by Abbi Berry
BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization) has long been misunderstood through various stereotypes, and never fully appreciated for its incredible impact on the participating Jewish teens. With its emphasis on teen leadership, Jewish faith, brother and sisterhood, the youth group creates a family of Jewish teens who spend their weekends together keeping up with traditions and helping the community. The youth group is broken into regions across the nation, which are then broken into chapters, assigning members by school.
Los Gatos’ local girls’ chapter, Neshikot, is home to several LGHS students. The chapter is only six years old, one of the younger BBG (B’nai B’rith Girl) chapters in the region. With students from Westmont, Prospect, Lynbrook, and Los Gatos, Neshikot meets weekly with other chapters in the Bay Area to practice their traditions as well as bond over themed nights with several active andeducational programs. The programs are teen-led with one member from each chapter cooperating with one another to create a fun night. Once a month all of the chapters can see each other at regional events ranging from chapter olympics, dances, and weekend-long conventions. The BBYO experience doesn’t end at the regional level, however. There are national and even international connections that allow young Jewish teens from all over to unite under a common theme of leadership, discovery, or a stand-up cause for the community.
Each chapter has elected members to positions dealing with chapter leadership, such as arranging rides, taking pictures at events, or sending out emails. Two LGHS students, Abbi Berry and Ashlee Kupor, made a video in correspondence to their positions as Safranit (historian) and Mazkirah (secretary) to get the word out about their chapter. Watch the video to see the member’s discuss their tho ughts on BBYO, their chapter, their favorite memories; maybe you’ll recognize some of your friends!