Maryland, Israel Share Cyber Security Strengths

“In the cyber domain there are no sirens,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told Israel’s fourth annual international cyber security conference last month, according to the The Jerusalem Post.

Case in point is “Operation Cleaver,” a suspected Iranian hacking cabal that has targeted 16 countries, including the U.S. and Israel for two years. U.S. security firm Cylance, which exposed the operation, published a report that included dire warnings from noted experts, including Gabi Siboni, cyber security director at Israel’s Institute of National Security Studies. Siboni, who recently spoke at a Maryland/Israel Development Center program co-hosted by the Offit Kurman law firm, said, “Iran should be considered a first-tier cyber power.”

Scary stuff.

The rash of cyber-attacks seems never-ending: Sony Pictures, J.P. Morgan, Target and who knows how many others that haven’t been made public. Countries and companies must be ever vigilant. “There is not a person or nation on earth who will not need cyber security,” said Netanyahu.

He speaks from experience. During last summer’s war in Gaza, not only did Hamas try to sneak terrorist squads through tunnels into Israel, they also conducted cyber attacks on Israel’s infrastructure.

Fortunately, “there is an Iron Dome of cyber security that parallels the Iron Dome against the rockets,” Netanyahu said in comparison to Israel’s acclaimed anti-missile system. But are these defenses strong enough? The short answer is a resounding “No.”

Since Israel and the U.S. are in the crosshairs of the world’s cyber attackers, they have been at the forefront of developing cyber defenses. Both countries are pouring resources into cyber development.

In the U.S., much of that work is done in Maryland, by the NSA, the U.S. Cyber Command, the National Cyber Security Center of Excellence in Gaithersburg and a raft of high-tech subcontractors. Just drive through the office parks around BWI International Airport, Fort Meade and up and down the Baltimore-Washington corridor and you’ll see a litany of Fortune 500 high-tech companies from Lockheed Martin to Northrop Grumman, Cisco and hundreds of others, including homegrown SafeNet in Harford County, which acquired Israel’s Aladdin Systems a few years ago for $160 million. UMBC even has a high-tech business incubator specializing in cyber-security companies housing 45 emerging cyber businesses.

To keep the momentum of cooperation going, the MIDC is targeting the cyber security industry for trade missions, delegation exchanges and conferences. In October, we organized a delegation of Israeli companies and representatives to come to the CyberMaryland Conference, including Yoav Tzruya of Jerusalem Venture Partners, the leading cyber security investor in Israel.

In January, we are kicking off our three-part cyber security webinar series for Israeli entrepreneurs on U.S. market entry strategies. This will lead up to our March 16-18 trade mission of Maryland companies to the Israel CyberTech Conference. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet cyber security executives, entrepreneurs and engineers from Israel and dozens of other countries to discuss emerging trends, technologies and business opportunities.

Barry Bogage is executive director of the Maryland/Israel Development Center. For more information, visit marylandisrael.org.

Israel’s Emerging Muslim-majority Ally

Beginning in the early 1990s, Turkey became the one Muslim-majority country that maintained a robust strategic relationship with Israel. The two countries developed strong trade ties. Israel helped update the Turkish air force, and Turkey allowed the Israeli air force to train in its airspace. There were major plans underway to further upgrade strategic ties.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Turkey’s elected prime minister (and now president), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, decided to take the once highly secular country in a very different direction and realigned Turkey’s foreign policy with other interests in the Middle East. Not long into his tenure, Erdo?an became a public critic of Israel, driving a wedge between Turkey and Israel in the wake of the 2010 Gaza flotilla crisis. Relations between the two countries remain strained.

Israel and its supporters have never fully recovered from the loss of the country’s Muslim ally and the potential it had to transform Israel’s broader relationships in the region.

But now, along comes Azerbaijan — the world’s first Muslim-majority democracy, which is fast taking the place of Turkey in becoming a crucial ally of Israel in the Muslim world. It is no surprise that of all Muslim-majority countries, Azerbaijan would fill the void. Like Turkey before Erdogan, Azerbaijan has proudly and sometimes aggressively reinforced its secular society, banning the hijab (veil) in schools.

