We are all far too familiar with the phrase “Jewish geography.” Jews know most Jews, or at the very least, have mutual friends or connections. Living in Baltimore, a place with such a strong, tight-knit Jewish community, I pretty much knew every Jew in the area. However, I never truly understood the power of connection that our community holds up until this past summer.
This past July, I went on an Alaskan cruise. As far as I knew, the only people who would be on this boat were elderly people. However, not only did I make a large group of friends, I found somebody I can reunite with many times again.
On the first day, I made a few friends my age. These friends had made more friends, and we shortly became a friend group. I didn’t hide my strong Jewish identity, but I certainly didn’t make it a point to ask if anybody else was, since I didn’t think they would be. I made one friend who I figured out was Jewish, but she did not participate in youth groups or synagogue.
Early on in the cruise, I heard her speaking to my new friend, Jonah, about his dad being a rabbi. A RABBI! I was astonished. After talking, we made a few connections. Number one: he used to live in Maryland and attended a Jewish day school in Rockville which I knew many people in. Number two: his dad actually knew my aunt, who was on the cruise! Number three: he now attends Jewish day school in Dallas, and we found even more common friends! And number four, by far the biggest: he is in BBYO, and is going to IC! I didn’t think I would even find people my age on this cruise, more or less a fellow Jew who I would see again in around a half a year!
It’s so eye-opening to see how quickly Jews can connect. It is this tight-knit community we have created which allows us to bond over mutual friends and locations. BBYO allows teens to make these connections and find these new friends, and I find it so amazing that it led me to a new friend. Truly, everywhere we go we can easily find other Jews, and I find it so remarkable that we are able to share this common love and sense of community, which is so difficult to find.
Alana Gordon is a BBG from Achot BBG #2383 in Northern Region East: Baltimore Council.
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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