It’s that time of year again. We know that the class of 2023 is graduating and going onto bigger and better things, and it makes us cry. For me, it’s always really sad to see the seniors graduate because I know that it will be the last time we’re at a program together. I’ve learned that you can take so much from the people around you, and I think this is particularly true with the many, many seniors I’ve met throughout my time in BBYO. This year, especially, I have met so many amazing seniors who have had an incredible impact on my life and have left me with so many amazing memories. I want to tell you all about some of these memories and experiences I’ve had with some of my best friends in the class of 2023.
First, I want to start with Aaron Yurman. I remember going into Kallah only knowing some of my CLTC friends and a few kids from my region, but when I walked into my cabin, there was Aaron. We introduced ourselves, and immediately I could see how genuine of a person he was. Going to Blueprint the next day, I saw that he was in my Blueprint with me and that it would give me an opportunity to really get to know him. Aaron, you inspired me so much with your passion for KC council, a genuine want to help each and every one of your chapters, and the ability to bring so much joy to a room. I remember specifically one time during a blueprint session where you’d been cracking jokes the whole time and it brought a very lighthearted feel to the room. I know you’re going to do amazing things in college. Thank you for all the funny memories and amazing moments from both separates and one breath shemas at the end of every day of ILTC.
Next is another Perlman friend, Andrew Fellman. During ILTC, I was in a cabin with Andrew and I enjoyed every minute of it. What made it even better was that Andrew would run with me whenever I was gonna do a workout during camp. It was so much fun and we became really close super fast because we had so much in common that we clicked instantly. We jokingly called each other “sick buddy” because we happened to get sick at the same time during ILTC which was pretty comical. I was super excited when Andrew decided to extend to Kallah because that meant I got to spend another 3 weeks with him, and we got to spend even more time together because he had decided to stay for Kallah. One of my favorite memories with Andrew was when I arrived at IC 2023 and he had already been there because he’d been working as an IC lead and he came running at me and gave me the biggest hug ever. We always got super excited when we saw each other and it really made me feel super appreciated by him and my other friends. After IC, when I traveled to Prague with my school’s IB Program, Andrew called me asking for advice on where I thought he should go to college because he was stuck trying to decide between his top two schools who had both accepted him. It was nearly midnight in Prague but I gave him my advice based on his personality and where I thought he’d do best. Andrew, I know you’re absolutely going to kill it as a Florida Gator. Your kindness continues to inspire me to be kind to everyone I meet and give everyone a chance no matter what first impressions I get from them.
Next up comes an IC 2022 friend, Micah Pierandri. I originally met Micah at IC 2022, but we didn’t become close until ILTC 2022. Micah quickly became one of my closest friends both inside and outside of BBYO. One of my fondest memories was the first dinner of IC 2023, where Micah ran over to me very excitedly, and placed a purple galaxy cowboy hat on my head, and promptly started a photoshoot of the hat. That hat has since become a staple of IC in both my camera roll and my memory. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from Micah, in the words of my Perlman Madricha Claudia Sachs, is that it’s very important to be as “strong as a pineapple but soft as an avocado.” This reminds me to keep going everyday and that it’s okay to be as soft as an avocado every once in a while, but it doesn’t hurt to be as strong as a pineapple in the moments when needed. Micah, I’m so happy we’ve grown so close over this past year and I cannot wait to be working at camp with you this summer.
Finally, comes my Perlman friends Ellie Weinzimer and Leah Perlmutter. I met them both at ILTC and we grew close throughout the following year leading up to IC. I remember reuniting with them both at IC 2023, and the pure happiness I felt when reuniting with them is the biggest reason I love BBYO. The genuine connections you make and the amazing memories you are left with. Some of my favorite memories with Leah and Ellie include moshing together during the concert, the iconic picture of us as a group at Perlman, and all of us wearing our matching cowboy hats during IC. Both Leah and Ellie taught me the importance of friendships. They both taught me how much friends can genuinely alter your life, and the incredible impact they can have on your own character. Ellie, I know you’re going to do amazing things at Connecticut. Leah, I know you’re going to absolutely crush it at Wisconsin.
I’ve heard that you are defined by those you surround yourself with, but I don’t think that's completely the case. The people around you create many memories with you that can be carried for a lifetime. The best piece of advice I can give is to live in the moment. As the great Babe Ruth once said, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. Seize every opportunity you’ve got, because you never know how many more chances you’re going to get.
David Sternfeld is an Aleph living in Charleston, South Carolina who loves to play baseball, swim, and can rattle off anything about Star Wars in 10 seconds tops.
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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