BBYO (formerly B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, now BBYO INC.) is a Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve Jewish teens in Jewish experiences. In 2002 the movement split from
BBYO is organized into local fraternity- and sorority-like chapters. Male chapters are known as
AZA's original advisor, Nathan Mnookin, soon left Omaha for his hometown of
By 1925, AZA had expanded east with dozens of chapters across the country. At Beber's urging,
In 1944, after a few past failed attempts to begin a Jewish youth group for young women, B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG) became officially recognized and adopted by
Although the organization has changed greatly behind-the-scenes over the years, its original tenets still remain true: dedication to Jewish life, a pluralistic approach, commitment to community service and social action, and a youth leadership model. BBYO continues to be open to all teenagers that identify themselves as Jews, without exception. Members participate in meeting rituals and sing pep songs that date back to the organization's earliest days. The organization continues to maintain and contribute to its International Service Fund, initiated at the very first international convention. Although the number of professional staff has risen dramatically, BBYO continues to maintain democratic youth leadership at every level.
Just as the organization changed greatly in its first few years, starting as a local youth group to being adopted as the official youth auxiliary of the world's largest Jewish organization, it likewise has undergone drastic changes in recent years. After more than 75 years of a general prosperity, B'nai B'rith began a massive restructuring at the turn of the 21st century in response to the changing face of North American Jewry. As a result, what was then the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization split from B'nai B'rith in 2002 and was re-formed as BBYO, Inc., an independent non-profit organization. The new organization received substantial funding from the
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and was chaired by
Traditionally, BBYO was a conglomeration of many largely independent regions. This was the result of the modification of B'nai B'rith's long-standing "district" model. As new forms of communication have brought the members and staff of BBYO in closer contact, and as the differences between geographic regions continue to deteriorate, BBYO has become much more of a top-down organization, with standardized marketing materials and directives. BBYO has reached into the online market with its b-linked.org website, into the middle school market with its BBYO Connect programs, and into the adult market with its Friends & Alumni Network.