By Jennifer Kruzansky
Close to 200 Jewish teens from throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts came together for BBYO Connecticut Valley Region Winter Kallah convention in January.
Throughout the convention, held at the Danbury Crowne Plaza, teens explored their Judaism and their relationship to Israel by participating in different programming tracks that focused on art, cooking, athletics, and politics. The teens cooked traditional Jewish foods with Jeffrey Yoskowitz; created a communal mural with an Israeli artist; learned Krav Maga; made hummus with a local chef; and had fun Israeli dancing. They also gave back to the community — making dog toys out of gently used clothing that were donated to ROAR – Ridgefield Operation Animal Rescue.
The teens also heard from speakers, including National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inductee Adam Greenberg, LGBTQ activist Hannah Simpson, and comedian and mental health advocate Pamela Schuller. On Saturday morning, BBYO song leaders Happie Hoffman, Eric Hunker, and Axel Mansoor set the stage for a meaningful service which paid tribute to the 26 children and teachers killed in Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, and honored Stamford BBYO teen Evan Hyman, who passed away in 2016.
The weekend ended on Saturday evening with a “Night in Tel Aviv”-themed Havdallah service, complete with falafel, schwarma, pita, and other traditional Middle Eastern food.
For more information on BBYO, contact Regional Director Jennifer Kruzansky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main Photo: Connecticut Valley Region BBYO teens had fun at the Winter Kallah.