In a gathering with the Jewish community held in the Washington, D.C., area last month, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States, Elin Suleymanov, recoiled from the criticism his country received from the U.S. and others for its tough line on maintaining its secularism. “We are criticized because our girls are not forced to wear the hijab, and this is the worst problem in the Middle East?” he said.

The U.S. should keep in mind that while suppressing traditional religious practices violates American notions of religious freedom, it’s meant to keep radical religious forces in check and to prevent Azerbaijan from going down the same path as Turkey.

Unfortunately, in that culturally conservative part of the world, Jeffersonian democracy is not yet on the menu, and trying to impose our cultural ideals may make these countries less, not more free. Let us not forget that France, a well-established liberal democracy, has also banned the hijab.

To date, Israel’s relationship with Azerbaijan has taken an almost identical trajectory as its early ties to Turkey. As it had with Ankara, Israel has steadily ratcheted up defense ties with Baku. Last month, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited Azerbaijan, one of a number of such recent defense-oriented visits.

As it had with Turkey, Israel has established a vital economic lifeline to Azerbaijan, which provides the Jewish state with 40 percent of its imported oil.

As with Israeli-Turkish relations, bilateral ties between the two countries signal Azerbaijan’s desire to strengthen its connections to the U.S. and the West. The country has become an invaluable NATO supply line to Afghanistan and has joined NATO war efforts.

Undoubtedly, Israel sees the tremendous potential in its relationship with Azerbaijan, as does Azerbaijan with Israel. American supporters of Israel must do their part to reinforce that relationship in Washington. As was discovered with Turkey, Muslim-majority allies don’t grow on trees.

Best Decision I Ever Made

What is BBYO? I probably hear this question at least two times every day from family, friends and teachers, Jewish and not. Here’s the simple answer: BBYO is a Jewish pluralistic youth movement for ninth- through 12-graders to have meaningful experiences and connect to their Judaism.

However, if you asked me what BBYO is, that’s not what I would say. To me, BBYO is a place where I can meet a new person and become best friends with him or her in a weekend, a place where I can connect with my Judaism in a way that is meaningful to me; BBYO is a place to be myself.

BBYO is where I can make a difference in my community through advocacy, philanthropy and service work. Recently my chapter, Achot BBG #2383, and the rest of the BBYO Baltimore Council participated in a global initiative called Can-Tribute. We have been collecting nonperishable goods to donate to Sarah’s Hope at the Hannah More shelter. So far, my chapter has collected around 80 cans. On Nov. 20, about 250 Jewish teens came together to attend a prescreening of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”in support of the Can-Tribute campaign. Together through BBYO and the prescreening event we collected about 600 pounds of food for donation. It means so much to me that I can be a part of such a small group making a huge difference.

By spending a few dollars, I can help to make a big difference. There is power in one person, but there is more power when people come together to achieve one goal. Kehilah Kedoshah. One community. One goal. Big Difference. It is that simple, and I do this through BBYO. This amazing organization has taught me to be an individual but, more importantly, to be a team player and take every opportunity to help others that I can.

BBYO is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me, and it has already had such a positive influence to my life. After only a year, I have stronger leadership skills, better communication with others and a more profound sense of friendship and sisterhood. Regardless of how religious a teen is, he or she would be able to find a sense of belonging in BBYO, which forces you to break out of your comfort zone and try something new.

I cannot imagine who I would be without BBYO. I have made friends to last my life and have had many wonderful opportunities, such as the chance to celebrate Shabbat in room filled with more than 600 Jews. I am even able to talk with Jewish teens from Argentina, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Israel, among many other countries. I would never have had all of these amazing experiences without BBYO, and I urge every Jewish teen to take advantage of the opportunities BBYO has to offer.

Meeting the Jewish World’s New, Urgent Need

The rise in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activities in academia begs for an effective strategy to address this new challenge. As Jewish teens arrive on college campuses, they are thrust into a vulnerable position: unprepared, uninformed, and unable to cope with hostility, antagonism and even worse against Israel and Jews. Furthermore, the problems in academia are making their way into our high schools.

