Helen Risch honored by BBYO at International Convention
Helen Risch was among those honored at opening ceremonies when BBYO held its international convention (IC) in Dallas Feb. 13-17. She was awarded the BBG Alumna of the Year Award.
Risch was recognized for her contribution to BBYO as a member of B’nai B’rith Girls, as IC featured a historic anniversary celebration: The Order of the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) marked the culmination of its 75th birthday.
Risch was introduced to the crowd of more than 3,000 by her grandson Jeremy Minsky, son of Jolene Risch and Jason Minsky. Jeremy is a member of Rubin Kaplan AZA and a Yavneh Academy freshman.
Risch shared her thoughts on what BBG meant to her growing up.
“Growing up in Shamokin, a small town in Pennsylvania, we BBGs met once a month with girls from Mount Carmel. Since there were so few of us, about 10, we would take turns being president. During the year we met with other BBGs and AZAs in towns like Hazelton, Harrisburg, Pottsville and Shenandoah. It was there where we had a few programs about Jewish history and other related subjects. We also had dancing at night. In the summer, we attended Pearlman Camp, which I remember enjoying a lot.”
She also shared how she has seen BBYO change and how it has influenced her Dallas grandchildren.
“… BBYO is a very different organization now,” she said. “I’m so impressed with the thoughtful, smart and necessary programs that will help you navigate today’s world and certainly the Jewish world.
“I have seen how this participation has helped Aaron, Eli and now Jeremy mature and gain leadership skills.”
Speaking to the young people gathered, Risch added:
“The other day I met Aitan and Abraham from Columbia as well as Matty, Joaquin and Natan from Argentina. All very impressive individuals who are definitely going to be future leaders.
“I want to thank Matt Grossman, who leads this organization, providing intelligent and necessary guidance. I also want to thank Jayme David, who oversees our region with kindness and provides good leadership.
“Seeing all that is happening here with the remarkable programs gives me a strong sense that these students will be wonderful leaders and help our Jewish world thrive.
“Thank you for all you students do to make this a better world.”
Teens from around the world enjoy Big D
Before the convention started, about 300 teens from around the world for Global Ambassadors Week. Ninety-eight families opened their homes to the teens for home hospitality, providing them breakfast and dinner every day, dropping them off in the morning and picking them up in the evening after a full day of leadership activities.
Many families shared Shabbats together and other activities. The Bernstein and Ray families shared Shabbat together, getting three teens from Mexico and four from Poland together for Shabbat dinner Friday night and basketball at the park Saturday. The teens from Poland got a taste of a high school baseball game when they watched their host brother, who attends JJ Pearce, play. The boys from Poland also enjoyed a shopping trip to Northpark Mall and Target and eating out at Torchys, Chuy’s and other restaurants.
In addition to their leadership activities at the JCC, the international teens experienced an afternoon at Group Dynamix; a Dallas Global Launch Party and Havdalah Celebration at Brookhaven Country Club; sightseeing at either the Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Perot Museum of Nature and Science or the Sixth Floor Museum; a Dallas Mavericks Basketball game; and a day of community service opportunities.