On December 2nd and 3rd, BBYO chapters from the United States to the Balkans to Argentina and everywhere in between participated in Global Shabbat 2016, hosting simultaneous Friday night, Saturday morning and Havdalah services along with Shabbat friendly programs, showcasing our commitment to amplifying our voice as a community that is fortunate and grateful to celebrate the joy of Shabbat together as one united movement. This year, AZA and BBG celebrated Global Shabbat under the shared theme of “Be[ing] a Gamechanger,” for which BBYO teen leaders invited other #gamechangers – including community leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs and/or Holocaust survivors – to enjoy Shabbat with them, their peers and the greater community.



This year, BBYO teen leaders fully embraced the Global Shabbat thematic call to ‘be a gamechanger,’ building inspiring local programs featuring influential guests from all realms of the community - including entrepreneurs, politicians, Holocaust survivors, corporate executives, media personalities, and more

Want to see highlights from Global Shabbat 2016? View our Facebook album here!

Have additional photos from your Global Shabbat events you want to share? Send your images to info@bbyo.org.

See our full list of participating communities and 'gamechanger' guests below, or access a copy here.
Participating Community Gamechanger Guest(s)
Acton, MA
Albuquerque, NM Dave Simon - Executive Director of the JCC of the Greater Albuquerque Area
Allentown, PA
Asheville, NC Norm Bossert - Jewish former senate candidate
Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD Laura Caldwell - President and CEO of Make-a-Wish Mid-Atlantic
Belgrade, Serbia
Birmingham, AL
Boca Raton, FL
Bucks County, PA Cathleen Malloy - Expert on Alzheimers and Dementia
Rabbi Howard Cove - Creator of the traveling synagogue
Budapest, Hungary Lili Lantos - Teen TEDx Presenter 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buffalo Grove, IL Matvey and Sura Vaysman - Holocaust Survivors
Calgary, Alberta Kelsey Cnudde - Graduate Student of Psychology research and design lab of Mount Royal University
Charlotte, NC Larry King - TV/radio host and former CNN commentator
Harry Swimmer - Founder-Mitey Riders and CNN Hero 2016 Finalist 
Cherry Hill, NJ
Chicago, IL Matus Stolov - Holocaust Survivor
Cincinnati, OH Stephanie Marks - Holocaust Survivor and speaker/presenter for The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education
Cleveland, OH Ivy Zelman - CEO of Zelman & Associates
Colorado Springs, CO
Columbus, OH Rabbi Alex Braver
Rabbi Michael Emerson
Rabbi Ben Berger - Wexner Foundation
William Rabinowitz - OSU Dispatch Writer
Copenhagen, Denmark
Coral Springs, FL
Dallas, TX Adlene Harrison - first female Mayor of Dallas
Max Glauben - Holocaust Survivor
Danbury, CT Glenn Greenberg - Senior Editor at Time Inc. and former writer for Marvel Entertainment
Steve Eisenbach-Budner - founder and Executive Director of Tivnu: Building Justice
Denver, CO
Detroit, MI
East Brunswick, NJ Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer
Elkins Park, PA Gary Sender - Local entrepreneur who started his own business
Fairfax, VA Georgia Katinas  - Make-A-Wish Community Partnerships Manager
Foster City, CA Ravit Baer - Deputy Consul General for the Israel Consulate of San Francisco
Jeff Rosen – District Attorney of Santa Clara County
Harrisburg, PA Harold Swidler - Holocaust survivor
Helsinki, Finland
Homewood, IL
Houston, TX Rebekah Bargraser - Founder of Houston Branch of Save a Childs Heart
Abbie Kamin - Founder of The Emma Project
Indianapolis, IN Naomi Pescovitz - Emmy Award Winning News Anchor/Reporter
Izmir, Turkey
Kansas City, KS Joel Alperson - President of Omaha Fixture International and former United Jewish Communities National Interfaith Campaign Chairman
Ira Dounn - BBYO Director of Jewish Enrichment
Nicole Emanuel - Jewish Contemporary Artist and founder of the InterUrban ArtHouse
Barry Kaseff - President & Co-Owner of Metro Title Services and founder of the Mitzvah House Project
Howard Jacobson - former President of  the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and the Jewish Community Center
Jay Lewis - Executive Director of KU Hillel
Kharkov, Ukraine
Kiev, Ukraine
Kishinev, Moldova
Lafayette Hill, PA Dr. Mitch Edelson - Surgeon of Gynecological Oncology
Las Vegas, NV Lt. Harry Fagel - Officer for the Metropolitan Police Dept. & Poet
Livingston, NJ Lynn Sternstein
Long Island, NY Ken Nwadike - founder of the Free Hugs Project
Trudy Album - Holocaust Survivor 
Los Angeles, CA Bob Geminder and Gabriella Karin - Holocaust Survivors
Representatives from a local organization helping victims of terror in Israel through tattoo art
Louisville, KY Teddy Abrams - Music Director, Louisville Orchestra
Main Line, PA Sam Klausner - fought in Israeli War of Independence
Medford, NJ
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL David Mermelstein - Holocaust Survivor
Milwaukee, WI
Montevideo, Uruguay
Nashville, TN Adi Ben Dor - Community Sh'licha
New Haven, CT Mara Ginsberg - BBYO parent who runs the Jewish Family Services Food Pantry and Nutritional Health Center
Nazorine Paglia, a teacher at New Haven’s Educational Center for the Arts
New Orleans, LA
Newton, MA Jackie and Jill - co-owners of The Paint Bar
Northbrook, IL Alla Shikelman and Rita & Zachar Kogan - Holocaust Survivors
Novi Sad, Serbia
Odessa, Ukraine
Omaha, NE
Orlando, FL Sari Misek - UCF student, philanthropy leader, and BBG alum
Phoenix, AZ Mitch Cohen - Child Life Specialist at Arizona Children's Center
Pittsburgh, PA Suzanne Alexander - Cofounder of LiveLikeLou
Portland, OR
Providence, RI
Richmond, VA Kevin Fine - local Jewish activist and BBYO alum
Richmond Hill, Ontario Captain Mort Lightstone - Royal Canadian Air Force
Riga, Latvia
Salt Lake City, UT
Savannah, GA
Scotch Plains, NJ Several former GJHRR BBYO Council Presidents
Seattle, WA
Short Hills, NJ Trudy Album - Holocaust Survivor
Skokie, IL Agnes Schwartz - Holocaust Survivor
Skopjev, Macedonia
Sofia, Bulgaria
Southbury, CT
St. Louis, MO
Stamford, CT
Tallinn, Estonia
Thornhill, Ontario Ayellet Shalit - UJA’s Israel Engagement Shinshinim
Reut Shilton - regional shinshinim and local women's shelter volunteer
Ed Prutschi - criminal lawyer and is also a practicing Orthodox Jew
Toronto, Ontario Scott Cowan - criminal lawyer who has spent time in Nunavut representing Inuit defendants
Danielle Rebuck-Gluck - an original founding member of the local BBYO chapter
Tucson, AZ
Vaughan, Ontario Representative from Developing and Nurturing Independence (DANI) organization
Vienna, Austria
Virginia Beach, VA Jordie DiFernando - founder of Compassion Cards 
Washington, DC Estee Portnoy - Michael Jordan's business manager and former BBYO BOD Chair
Jill Sorcher - National Institute of Health researcher
Seth Knobel - local grassroots org/crisis center representative
West Hartford, CT
Weston, FL
Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilmington, DE Matt Meyer - Delaware County Executive & AZA Alum
Stefi Nikolova - BBYO Bulgaria teen
Wilmington, NC Debbie Smith 
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Zagreb, Croatia
Zaporozhye, Ukraine



