The girls are excited. Ever since one single member of B’nai B’rith Girls found out that LILITH was interested in their Mind, Body, Attitude program, they’ve been calling us in droves to sing its praises.
Five years ago, BBG, which has over 7,000 members worldwide, formed the MBA program, and it has taken on a life of its own. According to its mission statement, MBA seeks to encourage a physically active lifestyle, develop positive self-images, educate young women on health hazards, create resource guides, and empower women to take control over their own lives.
“It seems as if youth organizations don’t know how to address women’s issues in a sensitive and constructive manner,” says Rachel Berger, BBG’s outgoing international president. “I believe that MBA is the first comprehensive, holistic approach to educating high school women about themselves.”
The success of MBA may be due in a large part to the structure of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. It is the only non-Orthodox youth group that is divided by sex, and Berger thinks the division “is a huge advantage, because this way we can focus on women’s issues.”
This year, BBG hosted the fourth annual International MBA convention in Milwaukee. The convention, themed “Protect Your Body, Ignite Your Soul,” was a wildly successful weekend, packed with girls and girls alone.
BBGs went to sessions about eating disorders and nutrition, sexuality and assertiveness. They learned relaxation techniques and yoga together. On Saturday night, they kickboxed, funkaerobicized and played hockey. The BBGs listened to a political activist tell them that women had a responsibility to be involved in politics, and wrote letters to their Congress members immediately afterwards. In a Rosh Hodesh program, they discussed what it meant to be a Jewish woman. Michal Ziv-El, convention co-chair, later said, “[the program] was really special to me. It was spiritual, and really encompassed what we were trying to get at.”
To find out more about BBG, call (202) 857-6633.