Over the weekend of January 29, 350 Jewish teens from throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island gathered together in Hartford for the annual Kallah Winter Convention of BBYO Connecticut Valley Region. In keeping with the theme of the weekend – “Survivng Adversity” – many of the Kallah sessions focused on topics such as substance abuse, LGBTQ advocacy, domestic violence, homelessness, and antisemitism in the classroom. Teens also learned about first aid in the field from Dr. Michael Guttman of West Hartford, an army veteran and owner of New England Urgent Care; and they were taught the self-defense technique Krav Maga by MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter Britt Sodden.
Most meaningful was the Shabbat morning service during which four BBYO teens celebrated their b’nai mitzvot, along with Nina Jacobs, a survivor of the Holocaust who lives in West Hartford. Following the service, Jacobs and Abby Weiner, both child survivors, spent time talking to a group of teens, in a session facilitated by Alan Berkowitz, president of Voices of Hope.
For more information about BBYO, contact Josh Cohen at JCohen@bbyo.org.
CAP: Holocaust survivor Nina Jacobs celebdrated her bat mitzvah together with (l to r) Rachel Levine (Boxborough, Mass.), Drew Siegal (Needham, Mass.), Madeleine Cohen (Stamford), and Matthew MacGregor (Ridgefield).