You know what time it is, AZA and BBG! I’m back with another #KeepingPace, and this time it’s September! This month has been awesome, so here are some highlights.
Before I get into it, I need a way to keep myself on track (if you couldn’t tell, this month felt like five because it was jam-packed with great people and cool places).
So, I present to you, my #KeepingPace Table of Contents:
Okay, great! Hey! Last time, I was writing to y’all from my bed, ready to hit the road…which I did, obviously. I started off close to home with Northern Region East: Baltimore Council – a smooth hour-long drive away. I got to spend time in the office with staff and Sami (Int. Gizborit), rekindle childhood memories by having dinner at Chili’s with David and Gabby (Bmore’s presidents), meet tons of chapter leaders at Chapter Execs, and of course, get ice cream with everyone at The Cow (yes, that’s what it’s called. They have a huge cow statue. It’s awesome.) Baltimore was a funtastic first visit and a quick trip up North (😆) before I took off, slightly further from home.
Next, I took a surprisingly short flight to Michigan. I spent two days at University of Michigan hanging out with some friends who are now officially BBYO alumni (so weird to say…🥲). I spent Shabbat at the Jewish Resource Center and then headed over to West Bloomfield to meet Allie (Michigan’s N’siah)! I am so lucky to have visited during the fall because I had the honor (yes, it was that good) of trying my first-ever apple cider slushie and classic cinnamon sugar donuts…YUM to say the least! After a delicious snack, we headed over to M1 Concourse to set up Regional Kickoff with staff, Evan (Michigan’s Godol), Jessi, and Max (Michigan’s S’ganim). M1 Concourse was transformed from an already cool race car track location to a sick Kickoff party. From Airbrush tattoos to tons of games to Kona Ice and pancake sticks, Kickoff was an absolute blast with 200+ teens in attendance! On Sunday we woke up and headed over to Chapter Board training where we focused on hosting and Network-specific topics. It was so great to start getting to know everyone, but like I said, it was just the start! Monday and Tuesday where filled with time at the BBYO office, dinner and ice cream with chapter presidents, an adventure to Detroit (did you know you can see Canada across the water?), hanging out with Ella (Michigan’s Mazkirah) and her adorable dog Archie, and a delicious sushi dinner and cake extravaganza with most of Regional Board. All in all, Michigan was amazing and saying goodbye in the morning was super bittersweet!
Luckily, with every goodbye is another hello! My next adventure would take me on another quick flight to Hudson Valley Region where I was reunited with Maddie (HVR’s N’siah), Lauren (HVR’s Sh’licha), and Taylor (Eden BBG’s Mit Mom). The next day, I took the train down to NYC to meet with Jodi Schwartz (an awesome BBG alum who is now a lawyer in the city) to talk about issues and topics we’re seeing in BBG, BBYO, and society today. It was truly a pleasure! I then went back to Westchester and met up with some family friends for chinese food and froyo which I had been craving for a whiiiile. Later that evening, BBG Board got together for dinner which was a great chance for me to meet everyone before we headed to Regional Execs the next day. Before staff and I drove over to Ramah Berkshires to set up camp for Execs, I was fortunate enough to attend a lunch with a few really cool women in the Hudson Valley community – from members of our Parent Council to the Women’s Leadership Initiative, and more! Once Regional Board arrived at camp, the Sh’lichim led a wonderful Shabbat and then staff led a great hosting training session. We ended the night with a bonfire, s’mores, and stargazing to get ready to welcome all chapter leaders the next evening. When we woke up on Saturday, Moe joined us as we took a 3-mile hike that I was not prepared for (but the views were well beyond worth it). We then got dressed in our 80s attire and welcomed tons of chapter leaders to HVR Launch Night! There were snacks, music, decor, and every chapter board had time to set their goals and prepare for a killer term. Sunday was full of awesome Limmud sessions at camp, and Officer Training Calls were happening for all Networks around the Order. It was really special to see teens from all Networks, all around the Movement, doing similar trainings at the same time…like WOW!
So, where to next?! Levi and I reunited for the IC Centennial Fly-In in Washington, DC (my hometown)! We spent a packed two days brainstorming, planning, and getting hyped about BBYO’s 100th anniversary and 100th International Convention in 2024. From looking through BBYO memorabilia and artifacts to tons and tons of flipcharts full of ideas to unpacking survey results, it was really exciting to start imagining what BBYO’s 100th year will look like and what it will mean for our Movement’s trajectory (and the future of the Jewish people). I’m getting chills just writing about it!!!
A quick train ride away from home and I found myself in Liberty for a few short days. We kicked off IC Launch Night with a stellar Western-themed Launch party where 40+ teens hungout, registered, and got hyped for #AZABBGIC2023! I had the chance to get a mixture of meals and dessert with some of Regional Board, BBG chapter leaders, staff, and even a BBYO Board of Director member – Philly treated me well with company 😊.
You guessed it (if you read the Table of Contents)! I’m now in Israel where I’ve spent the last few days hanging out with family, friends, and enjoying a sweet new year. It’s always wonderful to visit my home-away-from-home, but it was extra special to be able to mix it with the family within BBYO this visit. I met with a few BBYO alumni, including Oz Fishman (87th Grand Aleph Godol), for coffee and to exchange advice – it was really incredible. Wherever you live, or wherever you go, BBYO is there; I urge you to make connections you never would have thought of!
There we have it: my September. A jam packed and awesome month where I learned that the best life motto for when things don’t go your way is “whatever”. So, as you go on with your school years and your BBYO journeys, I urge you to remember that some things are going to be out of your control; and the most you can do in those situations, is try your best and say “whatever” and move forward in a positive manner. Even when things go awol, don’t forget how special y’all are – and if you don’t believe me, I’m here to remind you!
AZA and BBG, as I sit here making my October playlist (quick plug, follow me on Spotify @avigorodetski), I can’t believe September has already come and gone! I hope the beginnings of your years have been awesome, and that you’ve taken care of yourselves. As my first full month on the road has ended, I’m even more ready and eager to meet so many more of y’all very soon. As you know, I’m always a text away!
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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