Post-Convention Thoughts: The Stranger in Yourself

December 8, 2022
Reid Kaplan

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Class of 2024

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I’m currently sitting on the bus, on our way back from Greater Atlanta’s Spirit Regional Convention, a region wide competition to determine which chapter has the greatest spirit. Spoiler alert: my chapter didn’t win. But that’s okay! The memories and lessons I have learned are a gift and have become something that I will take with me for the years to come. 

As I’m on the bus writing this, I hear the sounds of a fly, the guys in my region talking about their lives outside of BBYO, and the trap beat in the background. Suddenly, I gain another bar of service, and “The Stranger” by Billy Joel starts to play— a song explaining that everyone has a side of themself, a stranger, that may not always be apparent. So, I ask myself how this song relates to this past convention weekend, and just BBYO in general. 

During the epic piano-whistle duet of the song, the gears in my mind are beginning to turn. After a while, it hits me: BBYO brings out a different side of us. Although, I’m sure many of you have heard this fact before, whether from a separates or a good-and-welfare. However, it’s not always something that we are always consciously aware of, and it even took me “The Longest Time” to break out of my shell in BBYO. In fact, this didn’t happen until very recently. 

At International Kallah this past summer, I truly felt, for the first time, that I could be my true self in BBYO. My dorm’s good-and-welfare on the final night allowed me to reflect and realize this. I look back to my CLTC a year earlier, and I realize now how quiet I was, and how repressed my authentic, spontaneous self was. Just then, I hear a commotion coming from the back of the bus. I think back to me from one year ago at CLTC, and how that version of me would not want to get involved and isolate himself from the crowd. However, present me would love to see why everyone is screaming and laughing at the back of the bus. So, I leave you all here, as “The Stranger” departs for the horde of rambunctious Jewish teenagers, for the people who have accepted me and allowed me to be my true, real self.

Reid Kaplan is an Aleph living in Dunwoody, GA with a great passion for BBYO, and is always willing to learn more about this organization!

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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