Of all the organizations and groups in our community, possibly the most misunderstood is the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization or as it is commonly known, BBYO. Many people have misconceptions about BBYO because they do not understand its real purpose. BBYO is an organization in which Jewish teens throughout the world interact with one another and form bonds through their Jewish Heritage. As stated in the organizations mission statement “BBYO offers safe and welcoming opportunities for learning and growth to all Jewish teens regardless of background, denominational affiliation, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.” It is this openness to all those in the Jewish faith that has made the BBYO a major organization on Long Island and around the world.
This organization is divided into several regions throughout the world, and within those regions there are many chapters. Long Island alone is home to 14 different chapters. In Dix Hills the boys chapter is called Maccabee, and the girls chapter is called L’chaim. These chapters meets usually every two weeks. At these meetings they conduct social events and activities ranging from playing football in a park to hosting barbeques. The goal of these meetings correspond to the BBYO mission statement, as they allow members to bond with each other and celebrate their common heritage. Talking about these meetings, Ethan Schneider of the Maccabee Boys’ Chapter says that the chapter also “does service activities to help better the local community.” The L’chaim Girls’ Chapter is similar in creating a social atmosphere for girls of Jewish faith in our community. The girls in the L’chaim Chapter perform a variety of activities that are meant to help the members feel welcome. Alana Kessler of the L’chaim Girls’ Chapter comments, “BBYO meetings can range form being very inspiring and empowering programs to just doing a fun creative activity. No matter what we do at meetings, they are always really special.”
Whether its helping out the community or just getting teens together to have fun, BBYO plays a crucial role in the development of Jewish teens throughout our community. BBYO offers teens of the Jewish faith the chance to to connect with one another. It is an expanding organization that prides itself with helping Jewish teens discover their heritage and connecting members through social experiences meant to enrich their faith.While the club is misunderstood in some aspects, many teens still find it a great opportunity to make new friends and celebrate their interesting and wonderful heritage.