Two BBYO youths from Detroit and their director bond with Bulgarians
and learn the power of Judaism.
hough the eight American BBYO students went on a mis-
sion to Bulgaria to bring a sense of Judaism and communi-
ty there, they returned with a deeper sense of their own
"The first time I went to Bulgaria [two years ago], I got an over-
whelming sense of being connected to Jews around the world," said
Perry Teicher, 18, of West Bloomfield. "The second visit reinforced
that feeling," he said.
"I enjoyed my Judaism so much more after meeting people who
couldn't practice Judaism for so long, but who really cared about their
religion. That really touched me."
His sister Zara, 15, who joined him on the second trip, was capti-
vated by the beauty of Sofia, the capital city, and the warmth of their
"The Jewish Bulgarians were very welcoming and most spoke
English," she said.
"You fall in love with this country," added her brother, who was
excited to see his friends again.
From Dec. 29, 2002, to Jan. 6, 2003, Zara and Perry were B'nai
Brith Youth Organization ambassadors on a mission to help young
Jewish Bulgarians feel part of a larger Jewish community — and the
BBYO community as well, said Arnie Weiner, Michigan BBYO direc-
He and Sara Rautman, Minneapolis BBYO director, accompanied
the Teichers and six BBYO members from Philadelphia, Atlanta and
Ariella Lis, 16, of Farmington Hills, helped coordinate the visit, but
was unable to go at the last minute.
The Americans met eight BBYO Bulgaria members and three staff
ACROSS THE WORLD on page 38
The seven hills that surround the city welcome visitors to Sofia, Bulgaria,
American and Bulgarian BBYO members after shopping in Plovdiv. From left, Andre Litov
15, of Bulgaria; Mike Kandel, 15, of Philadelphia; Oren Robashkin, 18, of Minneapolis;
Zara Teicher, 15, of West Bloomfield; Victor Fachev, 15, of Bulgaria; Arnie Weiner, Michigan
Region BBYO director; Nia Aladjem, 14, and Denni Bronkova, 15, of Bulgaria.