Welcome to Lake Ontario Region’s blog, managed by the Press Corps Committee. We are a group of Alephs and BBGs with a passion for writing. The views and opinions expressed in our blog posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BBYO Ontario.

Top Ten Activities To Do During Quarantine

Top Ten Activities To Do During Quarantine

Written by: Sarah Glogauer, 10th Grade, Ahava BBG #2447.

Throughout quarantine, it has been a struggle for me to find things to do. I have looked for lists of quarantine activities, but it was difficult to find options that work within our local lockdown restrictions. I decided to compile a list of my own top ten quarantine activities to share with you, so here they are:

10. Starting off strong at number ten we have art projects! Whether it be painting, drawing, or making bracelets, art can help you destress. Art is a great way to express yourself and show your inner thoughts and feelings. Personally, I have started ‘Diamond Dots,’ a mosaic-style art project. I definitely recommend all of you to try it! The generic name to search for is ‘Gem Painting.’

9. At number nine we have online shopping. This can be a great way to reward yourself. It is always a good idea to support small businesses, especially during this pandemic. Some of my favourite small businesses are: Sprinkle Ridge (@sprinkleridge on Instagram), Sunday Brunch (@sundaybrunchca on Instagram), Handle the Sweet (@handlethesweet on Instagram), and Crumbs and Flour (@crumbsandflour). Shopping at small businesses is a great way to support your community and have fun!

8. At number eight, we have journaling. You can create a vision board using images and words that describe dreams and inspirations. As well, writing about your experiences during quarantine, maybe even for our blog, is a great way to share your thoughts! Reach out to our Press Corps blog captain Leah Stein or our Regional Mazkirim if you’re interested. This year I started something called a Happiness Jar! I write down when I have a good moment so at the end of the year I can reflect on the positive memories I have made!

7. Next, for my favourite number, seven, I recommend that you enjoy the outdoors! There are many activities I have done outside that have been enjoyable. These include: building a snowman, taking a walk in nature, going stargazing, and taking pictures of the sunset. The nature around us is incredible, so why not take advantage of it?

6. For number six, we have watching a new movie or show. Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video are all great sites to watch movies and TV shows. Some great Netflix shows include: Bridgerton, Lupin, History of Swear Words, and Cobra Kai. I also love classics like: The Office, Friends, Glee, and my personal favourite, Dragons Den.

5. Now number five, (I never wanna hear you say) learning something new. This can be anything from TikTok dances, to a new language, or even learning to write with your non-dominant hand. I have started learning sign language with a friend of mine!

4. At number four, we have puzzles or games. These are great activities to do with your family, or on Zoom with friends. I have done a puzzle with my brother and played many games including Scrabble, Monopoly, Life, and Uno.

3. Next, for number three there is self care! Some good examples of this are face masks, meditating, watching funny videos, and rewarding yourself for completing goals. For me, taking breaks has been very important because it helps me regain focus and motivates me to continue what I’m working on.

2. Coming at number two, we have baking or cooking. Some of my favourite things to bake are brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and challah. I also love cooking chili, soup, homemade pizza, and fresh pasta. Cooking and baking are the only things that kept me sane while at home, and definitely helped me relax.

1. Finally, for the top thing to do during quarantine, stay in contact with your friends and family! This can be by mailing letters, sending text messages, or just giving them a phone call. The pandemic is the perfect time to reach out to those you care about, whether they live near or far. I have been staying in contact with my family and friends, but especially my grandparents, as they are bored at home during this time.

Quarantine can be a tough time for finding things to do and many people are bored. I hope this list of ten things to do can help you find something to do!

Pictured: Me (fourth row centre) attending Frat/Sis Convention 2021.

Blogging Reimagined

Written by: Leah Stein, 9th Grade, Ahava BBG #2447.

The LOR blog hasn’t been in use much lately, and when I was chosen to be this year’s blog specialist on our Press Corps, I wondered why we don’t post more. In the last year, we’ve published three articles, all written by members of our region about their experiences in BBYO or with Judaism. This makes sense, as normally, that’s what a blog like this is all about. But it doesn’t have to be…

This blog can be a space for anyone to write, and one that allows us to share ideas and things that are of interest with those reading. As blog specialist, I hope to reimagine what our blog is and the potential it holds. Using new writing styles, a variety of topics (not just BBYO events!), and getting writers from all around our region opens the door to new possibilities. The blog will become more than just a place to share how events went, but also what our region and its members are interested in and looking forward to.

We can’t wait to show you all the amazing things coming up on the blog. Anyone can contribute, and articles will be posted every other week! There are going to be so many new ideas and writers coming to the blog, you don’t want to miss out. If you’re interested in writing, reach out to me. We want to give everyone the opportunity to put something up and share their story! This is a chance open to all, so why not try it?

Antisemitism on the Sidewalk

Antisemitism on the Sidewalk

Written by: Vicky Sirkovich, 10th Grade, Chaverot BBG #2307.

My parents have told me about the antisemitism they faced growing up in the USSR, having been verbally abused as well as physically hurt simply for being Jewish. I’ve also witnessed a lot of antisemitism on social media and I’ve heard stories from others, however, I had never experienced antisemitism first-hand. That was until the afternoon of September 18th, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

I was taking a walk near Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue in Thornhill – an area home to a significant number of Jewish people – when I saw a man walking toward me on the sidewalk. At first I didn’t pay attention to him, until I heard what he was yelling. “If you’re Jewish get off the [expletive] sidewalk,” he said. I had never before been made to feel afraid because of my Jewish identity, but at that moment, I was petrified. I suddenly felt lost, disappointed and all I could think about was getting home safely.

