So you want to learn about BBG?
What is BBG, do you ask? How does it relate to BBYO? To start off, our chapter is unique in that we do not segregate the genders, which is usually customary. Thus, we are considered a BBYO chapter, for incorporating both AZA males and BBG females. Normally, the two genders are divided into their own chapters, with an AZA or BBG suffix. One good example would be the Pascack Valley chapters--PVAZA and PVBBG--who happen to be our "chapter neighbors" if you will.
BBG, as you will learn, stands for B'nai B'rith Girls, and is the female part of the BBYO organization.
AZA, stands for Aleph Zadik Aleph. This is the male part of the BBYO organization.
The History of BBG
Recognition of the special needs and rights of women is nothing new. As early as 1926, in Seattle, Washington, a group of girls organized as the first "Junior Auxiliary of B'nai B'rith Girls." A short while later the Emma Lazarus Junior Auxiliary was disbanded. In March of 1927, a Chapter of "Junior B'nai B'rith Girls" was organized in Newark, New Jersey. This also disbanded. The first permanent Chapter of what is now B'nai B'rith Girls was organized in December, 1927 in San Francisco by Rose Mauser. Sponsored by what is now San Francisco B'nai B'rith Women's Chapter #1, Mattie Olcovich and Essie Solomon served as the first Advisors.
Unlike AZA, which began in Omaha and then spread to become a national and then international organization, Chapters of girls began to mushroom throughout the United States and Canada in response to spontaneous local forces but without any central pattern of structure or policy and without professional supervision.
As a matter of fact, there was no common organizational name. The early chapters were known as Junior Auxiliaries, Girls’ Auxiliaries, Young Women's Auxiliaries, B'nai B'rith Junior Leagues, B'nai B'rith Girls, B'nai B'rith Young Women, and BZB. The last intended as a catchy substitute for AZA, was often taken by Chapters of girls that were "sponsored" by AZA Chapters.
The ages of girls varied as much as the names of the Chapters. Ranging from 15 into the 30's, there were also a number of sub-junior groups which enrolled girls between the ages of 12 and 15.
Each Chapter developed its own activities, based of the interests of the members. However, the program was patterned basically after the "Five-Fold-and-Full" program which was suggested to the AZA in 1928 by Dr. Boris Bogen, then secretary of the B'nai B'rith. The emphasis was primarily on social and community service activities, though not to the exclusion of educational, religious, and recreational activities.
Obviously, since there was no organized development of the girls groups, there were no national projects in the early years. Many girls groups participated in such AZA observances as AZA Sabbath and AZA Parent's Day or imitated other AZA national programs. Later, Regional and District programs began to emerge as the girls formed their own Regional and District associations. Since the B'nai B'rith Women (then known as B'nai B'rith Auxiliaries) experienced their most rapid growth on the West coast, it was only natural for the Junior Auxiliaries to find their most fertile soil on the shores of the Pacific. However, girl's groups also sprang up in the East and Midwest. Only in the two Southern Districts, where the organization of women's Chapters lagged behind the other Districts, was there a slow building of girls' Chapters.
At its very first meeting, the Women's Supreme Council, under the leadership of its first president, Judge Lenore D. Underwood (later Mills) of San Francisco, voted to establish a national girls' program patterned after the AZA. Judge Underwood appointed Anita Perlman as chairman of B'nai B'rith Girls. The Appointment of Anita Perlman was certainly a positive step towards the future of the many loosely organized Chapters of girls that were sprouting up in virtually all parts of the country. Few women were ready to give as much of themselves for the cause. Though many hands and hearts have gone into the building of the girls' groups over a period of more than five decades, no woman has put as much of herself into this work as Anita Perlman. As soon as Anita Perlman received this appointment, she carried on an amazingly large amount of correspondence with leaders of B'nai B'rith Women, Advisors, and officers of the girls' Chapters. In this first year, with a budget of only $600 she was able to supply the girls' Chapters with an Advisor's manual, a president's manual, a membership manual, and other materials.
The Six Folds of BBG
Jewish Heritage: This fold deals with the past, present, and future of Judaism and Judaic experiences. It also deals with holidays, culture, the State of Israel, and traditions we follow.
Recreation: The recreation fold gives the chance to get to your feet and having fun! This fold gives members the opportunity have fun with their sister BBGs.
Community Service: BBG stresses the importance of tikun olam, repairing the world. You can perform community service directly (being a volunteer at a nursing home) or indirect (raising money for a cause or holding a canned food drive). Either way, you're doing your part to help the world.
Social Action: This fold teaches members about society and what's happening in the world. We, as B'nai B'rith Girls, "recognize our obligation to society." Social Action helps us to bring a positive change to our world, and to make a difference.
Creativity: This fold allows BBGs to expand their horizons, as well as widen their talents and abilities. Creativity programs allow members to express themselves.
Sisterhood: Sisterhood is more than a fold. It's what binds us together as BBGs. This fold secures the bonds of enthusiasm we have for this organization and for each other. It can also deal with issues we might face as women.