Wow. That’s all I can really say as I wrap up my year on International Board and end my time in BBYO. I’m truly grateful for all the connections I’ve made and the people I’ve met. After serving many leadership positions, attending ILTC, participating in the ILN, and connecting with people from across the world through platforms when not everything was cooperating the way we wanted it to, I can confidently say that I feel fulfilled. I’m grateful for the experiences that this organization has given me and I wouldn’t change anything about it.
Here are some highlights from my past year as your 4th Grand Aleph Gizbor:
To my counterparts, it’s been truly a pleasure getting to know every one of you as my closest friends and colleagues. I’ll never forget the moment I got to meet so many of you at International Convention, finally realizing that all these people that I got to work with actually exist and are doing amazing things for their communities. While I wish that we had more chances to connect throughout the year, I am forever grateful for the dedication y’all had on #GivingBBYOday, making it the biggest fundraising year yet! I’m not going anywhere, so feel free to come to me for advice, to tell me about your day, whatever!
To Ruthie, what a year it’s been. I honestly haven’t said this enough, but I couldn’t have asked for a better co. Thanks for all the laughs and dedication you had with everything you worked on with me this year. I can’t believe how much we set out to accomplish this year and how much we actually were able to accomplish. We literally allocated money from the International Service Fund for the first time in years! I’m so excited to see what you accomplish in the future at Michigan!
To staff, thanks for always pushing me to be the best version of myself and for always sticking with me through all my visions. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish nearly as much as I did without all of your support.
To my chapter, Ashkelon BBYO, thank you for being my second home. Seriously. For those who don’t know, I didn’t understand that you could be a prospect and attend programs before joining. So, after joining Gideon AZA and attending a joint ice cream social with Ashkelon, I switched. Anyway, I will never forget all the late nights, Shabbat hops and trips to IHOP. Thank you for giving me a safe space and space I felt comfortable.
To my friends, you’ve really been there with me through it all. There are no other people I’d rather travel by any mode of transportation to see. Thanks for all the late-night Zoom calls, drives to Rockville and back, Havdalah circles around the Perlman tree, and so so many more memories. I can’t believe I can say I have friends spanning from Washington D.C. to California and even South Africa. I’m so lucky I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people and I can’t wait to stay connected in the future!
When I joined BBYO in the fall of my Freshman year, I didn’t know what to expect. My sister took me to programs and by the end of the year, I ran for my first board position: chapter Gizbor. After ordering chapter swag, coordinating a team for a 5K, and much more, I ran for chapter Gizbor again. And guess what I ran for after that? Baltimore Council’s 72nd Gizbor. And after that? 4th Grand Aleph Gizbor.
If you told my freshman self I would be writing this article I wouldn’t have believed you. That shy freshman would have laughed in your face. I’m proud to say that I’ve grown so much as a person in and outside of this organization, especially through this last year spent on International Board. With the position of Gizbor being so new on International Board, I know there is a lot left undone and I can’t wait to watch what Sami and Avi do this upcoming year.
AZA & BBG, continue being you. Continue to change the world for the better. Whether you believe it or not, you have the platform to rally Jewish teens to accomplish anything you set your mind to, and I’m excited to watch as a proud alum.
Fraternally submitted with an undying love for the 97th Grand and International Boards, the frogs of Northern Region East, the Orioles of Baltimore BBYO #59, the Aliens of Ashkelon BBYO #5407, and the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph, I forever remain Benjamin Spencer Talesnik, your 4th Grand Aleph Gizbor and proud lifetime member of the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph.
Ben Talesnik is the 4th Grand Aleph Gizbor from Northern Region East: Baltimore
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
Acts of violence are harming so many around the country, and sadly, someone I personally knew was impacted.
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