HappeningsGreater Los Angeles Region ended their membership drive contest with a unique Spirit Night. The contest between the AZA and BBG, as to who would get the most new members by a certain date, was wone by the AZA (only by a little). Each chapter presented its song and cheer, and the winning AZAers downed their prize of ice cream.
Programs that WorkConvalescent Home Service
First Place: AZA Regional: GREATER LOS ANGELES REGION (District 4)
Members of Greater Los Angeles Region became involved in putting on programs for the aged at a convalescent home. Dave Sedwick of Yaacov Springer Memorial AZA reports on his experience at the home.
"We had a workshop during which we wrote our own service to present at the home and learned a bunch of songs to sing there. Our first visit was truly shocking. Nothing we had ever seen before had prepared us for the sight of a room full of wheelchairs, each containing a chronically physically crippled man or woman. I was saddened, almost sickened, and touched with pity. An instance later they noticed us, and looked up with smiles on their faces and light in their eyes. My sadness and pity disappeared, and was replaced by respect for them and for their very existence, and joy that I could brighten their existence. Talking and singing and praying with these men and women touched and exhilirated me like nothing I have ever experienced before or since. I shall never forget that day. My fellow Alephs and BBGs were feeling almost the same things that I was--I almost never seen such intensity in emotion as I had seen that day."
Every Chapter in GLA attended at least one function at the convalescent home. The Regional participation was culminated by a Passover Service conducted by the entire Region.
BBYO High Holy Days--A Los Angeles Tradition
This year some fifty BBGs and Alephs from San Fernando Valley, Southwestern and Greater Los Angeles Regions have run High Holy Day services for several hundred members of AZA and BBG.
This tradition began twenty-nine years ago when few teenagers were able to attend High Holy Day services at their own synagogues.
Assisted by Perry Netter, a former GLA Regional Godol who is now a rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, the leaders of the services learned a great deal about the history and practices of the Holy Days in preparing the services.
Youth attend the services free. Funding is arranged by adult B'nai B'rith and B'nai B'rith Women. Flowers, kipot. prayer books, sound equipment, printing, and other materials and services are donated by adult supporters.
Over the years the format of the services has varied, including traditional as well as many varieties of creative services.
For over 20 years, the Greater Los Angeles BBYO Regional office has been housed in the Youth House. In December, they moved to their new location in Culver City. A special Youth House Closing Party for the Region was sponsored by the AZA Regional Board. The Chapter presented skits and songs and participated in a "Regional Good and Welfare" where feelings were shared about the years ahead for G.L.A. Cake and refreshments were provided by the AZA Regional Board.
The ISF $100 Club
Sabra #1337, $153.24
J.F. Kennedy #456, $191.00
The Greater Los Angeles Region, BBYO held their Leadership Training Institute recently. It was attended by newly elected Chapter officers, as well as new members of AZA and BBG who wanted to learn more about the organization. The institute which began on a Friday night, consisted of Shabbat Services, leadership workshops and new member training sessions. The program culminated with a new member induction and a Regional Dance on Saturday evening.
Programs that WorkBranches of Judaism
First Place BBG Regional: Greater Los Angeles Region (District 4)
In order to learm more about their region's origin, the girls in Sabra BBG asked three Rabbis to come to speak to them abd to the entire region. They asked a Conservative, a Reform, and an Orthodox rabbi on three consecutive weeks.
They had their program on a Friday night at the Youth House. There was no admission fee and everyone was invited. Before each speaker, they held a Friday night service that was attuned to the branch of Judaism that they would be hearing about on that particular night.
The first service held was mostly in Hebrew and the AZAs and BBGs found it difficult to relate to and the majority found it boring (These are statistics that were taken off evaluation sheets that everyone filled out after the event). Then the Conservative Rabbi discussed how he became conservative and why he felt it was the best way. He spoke about retaining the traditions but not making them too strict.
The second service was Reform. The girls played guitar and performed an Israeli dance. Most of the service was in English. This service had the most participation.
The girls made the service very creative so the BBYOer's felt that what they were saying related specifically to them. The speaker made the point that Reform Judaism is now a "cop-out" and that it preserves the religion by making it more meaningful and enjoyable.
The third service was the most interesting to the kids. The girls put up a screen and the girls sat in back while the guys sat in front and they tried to hold a truly Orthodox service. It was very hard since the girls couldn't lead the service and the Rabbi had a difficult time leading a service when no one knew what he was talking about. But he explained what he was doing the entire time and why he was doing it, and the entire service proved to be a great learning experience.
In March, members of the Greater Los Angeles BBG celebrated their Golden Anniversary with a brunch and entertainment at Rancho Park in Los Angeles. Representatives from each BBG Chapter, as well as representatives from AZA, BBYO Advisory Board, and parents enjoyed the festivities that culminated with the release of fifty balloons celebrating the fifty years of the National B'nai B'rith Girls. A proclamation from Mayor Tom Bradley was also presented.
The theme of the Fifth Annual District #4 Convention-Institute will be "Like a Hurricane..." The emphasis and impact of program dealing with Jewish concerns and all folds will be stressed. Convention Co-Chairs, Mike Passer of Central Region and Jill Goldfarb of Mountain Region report a record expected registration.
