02 February 2016
“I’ve been able to learn more about myself, Judaism and leadership. I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve made and the fun that I’ve had.” – Rachel N.
BBYO is an international pluralistic teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. BBYO provides opportunities for teens to explore their Jewish identities and leaderships skills, and to make incredible memories with thousands of Jewish teens. Rachel N. is BBYO’s DC Council Regional President, serving Maryland and Washington DC. She is a senior at Walter Johnson High School and will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall.
Read on for Rachel’s interview by Federation Teen Engagement Fellow Alexa Herman.
What Jewish activities are you involved in?
I am very involved in the Jewish community. I am currently the Regional President for DC Council. I am also am a madricha at B’nai Israel Congregation, which means that every Sunday I work in the office, teach and talk with parents. Last summer, I went on two BBYO summer programs; to Bulgaria for a community service trip and to Israel. In Israel, I learned how to better Israel advocate and to be a better leader. It was amazing!
What was one of your favorite moments in BBYO?
One of my favorite memories is of going on my first summer program: CLTC or Chapter Leadership Training Conference. This program is all about networking, leadership and making amazing memories. I made friends all over the country! Because of this experience I was able to do everything in BBYO I wanted to do. I ran for International Vice President, I have coordinated conventions and this summer I am planning my own CLTC as a coordinator. I am so thankful for CLTC because I was able to learn more about myself, Judaism and leadership.
What impact has BBYO made on your life?
My favorite part about BBYO is the friends I have made. High school is really hard but BBYO is a place where you can make a home for yourself and I know I can always be me. I always have people to talk to and feel comfortable around them. BBYO events bring meaning and value into my life. The relationships I built in BBYO have also affected my future. It helped me get into college because of the leadership skills I learned. I have tons of connections now. As soon as I meet someone and find out they did BBYO, it creates an instant connection and we always have something to talk about. BBYO really creates opportunities for you, and now I have these amazing relationships and connections.
What is something you want other Jewish teens to know?
I want everyone to know we are part of the community. When I went to Bulgaria with BBYO, I met tons of Jewish teens from all over the world, and we had an instant connection. I love utilizing these relationships and growing them.
What is something that inspires you?
Other people inspire me. I’m inspired by older members from the past, and by the freshmen and eighth graders who are new to BBYO. I love seeing how passionate they are to start their journeys. Their excitement makes me want to do more and that is the most inspiring.
Left: Alexa, Federation’s Jewish Teen Engagement Fellow. Right: Rachel N.