I joined BBYO at the end of 2017/ early 2018, I was an excited yet nervous 13 year old to finally join into the Organization I had heard all of my older friends talking about as I grew up within the Jewish community. I still remember having so many questions about BBYO, What truly WAS BBYO?, What do you do in BBYO?, Will I actually enjoy being in BBYO?, and one question I truly remember most, Will I actually make friends within BBYO like everyone says? I remember when I attended my first MIT/AIT overnight as a MIT and despite knowing almost everyone in my chapter at the time just from growing up with them that night I truly experienced a new and true type of bond. While I still had that new 8th grader awkwardness I truly had the best time of my life whether it was playing uno, playing game pigeon with the seniors or running around late at night and sneaking off to the playground at the JCC at 2 am just to be kids and have deep conversations, While I was very active within my chapter I truly didn’t start branching out internationally until mid sophomore year/end of junior year. I never got a chance to go to CLTC due to the pandemic and I was not notified that you could go as a sophomore so I ended up missing out what I still feel like is a huge crucial part within BBYO. My first ever international program I attended was International Convention in 2022 as a junior, I was the only one in my chapter who signed up and went and at the time I barely knew anyone within my region. I still remember the first day of IC, arriving at the airport and being overwhelmed with the amount of people I saw, people reuniting with friends they haven’t seen in so long and more, As I made my way through the baltimore hotel I remember talking to a group of girls and as time went on we slowly grew closer and hung out with each other. I attended my first delegation meeting with my region and I remember being absolutely horrified as at the time I had only known very few people at the time and only one person fairly well. I walked in and looked around the room at all the chaos that was happening at the time and I remember the one former BBG I knew ran up to me and grabbed my hand and told me “You look stressed out, do you wanna sit in the hall with me for a bit? Its alot in here I truly understand.” As someone who struggles with sensory dysfunction and APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) those words truly meant the world to me, especially considering the fact I broke down in the hallway after due to sensory overload. Fast forward a bit more into IC I truly was having the time of my life, I had met all sorts of amazing friends and people including a meet and greet with Mike Posner and getting caked by Steve Aioki. I can still recall after my first IC that I was eager and wanted to dig deeper within BBYO, I also had attended Israel XPR (Now known as Israel XPR journey) the summer before and went to israel for my very first time. I absolutely loved and adored Israel from Israeli culture to rafting down the Jordan river to doing a water hike, attending shabbat services and more. I made some of my lifetime friends on the trip and made memories that would last a lifetime. Fast forward to summer of 2022 I attended ILTC with the plan to extend to full perlman but was cut short due to a covid outbreak. I absolutely loved and adored perlman while I was there despite having a semi rough experience due to some people but I truly did not let that stop me, no matter the tears I cried or how down I felt I still held my head high and continued to enjoy the time I had at ILTC to the most extent I could. On the topic of perlman I would truly like to take this time to shout out some of the amazing people who helped me during my hard time at perlman and truly kept me going, I would not be where I am today without some of these amazing people;
David Sternfeld (Eastern Region)
Ellie Weinzimer (CVR)
Leah Perlmutter (DC Council #54)
Eric Hunker (singer/songleader, Check out his new album this summer, Beautiful Endings!)
Morgan Wittenberg (BBYO Staff)
Stacey (Mental health/Nursing staff for BBYO)
Courtney Fields (NTO #74 Regional Director)
To the people listed above, I truly and dearly want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and with my entire love and spirit for helping me during my hard times and making sure I was okay when you knew I wasn’t. I’ll never forget the love and compassion you showed to me and to my best friends in the entire world David, Leah and Ellie, I love you guys to the moon, the stars and back. You guys truly are my rock and I would be lost without you guys.
