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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


HBHA Students Hold Leadership Roles in Local Youth Groups

Adena Goldberg (left), Aleck Bratt, Joel Gutovitz, David Robinow, and Ezra Smith
HBHA Student leaders Adena Goldberg (left), Aleck Bratt, Joel Gutovitz, David Robinow, and Ezra Smith all agree on one thing: math is awesome! Photo by Moriah Abrams.

Many Jewish teens across the country are involved in Jewish youth groups. This statement is undoubtedly true for high school students at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA). Of the handful of youth groups in the Kansas City area, HBHA students are well represented in most of them and hold high leadership positions in several as well.

NCSY is an Orthodox Jewish youth group that was founded in 1954 and has a strong international presence. Seniors David Robinow and Ezra Smith lead the Kansas City chapter as co-presidents.

“NCSY is a great opportunity for me to learn about my heritage and my background in Judaism as well as discover other people’s connection to Judaism,” said Robinow.

NCSY holds Friday night dinners twice a month at members’ and directors’ homes which many HBHA students frequently attend.

Another youth group in which HBHA students are heavily represented is United Synagogue Youth (USY) affiliated with United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). USY’s local chapter is known as Kansas City USY (KCUSY) and is based at Beth Shalom Synagogue in Overland Park, Kan. KCUSY holds weekly Wednesday programs varying from Israeli trivia nights to paint balloon dodge ball fights. Junior Adena Goldberg is the current KCUSY President, and several other board members attend HBHA. Many HBHA students credit the school for helping them become leaders.

Goldberg mentions, “Due to the small community at HBHA I have learned my strengths and weaknesses and how I fit into a group. With that recognition I have found that I like to lead and it encouraged me to take on leadership roles in and outside the school.”

One of the largest youth groups in Kansas City is BBYO, which is not affiliated with a synagogue or specific Jewish denomination. BBYO has a very large international involvement and many international summer trips for teens. Kansas City BBYO is composed of four chapters, Twos AZA #2 and Nordaunian #22 (boys’ chapters), and Saadia BBG #40 and B’Not Lev #2430 (girls’ chapters). Kansas City Council oversees the chapters. Two of the chapter presidents and the Gadol (president) of Kansas City Council are HBHA students.

Junior Lindsey Paul is president of Saadia BBG #40. “Saadia is a huge part of my life and allows me to have friends outside of school that are Jewish and take a role in a bigger part of the community. I’m so excited to lead my chapter this term.”

Nordaunian AZA #22’s president is Junior Aleck Bratt. “Through HBHA’s mentoring leadership programs and the Tucker Leadership Lab, I have really been able to lead my youth group chapter and I’m trying my best to apply these skills to create the best chapter I can.”

Many members of BBYO very passionate about their youth group. Senior Joel Gutovitz is Gadol of BBYO’s Kansas City Council and plays a role in leading both Twos AZA #2 and Nordaunian AZA #22.

Gutovitz shares, “I am so thankful for the incredible leadership experiences and opportunities that I have had in my time as a member of BBYO. There is no feeling more incredible than having the attention of a few hundred Jewish teens with a chance to truly inspire and impact every single one of them. Combined with my time at HBHA, BBYO has instilled in me an unbreakable passion for being a proud Jew, for improving the world around me and for inspiring others to feel the same pride and desire to better the world.”

HBHA students are not only involved in many aspects of the school but in many organizations in the community. HBHA encourages leadership and HBHA students have certainly used their leadership skills to better their respected youth groups and communities.

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