Louisville’s Jay Levine BBG garnered a top prize at the recent BBYO International Convention in Dallas, receiving the honorable Miriam Albert Chapter Excellence Award – the most prestigious honor a BBG chapter can earn.
Chapter N’siah Abigail Geller said she was thrilled to receive the award, which recognizes excellence in all areas of chapter operations, including membership growth, programming and participation in International initiatives.
Twenty Louisville BBYO teens joined nearly 4,800 Jewish others, as well as professionals, and philanthropists for the February 16 convention. The attendees came from 48 states, districts, and provinces, and 30 countries, making for the largest gathering of Jewish teen leaders worldwide, according to BBYO.
The teens heard welcome video addresses President Reuven Rivlin of Israel, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and American businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
With their 8-foot-tall inflatable rubber duck mascot, the members of the Kentucky Indiana Ohio delegation couldn’t be missed at opening ceremonies.
Throughout the four-day seminar, teens heard influential speakers and engaged in community service projects, social issues programming, concerts and even some Dallas sightseeing.
Among the speakers were Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Yehiel “Hilik” Bar, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro; ALS Ice Bucket Challenge creator Andrew Frates, American historian Deborah Lipstadt actor Joshua Malina and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions.
“As we highlight BBYO’s core principles of community service, civic engagement, philanthropy, leadership and Jewish heritage, our program will focus on the opportunities we have as citizens to shape the world,” said Matthew Grossman, chief executive officer of BBYO. “Each of our guest speakers has made a positive impact in effecting change, and each has inspirational stories to share.”
The convention culminated in a concert by Fifth Harmony and Nelly.
The next international convention will be held in 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Registration opens in October.
(Kari Semel is teen director of the Jewish Community of Louisville and assistant director of The J Summer Camp.)