One Hundred Times Special

December 19, 2023
Zach Miller

San Antonio, Texas, United States

Class of 2026

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When I first walked into the doors of the IC hotel last February, I was speechless. From the gigantic posters of people I knew draped over the balcony to the thousands of teens gathered in the lobby, it didn’t feel real. 

With about fifteen other kids from my home chapter of Erich Weiss AZA, we got in line to get our room keys. The excitement of the weekend almost distracted us from the fact that we had to wait over an hour, but we weren’t upset. After we got our roommates and keys, my friends and I barely stopped in our room to drop off our luggage before heading downstairs to explore. And we were not disappointed. There was about everything you could want at a BBYO convention, from an arcade to a music studio to bean bag chairs to sit and rest. We had a ton of free time to try just about everything, something I could easily check for on the IC app, which had a full schedule for the weekend. Just when we thought the excitement had finally calmed down, it was time for opening ceremonies. Now I knew how many people had signed up for IC 2023, but over three thousand Jews in one room, separated by BBYO region, is truly a crazy sight to see. With the flags of places like Australia and Israel waving in the air and performers like the cast of Hamilton welcoming everyone, it was something I’d never forget. And that was only the first few hours. 

The first full day of IC was a never-ending 24 hours, including a “Leads Day” activity, where you get to explore the city hosting IC, go to Shabbat at sunset, and have a meaningful experience with a variety of services. And no day after that was any less action-packed, from star-studded speakers to concerts to a huge party on the last night. With a million different activities going on every minute of the day, I really think there is something for everyone at IC. 

In my region of Lonestar, we stay at campgrounds for conventions, so staying at a huge hotel with my BBYO family was a totally different experience in itself. Take your average regional convention on steroids times one hundred. And on top of that, it's a place where you feel extra proud of your culture, extra proud to be Jewish. I mean, I had heard every story possible about IC and how amazing the whole experience was, but nothing prepared me for the fun I would have that weekend and the fun I’m excited to have again at the Centennial IC in Orlando.

Zachary Miller is an Aleph from Lonestar and an avid writer and singer.

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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