Celebrating BBYO at IC as a Proud Alum

March 7, 2024
Sam Perlen

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

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Ever since my last day serving as the 90th Grand Aleph Godol in 2015, I knew I would be back to celebrate 100 years of BBYO this year. In the blink of an eye, I was standing in Opening Ceremonies with over 3,700 teens and over 350 alumni to celebrate the Movement. While so much has changed in my life since then, being back at IC felt right. Seeing teens from over 50 countries celebrate being Jewish is the light we all need in what has been an incredibly hard few months.

Grand Aleph Godol Meet Up at International Convention 2024

Looking back at my time in Orlando, getting to connect with my co-president Amanda Freedman was an incredibly special moment. We were able to reflect on what it was like 10 years ago to be elected, and then how much we both grew together in our year traveling as Godol and N’siah. Being able to stand on stage next to her and more than 50 former members of the International Board was something I will remember forever. Seeing so many generations of BBYO teen leadership back together in one place was so powerful. I always love to see alumni who talk fondly about their time in BBYO as teens as if it were yesterday.

Sam and Amanda at International Convention 2024

I was also excited to attend IC this year as a member of the Alumni Advisory Council. As a Council, we have been tasked with engaging decades of BBYO alumni and creating opportunities for alumni to stay involved after they finish high school. For the last year, we have been working towards this goal, and finally, being able to launch these plans for the Movement was incredibly rewarding. Whether you were an active member in your chapter or were in a leadership role, everyone has a place in BBYO, and that goes for the Alumni Association as well. We want to make this a welcoming space as our teens feel when they join and make lifelong memories.

Former I-Board at International Convention 2024

From my first IC in 2012 to now, I am so thankful that BBYO has grown the way it has and provided opportunities for Jews around the world to feel free to express their Judaism. To me, nothing energizes and excites me for the Jewish future like IC, and I can’t wait to see the future BBYO has in store.

Graduating seniors and alumni, please keep in touch with BBYO as an adult and sign up for the Alumni Association at alumni.bbyo.org. We are excited about the opportunities in store, and we think you will be too!

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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