Birthright Israel is one of the Jewish world’s greatest innovations. It superbly accomplishes what it set out to do. However, when Birthright Israel started in 1999, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities on campus were not the critical issue they have become. Consequently, teaching Jewish teens Israel advocacy skills and complex approaches to Israel before they go to college is a new, urgent need. The extension of the Birthright Israel program, by lowering the age of eligibility to 16, is the best and possibly only solution for battling the growing crisis quickly and effectively.

The effectiveness of the teen Israel experience has been demonstrated by numerous studies. Most recently, Professor Steven M. Cohen and Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz conducted a study of alumni, ages 18 to 39, of the Lappin Foundation’s Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I), a fully subsidized Israel experience for 16- and 17-year-old Jewish teens. Recently released findings of the commissioned study found that 72 percent of the Y2I alumni in the 18-to-39 age group have married fellow Jews, and of those who are parents, 90 percent of them are raising their children Jewish.

Pertinence of the study is that Birthright Israel’s effectiveness will not be diluted by lowering the age of eligibility to 16, and it will indeed provide an opportunity for Birthright Israel to significantly improve by expanding its reach and its role in addressing one of the Jewish world’s growing crises.

A teen Israel experience before college provides the background, and ample time — up to two years, for teens to learn how to advocate for Israel, something that Birthright Israel is not able to do, given that Birthright Israel trips take place after a young adult’s college experience has started. As has been Y2I’s practice for years, local communities can develop programs that will train and equip Jewish teens with skills and techniques necessary to contend with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities and sentiments before, during and after their college years but only if teens have been fortified with an Israel experience. The firsthand experience of having been in Israel, understanding Israel’s role in the world and marveling at Israel’s contributions to every field of human endeavor resonates with teens, making not only Israel advocacy effective, but also Jewish life more readily meaningful.

Key to attracting Jewish teens en masse to an Israel experience is the adoption of the justly admired Birthright Israel model: a free 10-day trip. Birthright Israel is the only viable entity to meet this new challenge. If Birthright Israel agrees to lower its age of eligibility to 16 and the government of Israel helps to fund it as part of its new initiative, the Jewish world will be well on its way to meeting this new, urgent need.

Robert Israel Lappin is president of the Lappin Foundation.

We’re Young, But We Get It

Two weeks ago, thousands of American Jewish leaders from across the country gathered outside Washington, D.C., for the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly to discuss issues pertaining to Israel, Jewish continuity and campus life.

One of the more engaging programs at the GA was a plenary panel featuring journalists I admire: Jeffrey Goldberg, Aluf Benn, Steven Linde and Linda Scherzer. As the conversation drifted from the media’s coverage of the war this summer to support for Israel, Benn pointed out that American liberals, especially young people, still traditionally support Israel but are growing more critical of the occupation.

Scherzer responded with: “Do you think young people just don’t get it?” With its deep condescension toward me and my peers, that moment revealed a major flaw in the American Jewish community’s approach to young people. The JFNA, like the rest of the community, knows that it has a problem engaging with us. It was frequently discussed at the GA. But the nature of those conversations actually epitomized the problems they purported to solve.

The panel “Doing Jewish in College and Beyond: Effective Ways to Engage Young Jews” had not a single student or young person on the panel. In fact, several of the students who asked questions were told that their views were “parochial” and only representative of a tiny, insignificant minority.

The program “Generation #Hashtag” highlighted statistics about the rise of anti-Semitism on campuses, even as the students on the panel itself insisted that they didn’t feel unsafe or insecure as Jews.

The fact is, millennials are not staying away because their local federation’s Facebook page is not attractive enough; they are staying away because when they want to talk about their beliefs and goals, they are often condescended to or ignored. Assuming that by understanding Facebook and Twitter they can understand how millennials think, the organizers of the conference displayed how out of touch they really are with young people. I attended the GA because I feel a personal investment in Israel, Zionism and the American Jewish community. I’m a Pakistani-American Muslim, so I’ll forgive you if you find that confusing.

I grew up sympathetic to Palestinian rights and grievances in the heavily Jewish suburb of Potomac, Md. I decided I wanted a more substantive understanding of the Israeli narrative after some abortive arguments in high school, so when I began college, I started going to Hillel, took classes in the Israel Studies department and joined J Street U. Unexpectedly, I fell in love with Zionism. I spent a semester in Jeru-salem and started learning Hebrew.

