(via wolfoftherapture)Source: weheartit.com
The hot topic, burning-issue in the US before World War I wasn’t gay marriage or marijuana legalization like it is today. Instead, what people talked about, what politicians argued about, what seemed like a black-and-white dilemma in which the incorrect choice would lead to doom- was the debate between isolationism and intervention.
The geopolitical scene was a crazy, wild picture. Alliances getting entangled, countries talking shit behind other countries’ backs, battles, skirmishes, trade conflicts, my golly, it was just like high school. So the United States was face with the ultimatum: intervene to protect their interests, which would lead to messy conflicts that otherwise could be avoided, or keep to themselves and shut the rest of the world out of the picture?
As history went, we decided to pursue the former. Granted, there were events that set some people off, but America galloped into the War and left their own mark on the world’s history.
Sometimes, this choice between minding our business and going out of our comfort zone to the outside world is presented to us in AZA. For most of my AZA career, it seems like Ramon has always had this distinct “Isolationist” mentality. Now, we weren’t exactly shutting ourselves out. We definitely send a sizeable group of guys to every convention, event and dance. We’re ever so slowly starting to trickle into international programs.
And I’m not here to point out faults in the chapter and how we see the region. Sure, we could have a better attitude about the initiatives the region tries to accomplish. We can better inform our younger members how they, as Alephs, fit into the grand scheme of the Aleph Tzadik Aleph. And we have a long, long way to go on our summer program attendance.
But here’s the thing. I can safely say that I’m one of the most regionally and internationally involved guys in the chapter. But I wouldn’t have been if I haven’t been to regional conventions without a single Ramonian in my cabin. Instead of having a safety net of 5-6 guys that I see every week, I was forced to socialize and make new friends. These new friends pushed me to go on summer programs, so I packed my bags two summers ago and went on CLTC 2 2011 with my best friend from MoAd. If I hadn’t had this exposure, I wouldn’t have cared about applying for a regional chair sophomore year or going on ILTC 2012 or planning Fraternity Weekend.
And with my abundant and profound exposure, I have the markedly say that yes, being regionally and internationally involved can make you a better chapter Aleph. Even better, I can guarantee that being regionally and internationally involved as a chapter will, in turn, make us a stronger chapter.
Rolling your eyes? Nodding your head sarcastically? I understand. Hear me out.
Regional and international experiences are tricky. Planning effective programs for such a large group of people is tricky, so more often than not, their quality is impeded. So it’s hard for a Ramon guy, who’s used to programs set in an intimate environment, to take regional programming seriously. And I’ll admit, I’ve been to more mediocre than really, truly great programs at CLTC and ILTC. (And yes, those do exist. In fact, they’ve been some of the most special experiences of my life. Frat/Sis 2010 had a program that left such a mark on me that to this day, I strive to reach that level of programming. CLTC Inductions left me sobbing tears of joy because they were that good. At least four ILTC programs made my jaw visibly drop as I was shocked and completely mindfucked on how incredible they were. It’s pretty rare but it’s there.)
Rather, regional and international programs’ power lie in the group. It’s not even that you’re connecting with completely new people you otherwise would have never met. It’s not even the new crowd of (generally better looking) girls. It’s not even that getting the chance to lead kids you barely know is an entirely different challenge that makes you grow as a leader. It’s that you get the opportunity to walk into a room and see tens, even hundreds of faces of teens that share something with you nobody else does.
It’s that you get to be in the same room as a large mass of guys who share the same passion as you do for something as special and unique as AZA. It’s that they have the same love as you do coursing through their veins for the group of guys that has made them who they are. Everywhere else, no one gets us. The entire world will never feel what we feel. AZA is something you can never understand from the outside looking in and will never be able to explain from the inside looking out. And here you are, the inside. The inner core of the Sun, feeling the pressure from the outside only to stay stronger and denser as the particles compact. The support of your fellow Alephs keeping you strong and dense, keeping you from never folding and always exuding that fraternal energy…
The chapter can give it to you in small doses. But outside of the chapter, it washes over you. It permeates you. It changes you. It’s powerful.
And when you come back, you’ll be able to see the potential in your chapter like never before. You’ll be able to understand just how amazing Ramon can be, you’ll really get the scope of how much power we can have over teens’ lives, you can really, actually, truly see what we’re capable of accomplishing. Yes, you come back from these programs with a different kind of “Ramon Domination”. Not the obnoxious kind that you yell at a convention to shut everyone out. But the constructive kind, where you see how Ramon AZA can come into an 8th grader’s life and mold him into the person he never dreamed of becoming. You get that we dominate, not just other chapters, but how we dominate life.
That’s the personal journey. On a pragmatic level, reaching out to the region and order to lead it is one of the best ways Ramon can churn out incredible leaders that will change the world. I’ve steered (which means programming), I’ve coordinated, I’ve planned on a regional and international level, and let me tell you, that takes an entirely different set of skills than Ramon requires. Socially, it’s harder. The kids don’t know you as well. You need to work harder for them to like you, so they respect you. You need to work with other people, meaning you have to work with other people’s interests, meaning sometimes what you envision doesn’t come first. You need to compromise, to settle, to negotiate, or to persuade.
You need to be more creative. You have more limits but you also have more upside. More resources, more people, more money. Less freedom, less power, less concentration. You’re reallly pushed to think outside of the box. However, you get to impact many more people than you have before. Instead of changing 20 lives, you have the chance to change 200. And trust me, when you work to that level, you really need to attack it differently.
