Ann Arbor youth group is restarted to provide opportunities for Jewish teens.
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was excited to see the enthusiasm and support the project was
gaining. "I just want to see this thing take off," he said.
nn Arbor resident Barry Margolis remembers being
involved in the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization dur-
ing his high school years.
News of the chapter spread by word of mouth, and 14 stu-
dents registered in May, including the Margolis' daughter,
Erin, 14, who will be a freshman at Pioneer this year.
The members selected Echad BBYO as the chapter's name.
They have nominated officers, and now they are looking for-
He met people who are still his friends and he developed
ward to programming for the fall, which starts with a kickoff
leadership skills he said have helped him succeed in his busi-
barbecue for prospective members Sept. 7.
ness and in the community.
David Zimet, 15, said he had good experiences with Teen
Margolis fondly recalls the variety of opportunities available
Connection, a Michigan BBYO and Jewish Community
to him as a BBYO member — from attending conventions to
Center program that organizes events for Jewish seventh- and
leadership training to meeting other Jewish youth — opportu-
eighth-graders, so he decided he would try out BBYO.
nities he wants for his own three children.
"We're having fun starting out and I think we're going to do
So now he's reactivating an Ann Arbor BBYO chapter to
great," he said.
provide those opportunities. When the local BBYO group
Although several other Jewish youth groups are available to
folded because of low participation last year, his son, Benny,
students from the area, he likes that BBYO welcomes Jewish
16 and a senior at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, joined
students regardless of affiliation.
Hank Greenberg AZA #151, which draws the majority of its
"I think it's a great idea that it involves all members of
membership from the West Bloomfield-Farmington Hills area.
Judaism, not just Reform or Conservative or
AZA (Aleph Zadik Aleph), the boys' component of
whatever, and that was a plus for me," he
BBYO, is complemented by the girls' element,
BBG (B'nai B'rith Girls).
Zimet added that he looks forward
"I thought I'd see if there was some-
to the chapter's growth and success
thing we could do," said Margolis,
and to the overall experience.
who wants his ninth-grade daughter
"It's about meeting new Jewish
to have the chance to have the
friends and doing social activi-
BBYO experience as well. Benny
ties and helping in the com-
will remain with the Greenberg
munity and just basically hav-
ing fun with other Jewish
Margolis and his wife, Elaine,
teens," he said.
began calling family friends to
Amy Zimmerman, advisor
discuss what a new chapter
Echad BBYO #5093, said
could offer their teens.
she believes in the impact
Informational meetings for par-
BBYO can have on partici-
ents and students began in
pants' lives. Having participated
in BBYO for four years prior to
It takes 12 students to start a
taking on a role as an adviser, she
chapter, and established chapters are
said she recognizes the value of the
expected to hold programs at least
and how rewarding it
once a month, meeting regularly and
The Margolis family, seated: Elaine, Dana
can be for individuals and youth.
attending regional events, said Michigan and Barry; standing: Erin and Benny.
"I hope that this group will be able
BBYO Associate Director Tara
to touch more youths' lives in Ann
Arbor," she said. "It's very well known and very popu-
Kaufman said successful chapters are, in large part,
lar in the Detroit area, but I fed like in Ann Arbor there's a lot
made up of strong leadership and dedicated members interest-
ed in being involved as well as working to inspire others. As far of youth who have yet to experience all the opportunities that
BBYO has to offer, and I've seen how it can change someone's
as the new group is concerned, Kaufman said it looks promis-
life — how it has changed my own life," she said.
"This chapter being located in Ann Arbor is a wonderful
"We're really excited; they're just a really good group of lead-
way for youth to meet other Jewish youth from the area as
ership kids," she said.
well as the Detroit area. It allows you to have lifetime friends
Margolis, who worked with Michigan BBYO regional direc-
across the state and across the nation," she said. I I
tors to plan and organize the chapter's development, said he
Interested in joining BBYO or attending the kickoff
picnic? Call Barry Margolis at (734) 482-0676.