The Impact of One Trip Around the Sun with BBYO

December 14, 2023
Lexi Herbst

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Class of 2025

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It’s unbelievable to think that I have been an active member of BBYO for just over a year: 373 days. 53 weeks. I’ve done so much in this one year and met so many amazing people that I have no idea what my life would look like if I hadn’t started going to events. Looking back on my short time in this amazing Movement that I now call home, I wish I had gotten involved earlier.

I joined BBYO while my brother was his chapter’s president, and some of his friends were on my chapter’s board. I go to a small private school with very few Jews, and I go to camp in the midwest, so needless to say, I didn’t know many Jews and was terrified walking into Greater Atlanta Regions fall kickoff my freshmen year. I felt like an outsider because I thought everyone in my chapter went to the same three schools and the same camp, even though that was definitely not true. When seniors say, you get out of BBYO whatever you put in, I am a 100% believer in that. In my freshman year and for the first half of my sophomore year, I put in zero effort and only went to things when my mom forced me to, but last December at GAR's SRC, I decided to change things. 

I was signed up to go to IC to see my camp friends because many of them planned to go, so I decided to join in. My mom made a deal with me that in order for me to go to IC, I had to start being active in my chapter and region, so four days before SRC, my mom signed me up. I had no idea what to expect because I didn’t know anyone and had never attended a convention. Immediately, our chapter N’siah at the time, Maddie Rose, took me under her wing and started explaining what was happening and all the rituals. That night, Emmy Hirshfield arrived, and the moment Maddie introduced me to her, we clicked. There it was: I had my first two BBYO friends. After that weekend, I couldn’t stop talking about BBYO and how much fun I had.I actually started going to chapter events because I chose to. Since then, I have gone to IC, attended all but one of my chapter events, gone to all of GAR's conventions, ran for chapter S’ganit, won chapter S’ganit, became best friends with the other half of my N’sig duo, attended CLTC, met some of the best people from around the order, joined the ILN, joined the RLN, and steered SRC 2023. I felt like I needed to make up for my lost time, which I definitely accomplished.

Last year, I didn’t have many regional friends, just a couple that I met at IC and Atlanta Spring Convention. This year, I made it a goal to put in the effort to make friends around the region. When I signed up for CLTC, I didn’t plan on going with anyone. I ended up going with two other girls from Atlanta, and I am so glad I could share that experience with them. Hannah Lipman became one of the people I always look forward to seeing at regional events. I used to be scared of the regional board because they were the older cool girls, but once I started working with them and seeing them, I realized how amazing and friendly they all are. While planning my chapter’s Friendsgiving event with one of the other BBG chapters, I didn’t realize I was talking to one of my future best friends, Rayna Levine. Before that first initial FaceTime, I didn’t know her other than a few exchanges of texts, but we instantly became friends.  Along with meeting people my age throughout my time on board, I’ve gotten the chance to experience becoming close with GAR's staff, one especially being Lindsey Greenstein. She has helped me so much through highs and lows, is always open to vent, and, most importantly, gives the best hugs.

When applications for SRC steering came out, I decided to apply because I wanted to help give back, make SRC unforgettable, and get members to fall in love with BBYO like SRC did for me the year before. When the steering meetings started, I was so excited that Rayna and Hannah were both there, but while steering, I also met another of my best friends, Jemma Schiffer. I had Rayna in my group for my rotation and Jemma in my group for my Shabbat service, so I spent a lot of time with them. Now, I can’t go a day without talking to the two of them, and I tell them everything. While Emmy and Maddie made my SRC last year extra special last year, Jemma and Rayna made it just as special this year. Having done so much in this one year of BBYO, I wish I had gotten involved way earlier. Just a year ago, I gave zero effort into BBYO, and now I put 110% in and get 120% out.

Lexi Herbst is a BBG in Lev Hadarom #2539 from Greater Atlanta Region, and she plays lacrosse.

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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