BBYO is an International Order where people from all different backgrounds can come and bond together. No matter if you’re from Colorado, New York, England, or Australia, BBYO, AZA, and BBG offer you a connection to the rest of the world.
In my 1½ years in the International Order, I’ve met people from all over the world, from the neighboring Mountain Region, all the way to BBYO China. Everyone I know in BBYO has deep friendships with people from anywhere and everywhere. And the funny thing is, we wouldn’t never have ever met without BBYO.
It was June 11th, 2022, during the first Shabbat at CLTC 1, when our BBG coordinator planned and executed a separate program that has stuck with me ever since. And, fitting in with the recent release of Midnights, it was based on Taylor Swift. More specifically, on the song Invisible String, from the album Folklore (released in 2020).
She often referred to the lyric “And isn't it just so pretty to think, all along there was some invisible string tying you to me?” She explained that BBYO, and more specifically CLTC 1, was the invisible string tying us all together. That no matter who we were, what we are, and who we will be, we will always be tied together by our shared experiences through BBYO.
This message has resonated with me ever since, and I've started to realize the connections I had to BBYO before I was even in the organization. For example, I attended sleepaway camp for most of my life in Upstate New York. And, even though the town I grew up in didn’t have a BBYO chapter, many people I knew from camp were in the order, which is how I heard of it in the first place. I also learned, just the other day in fact, that the rabbiah that officiated my B’nai Mitzvah, not only was in BBYO, but was a former Anita M. Perlman International N’siah (‘03-’04).
At CLTC 1, I was the only girl from RMR. And, while it was hard, it allowed me to follow more strings and form more connections. I bonded with so many girls from all over the country, over common expenses, even though we had never met. We talked about similar programs and giggled over similar convention experiences, even though none of us had ever met, and very few of us were from the same region(s).
Since this summer, I’ve taken those experiences, and tried to expand my strings farther, by steering conventions and joining Press Corps.
I joined BBYO on a whim, wanting something to do during the pandemic. However, the seeds were planted long before that, as I already had so many connections to organization, and those strings would lead me to meeting some of my friends, and helping to find my best self.
From the moment I started going to camp, to the moment of my B’nai Mitzvah, to joining BBYO, to CLTC 1, the strings tying me to fellow members of BBYO grew stronger. The connections I’ve formed, over common experiences and backgrounds, means that no matter where I go, I’ll always have someone to visit. At IC, they will always be someone to hang out with. And, whenever I’m upset, there will always be someone to facetime with.
So, the words of T. Swift; “And isn't it just so pretty to think, all along there was some invisible string tying you to me?”
Harper Cohen is a BBG from B'yachad BBG #252, living in Denver, Colorado and she is a twin.
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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