DCI will again be held on the Campus of the University of the Pacific in Stocton, California. From June 21-June 26th, over 200 participants will deal with intensive leadership training issues designed for newly-elected leadership from the six Regions of the District. The sessions will be led by Regional Directors and Co-led by other experts from throughout the District. The Leadership Institute Groups will focus on Jewish values and considerations for leaders in a Jewish organization.
Each Region has accepted assignments for various responsibilities for throughout the DCI. Greater Los Angeles Region will administer the "ISF-O-Grams" project and coordinate the Dance which takes place between the end of the Institute and the beginning of the Convention; Northern Region will be responsible for the Newspaper which publishes three Issues during DCI; Central Region will create the Havdallah Service and Shabbat Morning Services; Mountain Region will be responsible for the Shabbat Dinner and Service; San Fernando Valley Region will produce the culminating Banquet; and Southwestern Region will conduct Morning Minyans.
District Godol, Mike Silverman and District N'siah Robanne Silver (assisted by International N'siah, Jois Brownstein) will conduct Business Sessions during the Convention half of DCI. Major District Offices will be hotly contended for. Among issues expected to be debated are:
1. The age limits for BBG membership.
Most importantly, District AZA and BBG will focus on efforts to increase the retention of members and expand into areas capable of producing more AZA, BBG, and BBYO Chapters.
Each Region is now busily at work selecting its 15 AZA and 15 BBG participants. Regional Contest Winners are anxiously looking forward to District Finals in the Speech Contests and the Announcement of District Winners in other National Contests. Of special interest will be the awarding of this year's winner of the coveted Elizabeth B. Polim Achievement Award, named in honor of retired District Secretary, Ms. Elizabeth Polim and presented to the Regional AZA or BBG Association which has made the greatest improvement during the past Program Year.
Alephs will also be contending for the Suzy Goff Fraternity Song Contest Award named in honor of the present District OFfice Secretary.
Throughout all the planning for this year's DCI, there has been a conscious effort to implement the tone of last year's DCI which focused on the importance of Fraternity and Sisterhood to the BBYO Program.
The ISF $100 Club
Ashrey #1969, $100.75
A BBYO "Star Studded" Dinner-Dance
Honoree Henry Winkler (middle) with District Four BBYO Director, Howard Amersterdam, International N'siah, Jois Brownstein, District N'siah, Robanne Silver and District Godol Mike Silverman.
Honoring TV star Henry Winkler (the "Fonz") and B'nai B'rith International President Jack Spitzer, Southern California BBYO's first annual dinner-dance held last May at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles turned out to be "a huge success," according to Dinner Committee Chairman Roy Lillenfeld. Funds raised by the dinner will help BBYO maintain its excellent programming and leadership opportunities in Southwestern, Greater Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley Regions, stated the Chairman of the District #4 BBYO Board, Sol Siegel.
Highlight of the evening was the presentation of BBYO's "Champion of Youth" Award to Mr. Winkler by District Godol Mike Silverman and District N'siah Robanne Silver. In his acceptance, Mr. Winkler indicated that he was particularly privileged to be honored by this Award because we can no longer just give lip service to the fact that young people are the future." Mr. Winkler, a recipient of many Awards in the entertainment industry and known the world over for his concern for youth, added that "self-respect is cool" and applauded the volunteers, staff and youth leadership of BBYO for providing identity and meaning in the lives of thousands of young men and women.
During dinner, Mr. Ed Milkis, Chairman of the Program and Co-Producer of the "Happy Days" television series, presented Mr. Winkler and his wife, Stacey, with a Kiddush cup in honor of their first wedding anniversary. Assemblyman Hirschel Rosenthal presented the honoree with resolutions from the California State Legislature and May Tom Bradley.
The evening's program featured the first presentation of the Julius Bisno BBYO Alumni Award, named in honot of AZA's first National Executive. Mr. Bisno personally presented the award to Mrs. Jennie Spitzer, mother of the first honoree Jack Spitzer, President of B'nai B'rith International. BBG N'siah Jois Brownstein spoke on what BBYO has meant to her and to other young Jewish men and women.
The evening's entertainment included the cast of the "Happy Days" television show. Tom Bosley acted as Master of Ceremonies for Anson Williams, Scott Baio, Ron Howard, Marian Ross, Danny Most, and Al Molinaro. Special guest was TV Star Robin Williams.
The ISF $100 Club
Tel Aviva #1486, $119.00
Messiah #2028, $150.00
Greater Los Angeles BBYO conductes a "Social Action Marathon" from noon until midnight on Saturday August 18. Speakers were invited to share information with the group on such topics as teen alcoholism, Arab propaganda and the PLO. A special feature was the input of an Iranian Jewish teenager who has recently immigrated to the United States.
The "Cycles of Jewish Life" program of Greater Los Angeles Region BBG was designed to explore and enhance participants' sense of Jewishness. Creative presentations by BBG examined the ceremonies and rituals associated with Bat Mitzvah, death, marriage and Shabbat. To close the day-long program at Rancho Park, members of AZA were invited to join in a mock wedding ceremony.
Dimonah BBG #1501 was included in the Miriam Albert BBG Chapter Honor Roll.
GLA BBG took 2nd place in the BBG Per Capita International Service Fund contributions with ($9.56 per capita).
GLA AZA took 2nd place in the AZA Per Capita International Service Fund contributions with ($10.47 per capita).