I began to organize in support of a solution to the conflict both out of deep concern for Palestinian rights and for Israel’s security as a Jewish democracy. I am in this for the long haul.

So what does Scherzer think I and the rest of my generation don’t get? The fact that Israel is facing serious security threats? That a peace deal, though necessary for Israel’s long-term security, will also contain risks? That Israel will never be completely secure until it has internationally recognized borders and international legitimacy?

We do get it, and we want to do something about it. Our views are not infallible, but the notion that we cannot understand the complexity of the conflict simply because we are young is offensive and wrong.

 

Amna Farooqi is the Southeast representative to the J Street U student board.

Understanding Conversion

With all of the talk about the technicalities of conversion and the alleged abuse of the system, the core of what conversion is and why the process seems so convoluted has been lost. For any intelligent discussion to take place, it is essential that this be clarified.

What is conversion? On the one hand, the idea of hereditary belonging — which runs counter to the concept of choosing one’s religious identity — lies at the very core of Judaism.

As recorded in the Torah, the Jewish people came into existence as the result of two hereditary covenants. “And I will establish my covenant between Me and you, and your children after you for all generations,” G-d tells Abraham in the Book of Genesis. Later on, in the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses, speaking for G-d, says, “Not with you alone do I make this covenant. … It is with you who stand here this day … and with those who are not with us.”

Put simply, if you are born Jewish, you are Jewish, irrespective of what you may do or what you may profess; you are irrevocably Jewish. But detailed analysis of scriptural sources reveals the inclusion of various types of “strangers” in the fabric of ancient Jewish society, one of which is the “ger tzedek,” the righteous stranger who is indeed considered to be a full-fledged Jew.

To become part of the Jewish people, this righteous ancestor must go through the same process that our ancestors went through when the covenant establishing their peoplehood was transacted. By doing so, they join a spiritual legacy that, like hereditary transference, cannot be severed.

Belief systems lie at the very foundation of how people live their lives. Changing this foundation in midlife — as, indeed a convert must do — is like trying to straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It requires planning and preparation as well as delicate execution.

Our sages determined that this process consisted of immersion in a proper ritual bath known as a mikvah, circumcision for male converts and acceptance of the Torah by the same declaration used when it was given at Mount Sinai, na’aseh v’nishma, “we will do and we will learn.” After signaling the unequivocal acceptance of all of the Torah, both the written and oral law, before a valid rabbinical court, the convert is accepted as a full-fledged Jew.

How does the court ensure the absolute sincerity of the candidate?

The clearest way to accomplish this is to initially mildly discourage the candidate and then be deliberate in the process, in order to test a convert’s resolve. Furthermore, the court must insist on the convert adopting and adapting to a proper Torah-observant lifestyle. Anything less simply makes a mockery of the enormity of the transformation that needs to take place and the seriousness of joining a legacy stretching back thousands of years.

The “price” that is charged for entrance into the covenant is exactly the same as the one our forebears paid to enter it. Giving in to the pressure of the moment and expediency is not only dishonest but also a recipe for disaster.

Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan is the regional director of Chabad-Lubavitch in Maryland.

Parenting in the iPhone Age

Parenting has never been for the faint of heart. It takes tremendous mental and physical energy, and there are few, if any, breaks. It seems that in recent times, however, the ante has been upped. With the ever-expanding reach of the Internet, the kinds of trouble our kids can get into has mushroomed as we have seen in news story after news story. How does this change our approach to parenting in the age of the iPhone?

It doesn’t. The rules are the same as they always have been. Here are two principles that every parenting expert agrees on.

Kids need boundaries. This is as true as it has ever been. For instance, at what age should a child be allowed to have a cellphone? How much autonomy should the child have with it? This requires thought and discussion, but unquestionably, children should have boundaries in this area just as in any other. If your daughter’s bedtime is 10 p.m., she should not be texting on her phone until 2 a.m. Not only have the negative effects of such behavior been well documented, the very idea that cellphone use has limits is important.

Eventually, we will need to teach our children about the dangers of cyberspace — cyberbullying, identity theft, pornography. Start with simple iPhone boundaries. When they can use it (not at 2 a.m.), where they can use it (not in a synagogue sanctuary) and how they can use it (respectful communication) are vital early messages.

