Dozens of Northern New Jersey teens joined thousands of other teens, educators, thought and business leaders, celebrities, political figures, and philanthropists from around the world at the BBYO International Convention 2021 last month. The large hybrid festival included both digital and in-person meetings. Jewish teens could connect with their peers, learn new skills, and commit themselves to projects and initiatives about which they are passionate.
Board elections were a highlight of the convention. Jessica Ilin, 16, a student at the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, was elected as the 77th international BBG secretary, or mazkirah. In this role, she will be a part of a 12-member international teen board that will help organize BBYO’s vision for the coming year and provide leadership and support to teen leaders in local communities throughout the BBYO system.
“For 76 years, BBG has not only survived but thrived,” Jessica said. “I am humbled and honored to be the 77th BBG who will lead our movement’s communication, globalization, and governance efforts to continue to shape Jewish connections for over 80,000 teens across 56+ countries. With my platform, I hope to reach and inspire others, and I remain incredibly grateful for the immense amount of support and encouragement from my friends, family, advisors, and staff, who have shaped me into the person I am today.”
In addition to the hundreds of speakers and educators, delegates had access to a variety of other program highlights.
“Building resilient Jewish teen leaders is at the core of what we do in BBYO,” Naomi Tilman, the senior regional director of BBYO’s greater Jersey Hudson River region, said. “Each of our teens takes such pride and plays an active role in their chapters and on a regional level and it shows with their election to BBYO’s International Board. We are so excited to see Jessica execute her vison for next year and continue to empower teens to leave their mark on Jewish history not only here in our area, but, all over the world.”