Written by: Shira Babajanov
I recently attended the Young Judaea National convention. To be honest I initially signed up hoping to see a lot of my camp friends I hadn’t seen since August. However, I later learned that I was one of only a few CYJ Texas kids going. This left it up to me to make new friends. I didn’t know much about the Young Judaea movement before the convention. All I knew was that I went to an amazing Young Judaea camp where I met some of my best friends, which led me to want to become even more involved in the Young Judaea movement.
Young Judaea is one of the most welcoming communities I could ever be a part of. Within 10 minutes of being at the airport, and meeting the people flying with me, I made 2 new friends. Once we landed and met up with the rest of the Young Judaea teens, I was nervous as to what I was getting myself into. I sat with my group of friends and wondered if these would be the people, I surrounded myself with the entire weekend. After just a few minutes a kid who went to Camp Young Judaea Midwest came up to talk to me and my friends. He welcomed us, introduced us to people he went to camp with, and all my fears about making new friends instantly went away. Only with Young Judaea would I be able to become instant friends with people all around the country before the convention even began.
In the 3 days at the convention, I was given the opportunity to discuss many important topics Jewish Teens face today. Over the course of the weekend, I took part in educational discussions pertaining to feminism, antisemitism, the US government, and the Israeli government. I also took part in my first Young Judaea election where I was given in a say in the future of the Young Judaea movement and was able to elect some of my new peers into leadership positions.
My favorite part of the convention was learning the traditions of all the Young Judaea camps and being able to share traditions from Camp Young Judaea Texas. Throughout this weekend I made friends with people who went to each of the Young Judaea junior camps and made friends with those who would be going to camp Tel Yehudah this summer. This has made me even more excited for my summer at Tel Yehudah because of the friends from all over the country I’ll be able to reconnect with while I am there.
This convention was unlike any other that I’ve been to. It wasn’t just about getting out for the weekend. The whole experience felt like camp from the first second we landed in Georgia to the last second we waved goodbye to our newly made friends. Convention helped me further realize that I do not want my Young Judaea journey to be over yet. I am so very thankful to have been able to go to this amazing experience. Thank you CYJ Texas for the amazing opportunity, and to all my old and new friends, I had the best time with y’all. It’s a weekend I’ll never forget.