AZA and BBG, I’ve been quite busy so here I am with another #KeepingPace! This time it’s two months full. I hope you’re sitting comfortably because this is going to cover a lot. And I mean…a lot! With that being said, there’s no time to waste! Let’s get into it:
In case you forgot, here it is! My #KeepingPace Table of Contents:
How do I even describe my European adventures without writing a novel? We’ll see how this goes! Levi and I started off in London, England where Yaara (UKI’s N’siah) and Toby (UKI’s Godol) took us on a day’s worth of fun. We started out by going to markets, eating delicious food, and doing a bit of shopping. Then, Yaara and Toby took me to Winter Wonderland – an awesome, seasonal amusement park and winter market combined – which was magical. I had so much fun and even went on my first upside-down rollercoaster ever! The next day, we headed to convention. It took place at a frigid camp, but the company and spirit of everything kept us nice and warm (cheesy, I know). My favorite parts would have to be learning new cheers, elective programming where I was the victim of the murder mystery, and celebrating the first night of Hannukah.
Next, we flew to Tel Aviv, Israel! We were greeted and went straight to our host families after a longgg travel day. The next morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn and got ready to go on a hike with all of the Macabbi Tzair chapters in the area. It was so fun to get to hang out with Ma’ayan (my host) and the kids that she’s a madricha for. Once we finished the hike in Emek Izrael, we headed to Haifa for the annual Torch Relay’s opening ceremony. It was surreal! Imagine IC, but just for Macabbi Tzair and all of their chapter members. Levi and I got the honor of lighting the Hannukah candles with an Israeli musician as we welcomed in the third night. The following day, there was another ceremony where Levi and I had the opportunity to light one of the Relay torches that honored the Jewish Diaspora. From there, everyone was supposed to head on a camping trip when, unfortunately, plans changed because of unexpected rain in the desert, making the camping trip dangerous. As sad as we were, this was a blessing in disguise because we got to meet so many more teens. We hung out with a few Comunas (Maccabi Tzair’s groups of gap year teens) for Shabbat and Havdallah, we got to meet up with a chapter and BBYO’s Finnish delegation in Israel, and we even saw some of our BBYO friends who are currently on gap years in Israel. All in all, our few days were awesome and it was extremely sad to say goodbye.
Our next short but sweet stop was in Belgrade, Serbia where we hung out for around 36 hours. We got dinner with the regional board, explored the old city, and even got to go to a chapter program! It was my first time in Serbia and I loved exploring two new cities – Belgrade and Novi Sad.
From there, we headed to Geneva, Switzerland where we then took a few hour train ride to BBYO Switzerland’s Winter Machane. We hung out with teens from Hagoshrim, Emuna, and Basil chapters so there was always someone new to meet. From ice skating to a pool day to a traditional “couples night”, it’s hard to pick a favorite part of the Machane. I think one of the best parts, though, was the talent show where I found myself either in awe of someone’s talent or laughing so hard at their jokes and the madrichim’s intermission performances. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to one Machance knowing that our next stop was another!
Our next Machane was with BBYO Germany, but it took place in a beautiful town in Northern Italy. It was so awesome to reunite with our friends from ELTI and jump right into Shabbat with everyone! After celebrating Shabbat, Levi and I got to go skiing for a day which was a ton of fun. I wouldn’t say that I’m a pro skier yet, but I’m definitely getting there! Some of my other ZWST Machane highlights would be participating in the heist night where each group needed to gain points in order to not be caught, celebrating New Year, and enjoying the views. All in all, our last Machane was incredible!
The next stop was Vienna, Austria where we had a few days to chill, explore the city, and just hang out with teens. We went to the Jewish Museum of Austria which was an amazing experience, learned about others’ Jewish experiences, and had some fantastic food (of course). After about two days, we were off again!
Our final stop before returning to the United States was Izmir, Turkey. I absolutely loved Turkey! It was my first time visiting, and I’m so glad that I got to see such a beautiful city. From touring the bazaar to touring all of the synagogues in the area, it all felt magical. We hung out, shopped, met with parents, and got food with a bunch of teens as Rita and Can showed us around. Lastly, we ended our visit with a Liga BBYO brainstorming session to learn about the chapter and come up with plans to keep it thriving years into the future.
Now, we took a long flight back to the US where we landed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for Staff Conference. It was definitely interesting trying to get rid of my jetlag in one day, but it worked! I had a great time meeting all of your staff members and getting to know your communities from a different angle. From insightful sessions to a fun cardboard boat competition, Staff Conference was a great experience. After an awards brunch, I headed home for the first time in a month!
I spent a few days recouping at home, then flew across the country to Las Angelos, California where I spent my next few days with Pacific Western Region. PWR was a ton of fun! I started off with a Kochavin BBG and JFK AZA joint chapter program based on our favorite reality TV Shows. Sammy (PWR’s N’siah) and I had a great time exploring LA, getting extremely yummy food, and just hanging out in between all of the events we went to. On Saturday, we held a recruiting session at a temple and then got ready to head to Orange County. Avirah Tovah BBYO hosted a phenomenal Casino Night fundraiser where we got to actually feel like we were at a Casino. On the drive back to LA, we stopped for In-N-Out on the way, obviously! Sunday was LA/Valley Kickoff where we got to tour the Warner Brother Studios which was such a cool experience for me. We saw the sets of everyone’s favorite shows and got behind-the-scenes insight!
Next, I took an early morning flight back to the East Coast where I hung out with Big Apple Region for a few days. I visited Sagiv BBYO, Yalla BBYO, and Rainbow BBG. From jeopardy to cake wars to a spa night, I had an awesome time with each BAR chapter that I spent time with! After a productive train ride down to DC, I’m finally back home getting ready and more and more excited for International Convention 2023!!!
Sooooo, that’s that! My December and January. A crazy busy two months where I had a ton of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ll treasure forever. And, that’s what I learned this month: at the end of the day, nothing around you matters as much as the experiences you create for yourself do. The angry email from a teacher? You won’t remember it in three months! The college rejection? It holds no weight once you’re at a different school! The things that you carry with you for the rest of your life are the moments where you jump all in, try something new, talk to a stranger, or do something to make yourself happy. What those around you do, doesn’t affect you in the long term. So, join me in making the most of 2023 for ourselves, because you’re the most important person in your own life. If you want to help each other stay accountable to this goal, text me! I can’t wait for this journey of self-growth, and 2023, with y’all.
AZA and BBG, it’s a new year! I hope y’all enjoyed the end of 2022 and are getting ready to make the most of 2023 as we reunite in a very few short weeks. As we count down the days, I can’t stop thinking about how excited I am to see every single one of you in person!
78th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah
Avi Gorodetski is the 78th Anita M. Perlman International N'siah from Northern Region East: DC.
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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