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Largest teen Shabbat in world as BBYO holds annual summit

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Eight teen leaders from Joburg and Cape Town recently went to Washington DC and Baltimore to attend the annual international conference of BBYO. This is the Jewish teen-led organisation that spans more than 60 countries and is the South African Zionist Federation’s newest affiliate.

The first-ever delegation from South Africa joined 4 000 other teen leaders for the conference. Their 12-day trip included tours of famous landmarks in Washington, visits to the Holocaust and Smithsonian museums, participating in leadership laboratories, Ted Talks, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration experiences. They were welcomed with messages from politicians including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and speeches from Marvel movie stars, White House representatives, musician Mike Posner, famous TikTokers, and many more inspirational speakers. Every night, they were treated to concerts by world renowned DJs and bands.

The teens were able to explore their Judaism by being part of the largest teen Shabbat in the world, and they have returned with a stronger Jewish identity after bonding with Jewish teens from every corner of the globe. They were also able to participate in debates, elections, and community impact task forces that will create a real-world difference. For example, BBYO leadership’s first task has been to aid and shelter 1 500 Ukrainians members seeking refuge across Europe.

For information on how your teen could get involved, email southafrica@bbyo.org.

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