For the second year in a row, the Beth Israel chapter of United Synagogue Youth was awarded Chapter of the Year for the Seaboard Region.
“The first time it was insane. We worked so hard for it, and it felt really great to win it,” said Josh Rosenbaum, Beth Israel USY’s president. “The second time we won it, we didn’t really see it coming. We had a good year, and we were all really proud of what we did, but we weren’t expecting it as much, and it was crazy. I don’t even know how to put it into words.”
The teen group found out late last month at the Seaboard Region USY’s annual spring convention. The region includes chapters from all over Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and parts of North Carolina. In all, the Owings Mills group faced 31 other chapters vying for the title.
The award is given to the chapter with the most impressive combination of funds raised, unique events and programs held and interest generated.
“We managed to fit a lot of stuff in in one year to stand out as a chapter,” said Rosenbaum, who counted the organization’s mystery bus-ride adventure, where members pack onto a bus and are not told what the day’s fun activities will include until they arrive at their destination, and the annual Claire Sodden Memorial Weekend Shabbaton, a day-long Shabbat event in memory of a Beth Israel teen, among the chapter’s best programs.
Rosenbaum, who graduated from Franklin High School earlier this week, said he hopes the awards help to grow the Beth Israel chapter.
“It’s worth all the time and all the effort,” he said. “The friendships that come out of it — I would recommend it to everyone I can.”