Empowering Youth Activism: BBYO’s Role in Making a Difference in Israel

October 30, 2023
Emma Gornstein

Ardsley, New York, USA

Class of 2025

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During my BBYO Passport: Central Europe summer trip, our guide, Mark, asked a profound question in Treblinka: “What makes someone an activist?” Recent events, particularly the ongoing issues in Israel, made me reflect on this question deeply.

As a BBYO member, you’re part of a unique community that values connections, traditions, and making a positive impact on the world. The question of “What makes someone an activist?” takes on special meaning in BBYO, which focuses on Jewish values, helping others, and social justice.

BBYO encourages a sense of responsibility for making the world better. Recent events can ignite your passion for tikkun olam (repairing the world). Activism in BBYO becomes a way to express your commitment to creating a better world.

One of BBYO’s strengths is its sense of community. Recent events can bring your BBYO chapter or region together in solidarity. Activism, when done collectively, becomes a powerful way to address important issues and demonstrate the strength of unity in making change.

BBYO nurtures youth leadership. Recent events may inspire you to take on leadership roles within your chapter or region. Activism involves not just speaking up but also leading initiatives, organizing events, and being at the forefront of change.

BBYO places a strong emphasis on learning and growth. Recent events can prompt you to delve deeper into the issues, understand them better, and seek informed solutions. Activism then becomes a pathway for continuous learning and personal development.

Many BBYO chapters and regions engage in charitable and tikkun olam projects as part of their activities. Recent events can lead to new projects addressing specific challenges faced by communities affected. These projects embody activism in action, reflecting the Jewish values embraced by BBYO.

In this digital age, you have the opportunity to use social media to raise awareness and mobilize support for causes you care about. Activism in the digital era allows you to amplify your voice and advocate for change on a broader scale, aligning with BBYO’s commitment to making a difference.

During times of conflict and war, activism within the BBYO community becomes even more critical. The connection to Israel, in particular, gains greater significance as it faces heightened challenges. Here’s how activism within BBYO relates to Israel during times of conflict:

• During conflicts, BBYO members may feel a stronger sense of support and solidarity with Israel. Recent events in Israel can stir deep emotions, especially for those with family or friends in the region. Activism can be a way to express this support and concern for those affected.

• BBYO emphasizes the importance of advocating for peace and understanding. During wartime, this commitment to peace becomes even more critical. Activism may involve urging peaceful resolutions to conflicts and promoting dialogue as the path to lasting stability.

• To address the immediate needs of communities affected by conflict in Israel, BBYO may engage in fundraising efforts and humanitarian aid projects. This practical form of activism serves as a lifeline for those in distress, demonstrating that the BBYO community actively contributes to supporting those in need.

• BBYO emphasizes education as a tool for creating positive change. During times of war, educational campaigns can help raise awareness about the complex situations in Israel. These campaigns aim to inform and engage not just BBYO members but the wider community as well.

• BBYO chapters and regions often have connections with organizations in Israel. During times of war, these connections can be used to offer support and communication. Activism can involve strengthening these connections to provide aid and express solidarity.

In times of conflict and war, our connection to Israel deepens, and activism becomes even more crucial. It’s not just about showing support but actively working to promote peace and help the communities in the region. This reflects the values of BBYO, which include social responsibility, justice, and making the world better, even in difficult times. Activism, in this context, shows your passion, community spirit, and leadership abilities, as it becomes a tangible way to contribute to making the world a more just and equitable place. It demonstrates your commitment to BBYO’s principles and your role as a leader in the Jewish community and beyond.

Emma is a BBG living in Ardsley NY she loves baking!

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.

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