomes Executive Director of BBYO.

2005

Final International Convention at Perlman Camp takes place.

2006

AZA and BBG deliver 10,000 signatures to the White House in support of ending nuclear proliferation in Iran.

2008

At International Convention, the “My 2 Cents for Change” campaign encourages teen involvement in the 2008 presidential election.

2009

The BBYO Stand UP campaign is launched to unite all Jewish teens in establishing grassroots service, advocacy, and philanthropy campaigns.

2010

At the International August Executives Conference (August Execs), Speak UP for Israel is launched to increase Israel education, advocacy, and travel.

The International Service Fund (ISF) is redefined for aiding global Jewry, the Global Ambassadors Network is created, and the Coalition of Jewish Teens (CJT) is motioned into action.

2011

BBGG (B’nai B’rith Girls Games) Motion passes at August Execs as AZAA’s official counterpart.

2012

At August Execs, the Global Ambassadors Network transforms into the Global Networking Committee.

2013

President Barack Obama addresses BBYO International Convention in Washington, D.C., USA.

2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses BBYO International Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA.

2015

AZA and BBG pass legislation that reaffirms every Jewish teen is welcome in BBYO regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability, socio-economic background, or any other character attribute.

BBYO and Maccabi World Union (MWU) officially recognize each other as sister movements and partners.  

BBYO commits to allowing 8th graders to join AZA and BBG at the beginning of their 8th grade year.

BBYO launches the Alumni Leadership Seminar in Israel.

BBYO launches the Cantribute initiative with DoSomething.org and The Hunger Games movie trilogy to collect more than 500,000 pounds of food for people in need.

Israeli President Shimon Peres addresses BBYO International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

2016

BBYO launches the first alumni-only JDC Entwine journey to explore the shared work underway by both organizations across Ukraine.

BBYO programming is active across six continents, with chapters and partnerships in 40+ countries, setting the foundation for significant growth in the years to come.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses BBYO International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses BBYO International Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA.

First International Convention to be broadcasted in virtual reality to Jewish teens everywhere.

BBYO sets forth a massive five-year expansion plan across North America and around the globe, with more involvement opportunities for teens everywhere.

2018

BBYO hosts its largest International Convention to date for the first time in Orlando, Florida, USA with more than 3,000 teen delegates representing 35 countries and 5,000 attendees in all.

Grand Aleph Gizbor established as a position on the Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph.
AZA and BBG mobilize around the world through marches, rallies, calls, and events to ensure that every teen feels safe going to school.

Thought this was cool?

Learn more by reading the Blue Book, AZA's membership manual.

Blue Book

1923

The first chapter of the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) is formed in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

May 3, 1924

The Aleph Zadik Aleph is officially declared an International Order by Sam Beber.

1925

The B’nai B’rith Organization adopts the Aleph Zadik Aleph as an auxiliary program for young men. Soon after, efforts begin to launch a program for Jewish young women to serve as a sister program.

1926

The “Junior Auxiliary of B’nai B’rith Girls” is started in Seattle, Washington, USA, but disbanded shortly thereafter.

1927

The first permanent chapter of BBG is organized in San Francisco, California, USA, by Rose Mauser, with Mattie Olcovich and Essie Solomon as the first advisors. This chapter becomes known as San Francisco BBG #1.

1928

Dr. Boris D. Bogen creates the AZA Five Fold and Full Programming. Most BBG chapters use this model with an emphasis on social, community service, educational, religious, and recreational programs.

1933

Ten west coast chapters establish the Western Conference of B’nai B’rith Junior Auxiliaries in Santa Cruz, California, USA.

1935

Anita Perlman becomes Chairwoman of District 6 of B’nai B’rith Junior Auxiliaries.

1940

B’nai B’rith Women forms the Women’s Supreme Council and becomes a national organization. Judge Lenore D. Underwood votes to establish a national girls program to be modeled after AZA.

1941

The Women’s Supreme Council adopts the name of “B’nai B’rith Girls.” The age limit is set at 21, total membership is about 7,000 girls.

1943

The AZA Supreme Advisory Council joins with the governing body of BBG to jointly run the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the B’nai B’rith Girls.

April 22, 1944

The National Order of BBG meets in Chicago and officially establishes BBYO as an international organization.

Julius Bisno becomes the Administrative Secretary of the Youth Commission and Director of Boys’ Work. Beatrice Chapman becomes the Director of Girls’ Work.
The Supreme Advisory Council becomes B’nai B’rith Youth Commission and is comprised of both men and women.

1945

The First National Convention of the B’nai B’rith Girls is called to order by Anita Perlman. The Menorah is adopted as the official BBG symbol. Twenty delegates are present who represent all seven districts. The Menorah Pledge, Opening Rituals, and other ceremonies are written. Frieda Tischler from Pittsburgh is elected as the first International N’siah.

Alice Elson becomes the Director of BBG while Dr. Abram L. Sachar becomes the Director of BBYO.

1946

Second National Convention is held in Port Jervis, New York, USA. The BBG Constitution and Bylaws are ratified.

1947

Third National Convention is held at Camp High Point in Shokan, New York, USA. The Member-in-Training (MIT) program is adopted.

1948

Dr. Max F. Baer becomes the International Director of BBYO.

1949

Silver Anniversary Ceremony for AZA, organization reaches a 25-year milestone of service to the Jewish Community.

1952

BBG membership breaks 10,000 sisters for the first time.

