05 August 2019

Publishing My Second Book: Essays on BBYO History

I published my second book this weekend on BBYO.[1] Focussing on key essays accompanied by several appendices, the book is coming out at an auspicious time, as this year marks the 95th anniversary of BBYO. In just five years, the organization will be experiencing its centennial anniversary, which should hopefully yield an increased interest in the organization's history. 

Two key essays anchoring this work focus on the first five years of AZA, prior to its incorporation within B’nai B’rith, and one on finding permanent facilities to house BBYO’s leadership programs. I composed both of these when I was in college in the early-mid-2000s. These two essays appear with some updates for this edition. A third essay, which I recently posted, concerns the creation of BBYO’s website (which is something which very few people know). There are a couple of other essays which do not depend on research and are my own contributions to BBYO history (including an updated version of this essay).

Not to be forgotten are the appendices, two of which are transcriptions of BBYO memorial plaques, while two further appendices concern my own involvement with BBYO for credential purposes. However, the appendix that is the most significant is the listing of the location of every single BBYO International Convention.[2] I’m not aware of anywhere else providing a list this comprehensive of BBYO International Convention locations.

A further boon to future historical research on BBYO is the bibliography provided. While I have not pored over every single possible relevant document of BBYO history, this bibliography certainly provides a great springboard for those looking to delve into such historical research.

The first time the idea occurred to me to publish a book of essays of BBYO history was in 2004, having produced a couple of essays and was considering a third. However, having gotten involved with rabbinical school that fall, I dropped that third essay, as well as the book idea, altogether.

However, having returned in the summers of 2011 and 2012 to serve as a Judaic educator at ILTC those summers reignited my interest in the organization and the study of its history. That subsequent winter I decided to reach out to someone who had been in my region and had created BBYO’s website from the beginning and, thankfully, he still had some materials from that time, which was eminently helpful in my crafting a piece on the origin of the website.

While trying to put together a book that summer in advance of having a third child, I dropped the project, even though I had moved it along fairly well. Perhaps I got busy with life, work, and family, but I let it collect virtual dust for years. That is, until this summer, when I realized that I could get stuck with these files forever never seeing the light of day and it would be better to finally publish it. So, I did. 

Having published it on Amazon, I can go back and revise or update it as need be, but it’s a great start to providing a helpful resource for those looking to learn about this organization’s history.

A Youthful Historic Movement: Essays on BBYO History is available both in paperback and ebook.

[1] My first book was published in 2017.
[2] Although I have not discovered the locations of the conventions of 1946, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955 – if you can point me to a resource wherein I can find the locations of those conventions, I would greatly appreciate it (and provide you with a shout-out in the updated version).