Kids will do what you do. Modeling behavior has always been the most effective parenting tool. No matter how great your family meetings are, if you talk a good talk but don’t walk the walk, you are doomed to failure. If you want your children not to be using their cellphones into the wee hours of the morning, then you should know when to call it quits too. If you want to make sure they don’t text while driving, then you should not, even “just this once because it’s important.”

The way you handle electronic devices will deeply influence how your kids handle them. Stephen Covey, of “7 Habits” fame, said that television is a good servant but a poor master. Are we the master of our devices or are they the masters of us? When the phone rings, do we drop everything to pick it up? Or do we ignore it and keep on playing with our preschoolers? When we take them to the park, do we sneak a peek at our emails while they’re on the monkey bars? Or do we pass on the opportunity in order to be fully present for our children?

Kids are extremely aware of what we do. If we are glued to our computers, tablets and smartphones, they will be too. If we can’t set boundaries for ourselves, they won’t be able to either.

No doubt emerging technologies will continue to challenge us. But the basics won’t change. Set limits for how your children engage with cyberspace, and show them how to do it right.

Raffi Bilek, a clinical social worker, is the director of the Baltimore Therapy Center.

The Value of Community

Without any plans to become a leader in Howard County’s Jewish community — but after 8 years of living in this vibrant community — I have become president of the prominent Jewish preschool Bet Yeladim, involved in the county’s Jewish federation and a member of the youth committee in the county’s Conservative synagogue Beth Shalom. Quite frankly, my involvement and leadership within these organizations grew naturally from the fertile soil that is the Howard County Jewish community.

Becoming active in the Jewish community starts with realizing you are in a community. I was a transplant to Baltimore from Cherry Hill, N.J., when I moved to Howard County eight years ago with plans of starting a family after receiving my Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. My knowledge of the Jewish community here was minimal, but my husband and I wanted to feel more connected. We joined Beth Shalom, and shortly after having children, I helped to start its young families group.

Networking becomes inexorable, as meeting new friends in one endeavor leads to familiarity of and involvement in others. A friend from Beth Shalom introduced me to Bet Yeladim Preschool. Many parents get involved at Bet Yeladim and volunteer their scarce free time to the school. I was no different, and I jumped at the invitation to join its board three years ago. It would be hard for me to imagine a more dedicated group of parents, teachers and administrators than the ones with whom I have worked at Bet Yeladim.

Knowing that my efforts will benefit both my children and other kids is what motivates me. In Judaism, doing good deeds and giving back to our community is what we are supposed to do. I want my children to embody these very values, and there is no better way for children to learn such values than to watch their parents practice them.

My friends tease me about being involved in “everything.” Sure, time-management skills become fairly important, but the benefits are worth it. I teach at a university, I raise with my husband two wonderful children, I have commenced my second term as president of Bet Yeladim, I am active on Beth Shalom’s youth committee, and I volunteer at federation events. The federation is another wonderful example of our community coming together to celebrate our heritage, put forward and practice our ideals of chesed, tikkun olam and tzedakah.

Volunteering for an activity, serving on a committee, leading an organization on its board and heading a group as its president have all given me a supreme gift: getting to meet, befriend and work with so many fellow community members — neighbors in Howard County. This human connection is so valuable personally, and it allows us to achieve so much. Raising young children and working in a career is exhausting; it may be hard to find extra time to volunteer. However, I would encourage others to make the time whenever possible. You do not need special skills, just a desire to give of yourself and to help make your community a better place.

 

 

Alisha Rovner is president of the Bet Yeladim Preschool in Howard County.

How to Expand Shrinking Jewish Middle

Newly emerging evidence from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Portrait of American Jewry points to enormous challenges facing federations, Jewish philanthropy and organized Jewish life, more generally. Virtually every Jewish institution is contending with a sharply diminishing base of people who give, join or even care.

Though the Orthodox are expanding numerically, the number of non-Orthodox Jews who are actively engaged Jews is shrinking rapidly. As we compare non-Orthodox Jews between ages 50 and 69 with Jews of the next-younger generation (30 to 49), we find about half as many of the younger cohort who donate to any Jewish causes, belong to synagogues or join Jewish organizations. In addition, only half as many of the younger group feel very attached to Israel, agree that being Jewish is very important to them or have mostly Jewish close friends.

