From Blank Pages to Boundless Potential: How BBYO Started a New Chapter in my Life

July 7, 2023
Maya Fern

Miami, Florida, USA

Class of 2025

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BBYO, whilst having its own definition, means something different to everyone. BBYO has had a profound impact on my life and my persona today. For 2 years I went to a school where I was the only Jewish person and it was hard to form a connection to Judaism, hard to be different. I became self conscious about my religion, facing antisemitism at least weekly, I began to wonder if being Jewish was worth the hassle it brought. During this time, I’d had just about enough and started reaching out to local Jewish sources. I knew that I couldn't be the only person facing these types of problems. Around this time, I found out about BBYO and I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for. My first chapter meeting was scary, just like anything when trying it for the first time. It's hard while starting out, but the more you go and show up the better it gets. What started out as frightening began turning into something enjoyable, later into something I would look forward to every week. I showed up to just about every chapter meeting, leaving content and satisfied with myself.

At this time, I knew I wanted to do more. I’ve always been an all or nothing type of person, in this case, I was putting in my all. In my timeline we’re currently following, about now was when I realized I wanted to run for board. Regional elections were coming up and chapter elections right after. My thought process was to first, and most importantly pick a position, and second to decide what level to run at. The moment I read about each position and what they do I felt like the position picked me not the other way around. Everything about becoming Shlicha was appealing to me, from the community service to spreading knowledge on Judaism. Remembering how I felt about being Jewish before BBYO is something I didn't want anyone else to experience. All I wanted was for girls all around the order to feel confident and knowledgeable. Giving back to my community is something I was already doing, so implementing that into something else I love brought nothing but excitement and joy to me. My next idea, influenced by the same person who informed me about BBYO, was to run for regional board, knowing I still had the possibility of serving on the chapter level. Everything fell into place, I am now Miami Region's 20th regional Sh’licha and and more excited than ever to continue my term.

When I said I was an all or nothing person, I really meant it because now I’m also attending ILTC, a three week long sleep-away camp, and I am so excited to meet other Jewish people from all around the world. I look back and think how, in just a year, my life, my opinions about Judaism, and my personality have grown. Before, the thought of trying new things was a scary one, now I look forward to it. Most importantly, my goal throughout my BBYO journey is to keep an open mind, be thoughtful to different beliefs and opinions. ILTC is yet another chapter in my BBYO story and I cannot wait to write about it in the future.  

Maya is a BBG living in Miami and a fun fact about me is I know greek!

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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