AZA & BBG,
It is an honor to be writing this letter. As the incoming international presidents of a nearly 100-year-old organization, we are excited and extremely ecstatic for what is to come in the next year. It is no secret that these past two years have been difficult, but it is now our time to come back larger and stronger than ever before. As issues such as the rising rate of antisemitic attacks worry our communities, we will work tirelessly over the next year to ensure that the future of the Jewish community is bright.
Below are just a few of our priorities for the next year. Get ready to add your priorities as well.
The Covid-19 pandemic has taken so much from us. Whether it be our loved ones that we knew or our time as teenagers. The unseen cost of the pandemic on our members is immense. As we enter a world after the pandemic, we realize that we are the last Aleph and BBG in order to have experienced a full year of in-person BBYO. Therefore, stabilizing the Movement and passing down lessons of years passed over the next year, as well as understanding the immense power we have in paving the coming years, will be crucial. We all have some catching up to do, and we need to do it quickly. From hosting global leadership training initiatives to being physically present across the order, we will work to ensure that the years leading up to our centennial anniversary are filled with growth and engagement.
BBYO is a global Movement. For many of our general members, it might not feel that way. However, it is important to recognize that while our North American community is larger, there are still over 60 countries in this order that deserve just as much attention. It is important to also realize that the pandemic has cost a large toll on the Jewish population across the globe, with large swaths of Jewish populations losing their connection in isolation. With the lack of engagement in local synagogues to some leaving Judaism due to a spike in Antisemitic attacks across the globe.
As members of the world's largest pluralist Jewish youth Movement, it is our responsibility to ensure the Jewish people are here for generations to come. Therefore, we plan to ensure our international communities have the support they need, whether that be funding, staff support, etc., to rebuild from this pandemic, and help thrust them into a new year of growth and prosperity. From visiting as many global communities as possible to working one-on-one with our counterparts, we will ensure that a member in China feels the same as one in Cincinnati.
Two years of isolation from other people have created large scars on many teens' mental health, from a lack of a supporting net to difficulty concentrating in a new in-person environment. It’s no secret that being a leader is challenging, and being a teen is even harder. We all deal with endless stressors both in and outside of the BBYO setting. So, as we begin to grow back our Movement over the next year, we will also work on growing ourselves as a community. As the international presidents, we will advocate for mental health resources, support, and staff in all of our communities to ensure that each teen is safe.
A few months ago, over 3,000 of our members filled out a climate survey on how BBYO affects their lives. While we cannot share the direct statistics yet, the results do warrant us to ensure that our teens are safe. A global rise in depression and suicide rates among teens over the last two years shows us that this is not just a BBYO issue. We will ensure that over the next year, and as long as it is needed by our teens, each of our teens feel safe at BBYO and across the globe.
We are a Movement that affects over 70,000 Jewish teens in 61 different nations. A worldwide network of the next leaders of our communities. The next members of parliament, presidents, prime ministers, elected officials, CEOs, and titans of industries are right here, in BBYO. As Jewish teens, we fully understand how daunting and difficult it may be to ensure your voice is heard, however, as we face countless global conflicts and issues, it is our responsibility to step up to the plate. We will work together over the next year to change the world, impacting it for the better.
As we enter this next year and all those to come, we want to remind you of your power. Your power extends further than strength in numbers, it’s the Chochmat Lev – Wisdom of Heart – that flows throughout our Movement. You, any Jewish teen anywhere, can accomplish huge goals. And we, as a Movement, can accomplish ten times more together. As your incoming International Presidents, we’ve made a personal commitment to supporting every single one of you in ensuring that you fulfill your greatest aspirations because we can. We know that it’s easy to forget, so we’re here to remind you all year long – think big this year, we're ready to make it happen.
One way to get started is by joining the International Leadership Network (ILN). Applications open June 1st – reach out always if you have any questions or don’t see an opportunity that piques your interest.
Get ready for an amazing year ahead. We will call on each and every one of you to push mountains. We’ll see you in your home communities soon!
Fraternally and Respectfully submitted,
Levi Fox & Avi Gorodetski
98th Grand Aleph Godol & 78th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah
Levi & Avi are the international presidents for the 2022-2023 year. Levi, hailing from Houston, Texas is the 98th Grand Aleph Godol and Avi hails from Washington, DC and is the 78th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah
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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