1955

BBYO is established in Australia and Belgium.

International Kallah is established at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp.

The first Leadership Training Institute is planned as a part of International Convention, stressing Judaism and democratic leadership.

1961

Noar LeNoar, BBYO’s first counterpart in Israel, is founded.

1962

BBYO is sought after to develop activities in European lands “where Jewish life has been slow in recovering” following the devastation of the Holocaust.

1963

BBYO issues a declaration that Jewish heritage demands “Jews be at the forefront of the civil rights struggle” and dramatically amplifies activism on behalf of racial equality across the southern United States.

1967

BBYO passes a resolution calling upon the Soviet Government to permit American and global Jewish youth organizations to establish relations with Jewish youth in Russia.

1971

AZA and BBG vote that every Jewish teenager is entitled to visit Israel when they graduate from high school “whether or not they can afford it,” decades before the advent of Birthright Israel.

1973

Close to 1,000 BBYO teens from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela meet for a two-week Jewish Youth Congress.

1974

At the International B’nai B’rith Convention, AZA and BBG International Board members become official voting members of the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission.

AZA celebrates its Golden Anniversary, 50 years of service to the Jewish community.

1977

Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) is established at B’nai B’rith Beber Camp.

Dr. Sidney Clearfield becomes the International Director of BBYO.
International Convention votes to disband the District level.

1980

BBYO begins smuggling Judaica behind the Iron Curtain to sustain Jewish life during the Cold War.

1981

District level is completely phased out in North America to be replaced with the regional level.

1983

First office opens in continental Europe. Chapters begin in Austria, France, Germany, Holland, and Spain.

1987

BBYO opens first chapters for teens with special needs and launches inclusion programming and training.

1988

AZA and BBG send the largest delegation on the inaugural March of the Living.

1989

BBYO Connect (formerly Teen Connection), BBYO’s experience for Jewish middle school students launches.

BBG adds a sixth International Board member, International Sh’licha. The board then consists of a N’siah, S’ganit, Mazkirah, Doveret, Sh’licha, and a Madricha.

1990

First public BBYO program held in Soviet Union with more than 200 Soviet Jewish teens in attendance.

1991

Sam Fisher becomes the International Director of BBYO.

1992

International Doveret is eliminated as an International Board position and International Aym Ha’Chaverot is established.

1993

Israel Leadership Summer Institute (ILSI) is established.

1994

BBYO designates the historic and biblical Mount Cheres Forest, outside of Jerusalem, Israel, as a community gathering place.

International Spirit Award and Chapter of the Year awards are established.

BBG adopts the Mind, Body, and Attitude (MBA) program.

2002

BBYO transitions to independence from B’nai B’rith International to become a new and legally independent organization under the name of BBYO. It is no longer officially recognized by its former full name, “B’nai B’rith Youth Organization.”

2004

Matthew Grossman becomes Executive Director of BBYO.

2005

Final International Convention at Perlman Camp takes place.

2006

AZA and BBG deliver 10,000 signatures to the White House in support of ending nuclear proliferation in Iran.

2008

At International Convention, the “My 2 Cents for Change” campaign encourages teen involvement in the 2008 presidential election.

2009

The BBYO Stand UP campaign is launched to unite all Jewish teens in establishing grassroots service, advocacy, and philanthropy campaigns.

2010

At the International August Executives Conference (August Execs), Speak UP for Israel is launched to increase Israel education, advocacy, and travel.

The International Service Fund (ISF) is redefined for aiding global Jewry, the Global Ambassadors Network is created, and the Coalition of Jewish Teens (CJT) is motioned into action.

2011

BBGG (B’nai B’rith Girls Games) Motion passes at August Execs as AZAA’s official counterpart.

2012

At August Execs, the Global Ambassadors Network transforms into the Global Networking Committee.

2013

President Barack Obama addresses BBYO International Convention in Washington, D.C., USA.

2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses BBYO International Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA.

2015

AZA and BBG pass legislation that reaffirms every Jewish teen is welcome in BBYO regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability, socio-economic background, or any other character attribute.

BBYO and Maccabi World Union (MWU) officially recognize each other as sister movements and partners.  

BBYO commits to allowing 8th graders to join AZA and BBG at the beginning of their 8th grade year.

BBYO launches the Alumni Leadership Seminar in Israel.

BBYO launches the Cantribute initiative with DoSomething.org and The Hunger Games movie trilogy to collect more than 500,000 pounds of food for people in need.

Israeli President Shimon Peres addresses BBYO International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

2016

BBYO launches the first alumni-only JDC Entwine journey to explore the shared work underway by both organizations across Ukraine.

BBYO programming is active across six continents, with chapters and partnerships in 40+ countries, setting the foundation for significant growth in the years to come.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses BBYO International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses BBYO International Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA.

First International Convention to be broadcasted in virtual reality to Jewish teens everywhere.

BBYO sets forth a massive five-year expansion plan across North America and around the globe, with more involvement opportunities for teens everywhere.

2018

BBYO hosts its largest International Convention to date for the first time in Orlando, Florida, USA with more than 3,000 teen delegates representing 35 countries and 5,000 attendees in all.

International Gizborit is established as a position on the International Board.
AZA and BBG mobilize around the world through marches, rallies, calls, and events to ensure that every teen feels safe going to school.

Thought this was cool?

Learn more by reading the Red Book, BBG's membership manual.

Red Book

Learn about our chapters →