Indeed, younger non-Orthodox Jews between ages 30 and 49 are substantially trailing their elders on virtually every measure of Jewish identification.
Two separate processes are driving these declines. First, there simply are far fewer 30- to 49-year-old non-Orthodox Jews than 50- to 69-year-olds (about 1.2 million vs. 1.8 million) because of low birthrates in recent decades. Second, compounding this population decline, high rates of intermarriage — now running at about 80 percent among those raised Reform — have resulted in disengagement from Jewish life on the part of most adult children of intermarried parents. In short, in the younger age cohort (30-49), there are both fewer Jews and, among them, lower rates of participation in Jewish life.

If these patterns are to be reversed, the Jewish middle — Conservative and Reform Jews who are in-married or intermarried but unambiguously attached to Jewish life — must be nurtured and expanded. It may be gratifying that almost all Jews feel proud to be Jewish, as Pew reported, but it does little for the vitality of Jewish communal endeavors if they fail to participate actively in some form of collective Jewish life.

How are we to counter these alarming trends? Research conducted in recent decades demonstrates that effective Jewish engagement endeavors share three critical features:
> They expand Jewish social networks, linking Jews to one another.
> They incorporate Jewish content, so as to demonstrate why rich Jewish engagement is so meaningful.
> They bring together peers at the same life stage to address common challenges.
To address the weak Jewish connections among younger Jews, our ideal communal agenda calls for investing massively in immersive forms of Jewish education for youth. Critical are day schools, summer camps with Jewish content, youth movement activities, Hillels and other campus endeavors, Birthright trips and Masa (longer-term trips to Israel) as well as a variety of programs to involve Jews in their 20s and 30s in ongoing  Jewish living.
The overall goal is to ensure that young people participate in multiple Jewish venues so that synergies can develop among them. For this to happen, parents must be enlisted as partners in socializing their children into Jewish life.

The challenge is to marshal imagination, courage, will and resources to rebuild the endangered Jewish middle at home.

 

Steven M. Cohen is a research professor at the Hebrew Union College-JIR in New York, and Jack Wertheimer is professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Learning to Lead

Little did I know that in Mukwonago, Wisc., 739 miles away from my home, I would learn valuable life lessons and make some of the best friends I have today. This past summer, I was able to attend a Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC), which is one of the many summer programs that BBYO offers.

BBYO is a pluralistic Jewish youth group whose goal is to allow more Jewish teens to have more meaningful Jewish experiences.  BBYO is a global movement that is present in more than 25 countries. In Baltimore, I am able to participate in activities with my chapter, Achot BBG #2383, and in activities with all of the teens in the Baltimore Council. On the larger scale, I am able to go to regional events with teens from Northern Virginia, Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore area. Even larger than that, there are opportunities to participate with BBYO International during the summer and with the International Convention in February.

I feel like I am the luckiest person to have been able to go to CLTC, which provided the most inclusive and welcoming environment I have ever had the privilege to be in. Meeting a new person was as simple as saying, “Hey, my name’s Rebecca. Want to be friends?” This simple act of not being afraid to introduce myself or even ask someone for help is what makes CLTC such a special place. I cannot think of a time during CLTC when I did not feel comfortable being myself, because the people around me were always so welcoming and kind.

The most rewarding part of CLTC was knowing that I gained the knowledge, resources and experiences to make an impact wherever I go. After CLTC — on a BBYO level — I now feel confident in my ability with simpler things such as leading chapter meetings and planning chapter programs and more complex tasks such as fundraising. CLTC also taught me skills that will help me in the real world. I learned new ways to work in groups and now feel very comfortable working with adults, all because of the skills I learned at CLTC.

Now, I have friends from all over the country. Who would have thought that a 15-year-old girl from Baltimore would have friends in 13 states and even some friends in Canada? There is not a day that passes that I do not talk to a CLTC friend. Catching up with them and remembering what an incredible experience we had together always warms my heart. I would recommend BBYO summer programs to anyone. No matter your interest, there is a summer program for you from which to learn and grow.