04 April 2013

Increasing Expenditures for B'nai B'rith Youth Organization's Summer Programs, 2001-2010

BBYO's expenditures on summer programs greatly increased in the last decade
For some reason, I got distracted while looking up something about B'nai B'rith Youth Organization's summer programs and came across the National Center for Charitable Statistics website that has 990 forms available for viewing!  Anyways, it was fascinating to - just by reading the 990 forms - see how BBYO's spending on summer programs greatly changed upon its separation from erstwhile parent organization, B'nai B'rith International.  Since I only had access on the aforementioned website for 990 forms from 2001-2010, I can only knowledgeably discuss those years.
Excerpt from BBYO's 2001 990 form
    In 2001, B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO) spent $46,312 on summer programs, although it stated that "the organization began efforts toward assuming responsibility for various summer programs, formerly program areas of B'nai B'rith International", letting us know that things are about to change dramatically.
     In 2002, BBYO's spending jumped to $1.8mil and, in 2003, it further went up to $2.3mil, continuing on up to $2.5mil in 2004.   In 2004, BBYO stated that "B'nai B'rith Youth Organization has assumed responsibility for various summer programs of B'nai B'rith International", indicating that they had figured out the transition.   
     In 2005, the form stated that "B'nai B'rith Youth Organization  assumed responsibility for various summer programs, formerly of B'nai B'rith International" and the amount spent jumped up to over $4mil, where it also was in 2006.  In 2007, it went up over $5mil, and was close to $5mil in 2008.
    In 2009, another jump was in-store, as the spending went up to over $8.6mil.     Finally, in 2010, it hit the eight-figure mark with over $11mil in spending.  Interestingly, it finally dropped any mention of former B'nai B'rith International programs.

From BBYO's 2010 990 form
      Although the most obvious reason for the great increase in spending is that B'nai B'rith International was no longer the aegis under which the money was spent for summer programs, there are other factors, as well.  One of which was going from the stable the of summer programs from simply being International Convention, International Kallah, International Leadership Training Conference, and the various Chapter Leadership Training Conference sessions to expanding to include various service-learning trips as well as other travelling trips, no longer held exclusively on BBYO/BBI properties.

03 April 2013

A Central Existential Fear

Occasionally, I will hear people speaking about finding one's purpose in life of something along the lines of doing what's meaningful in one's life.  For me, I discovered in rabbinical school, my life's passion (at least for a number of years now). However, the problem I realized then was that of time.
     My passion is generating written material, whether that is blog posts or, ideally, academic-style articles on rabbinic literature.  While I am also interested in Biblical literature and later Jewish writings, as well, it is rabbinic literature that has captured my fancy.
     However, I recognized in rabbinical school that my time was limited and that I needed to get to work researching and writing on these topics.  What I knew would be an impediment to pursuing this special, meaningful passion of mine would be not only once I got out, that I wouldn't be in the same atmosphere of rabbinical school and mindset to be dealing with such "academic"/intellectual concerns and, instead, be dealing with whichever job it was that I would have.  The other issue that I was concerned about was the softening of my intellect.  I knew that in one's 20s and even still into one's 30s, one's mind is at its sharpest and begins to soften.  I figured I needed to get out my sharp perceptions on rabbinic literature and other writing while I am still young and able to bring a sharp mind to approaching the texts with which I wanted to deal.  Moreover, I wanted to lay down foundations for potential further articles that could build off of what I had written previously.     Well, this got exacerbated once I got married.  Although I published three articles before I got married, I still haven't published any.  What I didn't know then was that having a kid would make it more difficult to have the time to do so.  Once I had my first child, whoa, that changed my time!  But then after my second, I realized all the potential free time I could have had.  However, having the second child helped me realize that my time is very limited.  One thing that it forced me to do was knowing that if I wanted to go to the gym, I had to make sure I did it and not wait around to see if I had the time to do so.  I have also, in the two years since I have had a second child, been working on researching and writing other pieces.  Although I am further ambitious to research and write even more articles, I am also realistic that I may not get as many done as I would like.
     Although I have tried to keep up my mentality of trying to work on my writing and keeping my mind sharp, I wonder if this has taken some enjoyment away from living my life and just enjoying it as opposed to having thoughts on my mind about research and writing interests or even worrying about spending time with my children taking time away from my researching and writing pursuits. While I will acknowledge that I have not yet reached a healthy and comfortable sense of my personal balance, I know that I am doing the right thing to be there with my children and that I just need to figure out the right times to work on these intellectual pursuits.

     So, while I know that my passion and a great sense of meaning is being achieved when I endeavor to help others better understand our Jewish tradition with its Biblical and Rabbinic foundations, I also know that I should enjoy my youth and good health and be very involved in the raising of my children.