The smell of the pine trees and the aroma of Serbian cuisine filled the air. On the Balkan peninsula, a small, cozy hotel atop a mountain awaited the arrival of 50 teens, ready for the experience of a lifetime.
From Sept. 14 to Sept. 17, the BBYO Balkans family was reunited. Teens from near and far traveled to reunite with old friends, as well as feel safe and at home. Others came solely for the experience that had been raved about: convention. These teens finally got the chance to enjoy what the amazing organization they heard so much about had to offer. Attending a convention for the first time is a scary, yet eye-opening adventure. No matter each teen’s background, everyone instantly came together. The vibrant atmosphere throughout the hotel was surely an indicator of how the weekend played out. We had meaningful programs, motivating our teens to not only bond with each other, but to connect with their inner self, and with their Judaism.
Throughout the convention, we celebrated Shabbat, as well as sang songs together. This created a sense of unity. We elected the new Balkan board and began to shape the future of our region. When celebrating Havdallah, we truly were able to recognize the importance of these days spent together. We baked our own Challah, danced together, and shared laughs throughout the weekend.
In the end, we had to say goodbye as we all parted ways back to our four different countries. Although the convention ended, our spirit is still very much alive. Until next time, our energy and passion will remain, and soon, we will all be back together.
Sonja Rozental is a BBG from Serbia currently serving as BBYO Balkans 3rd Regional N’siah.
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