Picture this: over 2,000 Jewish kids running around playing sports, connecting with each other, drawing, screaming, laughing, having the time of their life. No, I’m not describing International Convention but rather Jewish life in Argentina or to be more specific Pillar, Argentina. About an hour outside of the city of Buenos Aires exists a community club that goes by the name of Hebraica, however during our group’s time on Ambassadors to Argentina we referred to it as a Jewish paradise. As our tour guide explained to us though, it is analogous to a hybrid between a country club and a JCC.
Thousands of Jewish families own homes on the property to which they visit every weekend, and on those weekends, plus the occasional holiday break, of course, the mini Jewish city flourishes. There are camps for young children run by Madrichim with extensive training, there are Torah classes, services, golf, fútbol games, Hebrew classes, and so much more. Let us not forget that amidst all these activities this vibrant Jewish club was the birthplace of at least one of the incredibly successful BBYO Argentina chapters that are now leading the BBYO charge in all of Latin America.
Every Saturday night, upwards of 25 Jewish teens gather in Hebraica to conduct BBYO exactly as you would see a chapter program or event in Sofia, Bulgaria and Omaha, Nebraska. The same songs, the same traditions, and the same four letters that they wear proudly. In Pillar, in Buenos Aires, and in all of Argentina, the Jewish community knows of and deeply respects those 4 letters that represent so much to us and our members.
Even on our delegations flight home as we waited out a painfully long two-hour delay trapped in a hot plane, we quickly found out that seated all around us were members of Hebraica and within a few moments BBYO teens from New York, Chicago, LA, and more were explaining to grandparents, teenagers, and parents what BBYO is like in the US, and why it allows us to feel connected to Jews everywhere, yes even on a dimly lit, incredibly hot plane stuck on the tarmac in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ethan Golde is an Aleph from Michigan Region serving as the 95th Grand Aleph Godol of the Aleph Zadik Aleph. He enjoys soccer, cold weather and the occasional hour of free time!
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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