Thanksgiving is a time for us to sit back and reflect upon all that we are thankful for in life. To many Jewish teens across the world, BBYO is something to be grateful for. From chapter programs to International Convention, there is so much to love and learn from within this organization. I asked BBYO members from around the world why they were they were thankful for BBYO, and within their responses were common themes including Jewish identity, friendship, and self-discovery. Here are 15 of the best responses to make you feel some extra gratitude during this Thanksgiving season:
“I’m thankful for BBYO because it has helped me shape my Jewish Identity through immersive experiences, develop into a leader through the many different opportunities it provides, meet incredible people from amazing places, and it’s given me another place to call home.” —Rebecca Barnholtz, Mid-America Region
“I am thankful for BBYO because this movement gives teens around the world a place to safely practice their Judaism. In many places, Jewish people cannot practice their religion openly, so BBYO creates a safe space to do exactly that. I come from a predominantly Catholic neighborhood with few Jewish families and BBYO has also given me the opportunity to connect with Jewish teens across the world.” —Farrah Fuld, Big Apple Region
“I’m thankful for BBYO because it made me proud to be Jewish, and it gave me friends from all around the world!” —Alison Stern, Great Midwest Region
“I am so thankful for BBYO because it has provided me with so much. From friends to memories to leadership opportunities, BBYO has made my life so much more exciting.” —Heather Saxe, Mountain Region
“I’m thankful for BBYO because of the people it’s introduced me to. The people that I’ve met and the bonds that I’ve made are truly unlike any other because they’re founded upon a deeper connection that stems from the unity that BBYO and our Jewish faith creates. The friendships that come out of it are so strong and that’s something that I’ll be thankful for years and years to come.” —Borana Somen, Big Apple Region
“I am thankful for BBYO because it has brought me happiness and everything I could ever ask for. I have learned to break out of my shell and learn leadership skills as well. Whenever I go to a regional, chapter, or international event I forget everything that worries me. I have made my best friends and I am happy to say that BBYO has made my life complete.” —Dara Zeitz, South Jersey Region
“I am so thankful for BBYO because of the tremendous impact it has made on my life. BBYO has allowed me to expand my leadership skills, connect with my Judaism, and meet friends across the globe. Without all of these experiences, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” —Julia Sisko, Pacific West Region
“I would like to say thank you to BBYO for helping me out in so many ways. Being involved in BBYO is the best thing that happened to me, and made these years so special. I got to learn so many new things, I met so many new people, I discovered new cultures and interests and I never stop exploring in BBYO.” —Ognjena Ratković, Balkans
“BBYO has introduced me to so many people and experiences that I could never have gotten anywhere else. It really shaped me into the person I am today and I am so thankful for that.” —Eliza Faigin, Michigan Region
“BBYO introduced me to some of my very best friends who are the people who have helped me through my hardest times and always been there for me.” —Maya Siegmann, Michigan Region
“I am thankful for BBYO because it has allowed me to learn to be a leader. It has also allowed me to create friendships around the world.” —Jenny Katz, North Texas Oklahoma Region
“BBYO has provided me with opportunities to grow and develop as a teen who is part of a relatively small local Jewish community. I now have so many people that I can talk to on a daily basis to ask for advice or just to catch up, in addition to the skills that I have learned, which are unique to BBYO.” —Matthew Buchalter, United Kingdom and Ireland Region
“I’m thankful for BBYO because of how it shaped me into a stronger, more confident person. BBYO has given me so much and I hope every Jewish teen is able to have as amazing an experience as I have had.” —Ami Lieberman, Great Midwest Region
“I'm thankful for BBYO because it has helped me to learn about myself both as a leader and as a person.” —Ashler Faber, Cotton States Region
“BBYO gave me self-confidence and gave me a platform to make a change in the world.” —Ross Oginsky, Nassau Suffolk Region
Sarah Goldman is a BBG from Michigan Region.
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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