Brookline BBYO engages teens with Jewish roots



BBYO is a community that offers Jewish teenagers, who are otherwise filled with anxiety caused by work and school, an exciting escape through religious exploration.

אֵנֶרְגִיָה, the Hebrew word for energy, emanated from members of Brookline B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) as they entered founder and senior Dina Naimark-Goldberg’s house, full of anticipation for their next activity.

BBYO is a community that offers Jewish teenagers, who are otherwise filled with anxiety caused by work and school, an exciting escape through religious exploration.

The organization is a local chapter of the international BBYO community. Founded by Naimark-Goldberg in 2021, it is a unique community that has attracted Jewish teens from all around Brookline. According to Naimark-Goldberg, Brookline BBYO strives to create an environment where Jewish teens can participate in events to meet new people and form a deeper connection with their Jewish identities.

Naimark-Goldberg, who has always felt a connection to her Jewish roots and wanted a leadership opportunity in the community, was motivated to found the Brookline BBYO chapter by an international experience hosted by the organization, she said.

“I went on a trip to Israel hosted by BBYO with my sleepaway camp and it was a really fulfilling experience. I knew I wanted to have some type of leadership position in the organization and this was the perfect opportunity,” Naimark-Goldberg said.

Founding a BBYO chapter can have its challenges, though Naimark-Goldberg has found the overall experience to be positive and the accomplishments of the chapter rewarding.

“Since I’m a leader in this organization, a challenge is just getting people to listen. Recruitment is also a little bit hard because people are often hesitant to join at first because they have doubts about how religious they are. But once people join, they usually have a good time,” Naimark-Goldberg said.

Brookline BBYO member and junior Rena Branover said that events foster an enjoyable and successful community.

“Brookline chapter events are on the smaller side since it’s a new chapter only established last year. It’s around 15 to 20 kids so chapter events are definitely fun,” Branover said. “I last went to one in September and I met a couple of new kids that were all really nice. Everybody’s really welcoming, especially the board members.”

BBYO chapter events are not restricted to Brookline. Different chapters such as Brookline and Newton have events together, and there are even some larger regional events where teenagers come from all different states to meet each other and participate in activities, Branover said.

“Regional events are on the bigger side. You have people coming from all over the Northeast. They’re more of a party vibe, whereas chapter events are more of a small gathering where you meet new people,” Branover said.

Naimark-Goldberg said activities organized by board members focus on connecting members through fun events. They can range from smaller get-togethers at board members’ houses to bringing in guests like Canadian social media influencer Josh Richards.

“Our first event was an ice skating event. We also have different holiday events. We have a Purim baking party, pumpkin painting for the fall and different community service events. We also had movie nights and picnics,” Naimark-Goldberg said.

Another goal of Brookline’s BBYO chapter is fostering smaller communities within the group, Naimark-Goldberg said. BBYO has an emphasis on brotherhood and sisterhood. Specifically, sisterhood within BBYO gives girls the opportunity to participate in events tailored to them, including tote bag painting and a karaoke party, she said.

BBYO hosts summer sleepaway trips to Israel, member and junior Mira Shrayer said. She said her trip this summer allowed her to explore the local culture.

“My trip to Israel through BBYO was amazing. We traveled around the country, went on a lot of hikes and had good Israeli food. It was a really good experience,” Shrayer said.

Brookline’s BBYO chapter is young and always open and welcoming to new members, Naimark-Goldberg said.

“If you have any Jewish friends or if you yourself want to join, we’d love to have you,” Naimark-Goldberg said.