Invite an inspiring local gamechanger to your Shabbat event. Use these engagement tips and invitation template to invite and host a special gamechanger guest at your event.

Not sure where to look to find a gamechanger in your community? Remember that gamechangers are broadly defined as people who are making (or have made) a difference in or an impact on the lives of others. They can be famous like Steve Jobs and Sheryl Sandberg, or can be everyday all-stars like teens, parents, and/or other individuals working to improve the lives of others through civic engagement, social justice, local community betterment, environmental issues, world Jewry, etc. Be creative in your search for an influencer in your area, targeting leaders including Local Elected Officials, Law Enforcement Officers, Scientists, Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Holocaust Survivors, Rabbis, Professors,  Activists, Philanthropists, and/or more.

Remember that gamechangers come in all shapes and sizes, work across industries, and are simply united by their ability to inspire and move others while making an impact on the world around them. Bringing this theme into  Shabbat provides an exciting opportunity for you to engage key leaders in your community – whoever they may be. A few examples from this summer’s Perlman line-up of entrepreneurs, reporters, musicians, and philanthropists, include:

Looking for more inspiration for who to consider as a local gamechanger to invite as the honored guest(s) at your  Shabbat program? Review the list of speakers and presenters from the IC 2016 program guide to help get those creative juices flowing (see pages 8-10)!

Determine how you will engage your gamechanger guest, and select whichever component(s) of the Shabbat experience (whether Friday night dinner/services, Saturday morning services/brunch, Havdalah, etc.) will allow you to host the most impactful Shabbat program for everyone. Check out some tips and tricks for developing a meaningful Shabbat program; review the top 10 ways to host a perfect Shabbat experience here!

Check out the other resources featured on this page for additional guidance as you build your Shabbat program. Specifically:



Engaging Holocaust Survivors from your community in Shabbat programming can be a great way to elevate gamechangers into your Shabbat experience. For example, in July 2016, nine Holocaust survivors joined BBYO teens at International Kallah in Starlight, PA, to share their stories over Shabbat with the next generation of Jewish leaders. Teens from Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Israel, Russia, Turkey, the United States and Ukraine came together to celebrate legacies and traditions for a truly game-changing Shabbat experience – which included an induction ceremony for all participating Survivors, who were officially welcomed as members of AZA and BBG. Check out the video below! 


Hundreds of communities across 20 countries participated in Global Shabbat 2016 - take a look at the map below!

Thank you to everyone, everywhere who accepted the call to BE A GAMECHANGER in 2016!

#AZABBGGlobalShabbat #Gamechangers

For more information about BBYO programming in your community, find your local program contact here.