I have been attending Camp Jori in Rhode Island since I was 11, which was the primary reason I joined BBYO. A huge part of the Camp Jori camper experience is taking a trip to Israel the summer before junior year all together through BBYO’s summer passport program. Although I hesitated to go to Israel with my camp at first, the trip ended up being one of the best experiences in my entire life. I grew closer with all of my camp friends, and after I knew I wanted to be more involved in BBYO because of the amazing experiences and opportunities it brought me.
The first BBYO event I attended was the regional kickoff in October on Lawn on D in Boston. I had so much fun seeing all my camp friends and I knew I had to get to the fall convention. As I started to get involved with BBYO, there was lots of talk about starting a new chapter in Brookline, and I knew I wanted to be part of it.
A lot of my friends in other chapters were involved in their boards as chapter leaders; I knew I wanted to get involved in the leadership aspect of BBYO. I also knew about how many Jewish teens there were in Brookline who didn’t know about BBYO or much about Judaism in general, so I wanted to bring teens together through events. Ever since, I have been meeting weekly with Brookline BBYO’s volunteer advisor, Maddie Rubenstein, and several other teens: Elle Sohn, Josh Wolf, Maya Uretsky and Lily Comander. Together we have been planning events and reaching out to other teens in the Brookline area as we plan to become New England Region BBYO’s 12th chapter. Additionally, we have an incredible partnership with Congregation Kehilath Israel and Kelly Kossar, associate director of youth programming.
So far I have loved all of the events I have gone to and helped plan. The regional events like kickoff and fall convention were super fun because of how many people were there and the wide range of activities and social settings that were provided. I especially loved the Hollywood-themed dance at fall convention because it reminded me of the dances I had at Camp Jori when I was younger. Even though the regional events were amazing, I also have enjoyed all the smaller chapter events. I attended several with Mayim Chayim, the girls’ Newton/Needham chapter, and also have been able to plan some for Brookline.
Elle, Josh, Maya, Lily, Maddie and I all planned a wonderful ice skating kickoff event as our first in-person event, which we had in February. And just recently we hosted a Purim party, where we baked hamentaschen and showed up in fun costumes.
I am looking forward to the future of Brookline BBYO this spring semester, going to spring convention in-person at Camp Bournedale and all the 2022-2023 school year will bring to Brookline BBYO. I want to welcome any eighth to 12th grade teens in the Brookline/Newton areas who want to help grow this new chapter to join us as we start to plan for next year!
If you are interested in learning more about Brookline BBYO or New England BBYO, please contact regional director Jeff Hast at email@example.com or 412-983-0590. Brookline BBYO’s next event is Havdalah and a campfire movie night on March 26.
Dina Naimark-Goldberg is a 17-year-old Junior at Brookline High School. She participates on her dance team, alpine ski team and lacrosse team. She loves medicine and science and plans to intern at the biology lab at MIT and take global classes at Brandeis University. She is a founding member of the newest New England Region (NER) BBYO chapter, Brookline BBYO.
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