Why should I be made to feel so vulnerable and insecure simply because someone else is so full of hate? I believe that no one should feel uncomfortable in their own skin or be ashamed of their beliefs, which is why I’m bringing awareness to this topic.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only recent incident of antisemitism in the area. According to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, there were swastikas and the words “All Heil Hitler” found written on a wall at Dublin Heights Elementary and Middle School in May and there was antisemitic graffiti discovered at Ledbury Park Elementary and Middle School in April. These are just two of more than 2,000 antisemitic incidents that occur in Canada each year, according to the 2019 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, produced by B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights.

Words don’t begin to describe how awful it feels to know such hatred exists. However, I’m exceptionally fortunate to be growing up in one of the most diverse countries in the world, and though I will never understand why some people go out of their way to be so cruel, I believe it’s important to become informed, raise awareness, and stand up against antisemitism.

If you experience an antisemitic incident, you can report it to Toronto Police or York Regional Police as well as organizations like B’nai Brith Canada and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

As a member of BBYO, a pluralistic Jewish teen movement with chapters in more than 50 countries around the world, I’ve been able to develop my own personal Jewish identity and create lifelong friendships with a great group of like-minded teens.

When this antisemitic incident happened to me, I turned to BBYO for guidance. The girls in my chapter, Chaverot BBG #2307, supported me, and our chapter advisor connected me with resources so that I could report what had happened. I am extremely grateful that I have so many friends that I can count on when I need them most.

Photo from Google Maps.

In Times of Uncertainty, This is Exactly What Brings LOR Together!

In Times of Uncertainty, This is Exactly What Brings LOR Together!

Written by: Jadyn Right, 8th Grade, Dor Chadash BBG #2404.

With Spring Virtual Retreat just a few days away, the Steering Committee is working hard to give each member of Lake Ontario Region (LOR) the feelings of a BBYO convention at home! With that being said, it has not been easy. I applied to be part of the Spring Convention Steering Committee back in mid-march for the position of Hospitality Captain. This role ensures that members are having a good time and are engaged in convention programming. Of course, I never thought that a pandemic would affect Spring Convention until it did. Everyone’s original ideas for Spring Convention were based on an assumption that it would take place at Camp George. We had to reframe our ideas and think outside the box. Spring Virtual Retreat will be our first online convention, and it’s going to be a game-changer!

My name is Jadyn Right, I am a member of Chapter Dor Chadash BBG #2404, and this is my first year in BBYO. The moment I walked into my first BBG program at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, I was so amazed by the welcoming environment. I was eager to learn more about BBYO and how I could become more involved. From chapter programs to regional events, BBYO became something I looked forward to every single week. I first became involved in my chapter by taking on a chair position, and soon after, I decided to apply for Press Corps, Lock-In Steering and Spring Virtual Retreat Steering. I am so thankful to have these various leadership opportunities at such a young age, and that’s what I value most about BBYO.

When heading into our first Spring Convention Steering Committee call, none of us knew what to expect. However, we had two amazing convention coordinators, Mitchell and Sydney, alongside our regional staff, Kevin and Rae, who helped us imagine the possibilities. Through this ‘New Adventure’ (which became the convention’s theme), all Steering Committee members have learned that any challenge, even trying to reimagine Spring Convention as a virtual experience, can bring an entire community together. The transition from ‘IRL’ (in real life) to online was quick and smooth. We are so excited to have all five Canadian regions come together for our annual Maccabiah (colour wars), all online, which is something that could not have happened if Spring Convention was at Camp George! We have so many surprises just waiting to be found out. We have adapted so many traditions and rituals, and we have even found a way to have online senior life books (members write messages to graduating seniors) and warm and fuzzies (participants send kind messages to other members)!

This Spring Convention Steering Committee has been incredible! Every member on the team has been so fun to work with, and I am so glad that I had this amazing opportunity. As the tagline says, ‘BBYO is definitely not cancelled, it’s just online’, and Spring Virtual Retreat has proved it to me. I hope to see all of you there! This awesome regional event starts on Saturday May 16 2020, and you won’t want to miss it!

Pictured: The Spring Virtual Retreat Steering Committee hard at work!

Welcome to our Blog!

Welcome to our Blog!

Written by: Leah Stein, 8th Grade, Ahava BBG #2447.

BBYO is filled with leadership opportunities, whether you come in as a leader, a follower, or unsure what BBYO even stands for. The skills BBYO provides us, like leadership, public speaking and program planning, can help us all throughout our lives. From school and work to your personal life, everything you do relies on some of these BBYO lessons, all hidden within games, activities, applications, committees, and some of the best years of your life. 

Like most 13 year olds, I considered myself to be a follower, a little awkward, quiet, and generally normal. Then, like many of my brothers and sisters, I joined BBYO completely clueless, and was instantly hooked and wanted to do as much as I could. I quickly started to become more confident, more likely to speak-up, and a leader. All things I previously thought were too far out of my comfort zone. I got to steer this year’s fall convention, become a chapter chair, help plan this year’s J-Serve, and be on LOR’s Press Corps team.

Our regional Press Corps Committee is a team of 12 passionate members, ranging from 8th-12th grade, selected by our Regional Mazkirim (VP Communication) to elevate regional communication and publicity. We take pictures and videos at events, we’re making a yearbook, and of course managing this blog! I applied because I thought I would enjoy these duties and I decided that my approach for BBYO would be to go for anything I could, because you can never truly know the impact these opportunities can have on you, and they don’t always come around twice. 

This blog will feature posts such as this one, written by teens from all around the Greater Toronto Area. We will use this as our platform to express our opinions and beliefs, report on what’s going on in Lake Ontario Region and showcase everything that makes our region special! Any member from the region can write a blog post! If you would like to write a post, let a member of the Press Corps or our Regional Mazkirim know! We are so excited for all the great things to come this year and can’t wait to continue to showcase it here!

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