Q: How did BBYO affect your life after graduating high school and going into college?
A: I would say that BBYO gave me the leadership skills to get involved and stay committed to student groups on campus. It also made it easier for me to transition from one group of friends to another because of the social skills I learned in BBYO AND the connections it gave me to other Jewish people from different places.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories of your time in BBYO?
A: I really enjoyed coordinating a convention. I planned Kallah for ONR in my junior year, and it is still one of my favorite things I have ever done.
Q: Do you still have any physical ties to it (such as pins or clothing)?
A: Nope—I understand that others might want to stay connected to BBYO in that way, but for me, I needed a clean break from high school to college, and I'm really happy with my decision to do that.
Q: Are you still in touch with the people you met in BBYO?
A: A few! I find that as I continue to grow beyond old versions of myself, not everyone I meet is supposed to stay in my life forever. I'm so grateful for the long-lasting connections that I did make in BBYO, but I know that the reason they are long-lasting is that we create the space in our friendships to grow beyond who we were in BBYO.
Q: Are you currently in a sorority/fraternity? Did your time in BBYO influence your choice to join one? In what ways is the sorority/fraternity experience similar AND different to BBYO?
A: I did join a sorority, but I have already decided to drop my membership. I realized that my membership in that organization was recreating existing class, race, and gender inequalities on my campus and across the country. I decided that my values were not compatible with participation in a Greek organization. Looking back on my time in BBYO, I realize that youth groups in the Jewish community also require an economic commitment that not all Jewish teens have and scholarships are not always enough. I know that as an alum of BBYO, some opportunities will be available to me that would not be available to a teen who did not participate in BBYO—I did not want to continue that by participating in Greek life as well.
Q: Did your experiences in BBYO influence any of your future plans (i.e. to include more Judaism into your daily life)?
A: Staying close to Judaism throughout high school definitely reinforced the importance of Judaism in my day-to-day life in college. I'm really grateful that my university has such a strong Jewish community that fosters space for activism as well.
Jess Daninhirsch is a BBG from Keystone Mountain Region who loves journalism, photography, art, music, and dance.
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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