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9.20.13 Issue

by Rachel Martin

“With the right programs and the right help, we can really grow BBYO in Omaha,” said Rachel Saag, Omaha’s BBYO Council President.

Saag learned this, among other valuable lessons, at AZA and BBG’s International August Executives Conference. She has been the Omaha Council President since May  and will serve a one-year term.

At the conference in Waynesboro, PA., Saag represented Omaha as part of the Mid America Region. The region includes Omaha, St. Louis and Kansas City. Nearly every North American council and regional president was in attendance at the conference.

“The N’siah and Godol from Kansas City won the spirit award, which was a big thing for our region,” Saag said. “It was really fun when they won and they dressed up as Dorothy and the Scarecrow to represent Kansas.”

There, the BBYO leaders came together to “review legislation, set BBYO’s priorities, and drum up passion and excitement to motivate their regions for the upcoming year,” according to the conference report on

“All of the presidents from every region got together and learned to set goals for the year,” Saag said. “We learned about goal setting for our regions and BBYO in general.”

The execs participated in many educational activities, listened to seminars on membership and recruitment, and worked on incorporating all six folds of BBYO into programs.

“I think we need to have a really good balance of fun programs and meaningful programs,” Saag said. “Most of ours are just for fun or to make money. Other programs incorporate all six folds and we’re missing that aspect.”

One morning, the execs took part in a workshop series specifically focused on Jewish holidays throughout the program year that AZA and BBG will recognize as movement moments. They looked at Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Pesach, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, and built potential program templates.

Several goals for this year were established at the conference. Some of those include tracking 100,000 hours of community service and creating 200 new chapter service campaigns through the BBYO Stand UP website.

“Even though Omaha is a small council,” Saag said. “We still have the resources available to us to be nationally involved.”

Saag could be considered one of these resources, according to Leora Azriel, BBYO and Teen Director.

“Rachel is a fantastic leader — always energetic and passionate to promote Jewish social and educational programs within her chapter, council and region,” Azriel said. “I am so proud of her for being a positive role model to younger BBYO members, and I look forward to seeing what amazing things she accomplishes this year.”

For more information about BBYO, contact Leora Azriel at