Two Atlanta Council BBYO members were elected to the AZA international board during the 2017 BBOY International Convention in Dallas, Texas, during the Presidents Day weekend.
Jacob Lewis, a junior at North Springs Charter High School, was elected s’gan (international vice president of programming), and Jake Busch, a junior at Chamblee Charter High School, was elected mazkir (international vice president of communications and globalization, aka secretary) for AZA, the boys’ side of the high school youth group BBYO.
They are among five boys and five girls who will form the BBYO teen board and will help chart the organization’s vision and leadership for the coming year. They were all elected by the more than 2,500 Jewish teens attending the convention.
“As grand aleph mazkir, I will aspire to inspire — through expanded global partnerships, an empowered and empowering social media presence, and a network of subnetworks built upon the individuality of each and every leader in this order,” Busch said.
“It’s been surreal thus far to have the opportunity of being elected as grand aleph s’gan,” Lewis said. “I can’t wait to showcase my passions on the international stage and help contribute to the movements of AZA and BBG.”
Atlanta sent 134 teens to the BBYO IC, the largest traveling delegation at the convention, where more than 2,300 Jewish educators, professionals, philanthropists and other adults joined the teens from 48 North American states, districts and provinces and 30 countries, making it the largest gathering of Jewish teen leaders worldwide. BBYO International Convention attendance has grown almost 300 percent the past five years.
“As we highlight BBYO’s core principles of community service, civic engagement, philanthropy, leadership and Jewish heritage, our program focuses on the opportunities we have as citizens to shape the world,” said Matthew Grossman, BBYO’s chief executive officer. “With over 2,500 teens joined together this year at IC 2017, this event offered a truly unique opportunity for them to see how the BBYO local experience translates into being part of something bigger than themselves: the global Jewish people.”
Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt was among the speakers at the convention. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban addressed the convention by video.
The closing ceremonies Feb. 19 brought word that the Atlanta delegation had been awarded the Max F. Baer Spirit Gavel.
“Attending IC was truly a fun experience for me. Some of the highlights of the weekend included listening to interesting adult speakers sharing their thoughts on Judaism and other things to help me and others thrive as Jewish teens, a concert featuring Nelly and Fifth Harmony, and touring Dallas,” first-time IC attendee Ross Wolpert said. “I enjoyed making new friends from around the world, and I feel like I developed a deeper appreciation for being a member of BBYO.”