AZA and BBG,
If anything proved the strength and tenacity of our movement, it was this year. We rallied behind the fall membership campaign and And One CLTC Recruitment Challenge, celebrated together at IC in Baltimore (my heart and home), and welcomed over 5000 new members. And, on top of all that, we are sending over 380 teens to CLTC! For many members, you may have just experienced your first in person convention or program this year. This year may have been your first chance to meet your new best friends in person, or your first opportunity to go to a summer program. So, as you embark on your our journeys, I would like to share some word of wisdom from mine.
Put your all into everything you do: If you feel passionately about something, go for it. I know it is cheesy advice but it’s true- the more you put into BBYO, the more you will get out of it. If there is something you’re interested in trying but you’re unsure, or a board position you want to run for but are scared you may lose, I say go for it. Either you do not try at all, or try and don’t succeed just yet, but at least you gave it your all. When you care and try to run good programs, you see good results, you have more fun, and you recruit new members. And, best of all, your passion will spread to all the other members around you.
Take care of yourself: By “your all”, I mean YOUR all. Only you know your own limits, and there is no need to compare your journey to someone else’s. Do what you enjoy doing. School and family should come before BBYO always, and if there is something else you really care about or you just need a break, it is alright to take one. We are all human.
Kill ‘em with kindness: A smile can go a long way. Make sure to be welcoming to the prospect sitting in the corner who seems nervous to participate in the program, and to always thank your advisor as you leave. BBYO has introduced me to some of my closest friends and my future college roommate, and I truly believe these friendships are possible because of BBYO’s open, inclusive, environment. Be open to meeting new people and kind to everyone you see.
To staff: Thank you for the many hours and tireless commitment you put into supporting the future of the Jewish world. Particularly, thank you to Moe, Ryan, and Dara for being my go-tos for anything I needed at Execs, Retreats, and IC this year. And, thank you to Jill and Sam for making up the other half of the best membership team ever. Matt and I could not have accomplished nearly as much as we did this year without your wisdom and guidance.
To my friends: Each of you have made impact on me that will last a lifetime. From friends I made at chapter programs, to council and regional conventions, to ICs and ILSI, y’all are some of the best people I have ever met. Thank you for allowing me to be my true self and supporting me in everything I do. Don’t take your BBYO friends for granted, they offer a sweet escape from the craziness of everyday life and you will miss this community more than you know when you graduate.
To 77: You were all my rocks this year. No one understands the late nights, the meetings, the running around pre-IC making sure everything is perfect, the stress and chaos sometimes, but also the unimaginable pride and joy I feel for our movement like you all do. Emma, Avi, Jess, Dani, and Ruthie, I love you all <3
To Matt: I could never say thank you to you enough. You have been there for me though Ashkelon, council board, and international board and I am so happy so many parts of our journeys overlapped. You have taught me so much about how to be a good leader and how to be confident, and I will take these skills with me for the rest of my life. From board 8 to 97/77, I love you.
To NRE, Baltimore, and Ashkelon: Thank you for being my heart and home. You gave me my first opportunity to lead and learn about the power of this movement, and for that I am forever thankful. I am going to miss this community so much, but know that I am always just a text or FaceTime away, and I will be back to visit!
To the Morot Network: Ya’ll are some of the best people I have ever worked with. You drive, passion, spirit, and creativity are unmatched. Talking to you all or snapping in our group chat makes everyday better. Thank you so much for all of your hard work, and if you still have time left in BBYO please take advantage of it because you all have so much good to offer our movement.
To CLTC 2022: I am so excited to meet you this summer! To the CLTC coordinators, thank you for making the planning process so fun and exciting, I look forward to every Thursday meeting with all of you. And to Aiden, thank you for being the best co! Let’s go have the BEST. SUMMER. EVER.
I know that sometimes, it can be scary to stand in the front of the room. It can be scary to meet new people and put yourself out there. But, if you want to try, BBYO is the perfect place. BBYO taught me to be confident and proud of who I am, and to share my passions with others. BBYO allowed me to travel the world and to make friends from places I have never been. I have never laughed, loved, or cried like I have with my BBYO friends. This is a magical movement, and I hope you love every second of it. High school goes fast, and if you close your eyes for too long you just might miss it. Things may not always go your way, but still I hope you never give up.
Respectfully submitted with an undying love for Ashkelon BBYO #5407, Baltimore Council #59, Northern Region East, ILSI 2021 and CLTC 5 2022, and the International Order of the B’nai Brith Girls, I forever remain Lillian Mae Polakoff, Your 30th International Aym Ha’ Chaverot and proud lifetime member of the International Order of the B’nai Brith Girls
Lilly Polakoff is the 30th International Aym HaChaverot from Northern Region East: Baltimore
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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