I’m so glad Perlman brought us together and I cannot wait to see where life guides you guys :) <3. While perlman may have been a little rough for me I did not let that stop me from exploring BBYO. I started BBYO’s first ever Members Of Color Alliance, Got to speak in front of 3.2K teens at IC this year, was a maccabiah captain for NTO’s spring con and more. BBYO has truly been a huge part of my Jewish life and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to join when I did. Now here I am today as a senior, reminiscing on BBYO memories and nowhere near ready to let go just quite yet. I went from a quiet little freshman who thought “ I don’t have to worry about graduating yet I still have plenty of time” to a now strong, confident and optimistic senior who isn’t quite ready to let go yet. I was so caught up in enjoying the moments within BBYO that now I am nowhere near ready to let go of bbyo and its wholeness and am not quite sure what to do when I’m not within BBYO anymore. I know I can still come back to events as an alumni, staff a region and more but it truly will not be the same as being a teen within BBYO. BBYO gave me experiences that I know I would not have been able to get anywhere else and BBYO truly made growing up as a Jewish teen the best thing ever.
To all my BBYO friends, Staff, my fellow incoming 8th graders/freshies and more,
Please don’t ever stop being you. You will make a difference within BBYO whether you start taking action early or later you are the change BBYO needs. You may not know me but from the bottom of my senior heart I. Love. You.
A personal note to my region and my chapter;
NTO, You truly showed me that it is okay to come out of my shell and be myself even if it isn’t necessarily everyone's cup of tea. You showed me what it's like to be a strong leader and a leader that isn’t afraid to back down even when things may not go my way, you showed me how to step back, take time to think and retry again with a different yet stronger approach. NTO I love you with my whole entire heart and from Tulsa to Texas NTO is ALWAYS really precious. I love you NTO, Maroon and gray penguins forever.
To my Salomon girls, I love you girls from the bottom of my heart. You guys truly showed me what true sisterhood is like and I have so many memories held in my head and my heart from you girls and I still have memories from years ago that I laugh at today. From working at Synagogue together to staying up all night at 8th grade overnight just singing songs, talking about random things, and most importantly, just being ourselves and holding a true and strong sisterhood. Anytime there we’re any problems we always took our time to figure them out even if it took a while and yet we still would come together like nothing happened, continued to be our best selves and have fun and I’ve always adored that about our chapter. I love you guys like sisters and when I’m gone please don’t become strangers even if we may not be the strongest of friends nor don’t know each other you guys will always hold a special place in my heart and I love you guys forever. S-A-L-O-M-O-N SALOMON SALOMON BARUCH HASHEM PEACE <3
To my FRAZA boys, Y’all gotta be the most devious group of guys ever but despite all the deviousness you guys still manage to make every joint program, van ride, and more the most fun I’ve ever had. You guys know how to cheer me up when I’m upset and despite how crazy y’all are you guys still know when to be serious when needed and check in on others while having just the right touch of goofiness to take our minds off being upset. I truly treasure you guys and I’m going to deeply miss you and your craziness. Please don’t ever stop being who you are but maybe do stop accidentally breaking things…. But besides that FRAZA boys I’ll always love you and like I said for NBS please don’t be strangers when I’m gone, even if we may not know each other the best I still would love to get to know you and to hear what's going on within the chapter. FRAZA BOYS I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUU :)
With that and this officially being my last submission,
Submitted with undying love for eternity for BBYO, NBS #243, FRAZA #276, Tulsa BBYO, NTO, Press corps, Press corps memes, David, Leah, Ellie, Andrea Lefton, Jen Appel (and baby Sadie grace <3), IC 22/23, MOCA, Graduating BBYO and more.
Micah Michelle S.K. Pierandri
Forever and always damn proud BBG of Tulsa BBYO, NTO and NBS #243 for life.
Micah Pierandri is a BBG living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a she can sight read Haftorah! She loves photography and social media work, but is also a very passionate person about topics in the world.
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.
This week's Torah portion shows us that the community can inspire us to create change.
Thousands of teens. Forty-seven countries. Two days. One connection.
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