What does all this mean? It means that if you, a Ramon aleph, takes the leap to apply for steering, or try to get a spot on a committee for J-Serve, or get Mock chapter Sgan at CLTC or lead shabbat services at Kallah, will come back much more capable on the chapter level. You’ll be armed with the skills and experience that can catapult your board position from good to great. You’ll come back able to program events that revolutionise the chapter. You’ll be able to add a decimal value to how many kids you can recruit. Very simply, Ramon benefits much more than the actual region or order–funny how that works.
Finally, it would literally be the most awesome thing in the history of the universe besides jacuzzis and late starts if we actually send out a Ramon “crew” to a summer program. Bring that Ramon pride abroad… I’ve literally never felt the pressure from within the chapter to go on a summer program. All of you can gain so much from going, and the more kids go, the safer you guys will all feel with the knowledge that you have a couple Ramonians who have your back.
I can see Oded Tzori, Niv Gambarin, and Itay Barylka having the time of their lives at Impact: DC along with Yoav Kaliblotzky, Hadar Goldstein and Lior Peled having their lives changed at CLTC 3, while Ben Neduva and Amir Mazor FSU at CLTC 4. I can see Ronen Burd, Tom Ashkenazi and Ilan Scheinkman joining Idan Hovav this year at International Kallah where they’ll connect with Judaism, the order and copious amounts of females in the Enchanted Forest late at night. I can see, in a couple years, Ron Hasson, Tomer Erlich, Tom Bousso and Daniel Moscovitch exploring ILTC and growing exponentially as the biggest game changers BBYO has ever seen.
My brother alephs, Ramon AZA has nothing to lose and everything to gain with embracing the region and the order. If you have any comments or any questions regarding anything from my personal experiences, about regional and international things going on, or even about how to convince your parents to go on anything, please, please contact me in some sort of way. Either go up and talk to me, message me on facebook, or call me at 408-242-7231. I’m here for y’all and I want the maximum amount of people to gain the max amount of benefits from these experiences.
Aleph Yinon Raviv.
Thank you for reading.
Hey guys. Sorry for not posting here as often as I’d like to. As part of my multi-step plan to make it up to you, I made a playlist for y’all to listen to while you do homework. It works for me, so I wanted to share it with you.
edit: if you want more frank ocean, this is for you.
Just over an hour of music to get you ready for an awesome event.
channel ORANGE - Frank Ocean
My standout tracks on this: Sierra Leone, Super Rich Kids, Crack Rock, Pyramids, and Pink Matter.
Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (Deluxe Explicit Version)
An ageless classic.
Camp - Childish Gambino
The entire damn album is a standout track. Also, the guy himself is the Donald Glover, aka the black guy from Community (and the guy from Derek Comedy).
last but not least
Also, if you are ever really damn bored and need 200 songs to listen to, these are the ones you should be doing it to.
Oh, did you think I was done? That’s funny. 80-something and growing tracks that you should be listening to. These are mostly deeper cuts.
As requested by Omri Hazan:
As requested by Yinon Raviv:
Hey guys. Sorry I haven’t been updating the tumblr like I said I would. I’m planning to catch up this weekend or next weekend, seeing as I’m planning the event this Saturday and have board overnight too.
I’d love to do an in-depth analysis of this album but I think that’s going to have to wait a bit. I do promise that I’ll do at least one song off of it.
Your 2012 Summer Term Machshev
“It’s only through the process of disagreement and debate that bad ideas get tossed out and good ideas get refined and made better. And that kind of vigorous back and forth — that imperfect but well-founded process, messy as it often is — is at the heart of our democracy. That’s what makes us the greatest nation in the world.” Barack Obama, at a publically broadcast Republican conference.
Three really common issues at ILTC that were brought up and discussed endlessly are in this handout, and opinions from multiple sides are presented. The arguments and paragraphs written here are based off of my experiences. By reading this handout, I hope you guys are both informed and possibly start the mental process of forming your own opinions on some issues that divide our organization.
ISSUE NUMBER ONE: Stop using the term “paper members”
Staff’s argument: “By using the term “paper member”, you’re implying that you’ve given up on that member and you’re devaluing him. Too many times we’ve heard “oh call everybody but him, he’s a paper member”. It is a defeatist approach to a problem that could be solved by simply extending an invitation, to at the very least make him feel welcomed. In addition, a member registered on b-linked is still part of your chapter just as much as anyone else, even if they only show up to dances or to very few events. As long as they’re engaged and having their Jewish lives enriched, they are members. Period.”
Teen argument: The term “paper member” doesn’t mean we won’t call and doesn’t mean that we’ve given up, we just need to face the facts. Some teens don’t like AZA for the right reasons, and some teens just aren’t into AZA. As chapter leaders, we want teens that will contribute and enrich the chapter environment and culture-NOT members for the sake of numbers. Members who just show up a few times a year just for girls, as an example, won’t go to regular events and participate in chapter programming. They won’t plan events, they won’t run for board, and they won’t help keep AZA a positive, fraternal environment. In some cases, their substance habits directly clash with our culture. As chapter leaders, we have to be pragmatic and realize two things: One, AZA’s for everyone but not everyone’s for AZA, and two, having dead weight on your roster report doesn’t help the chapter themselves.
Madrich statement: The staff have a point when they say that it’s defeatist to brand people and to act on that brand. The “quality vs quantity” argument is a cop out answer-it’s NOT a substitute for poor recruiting. I’ll assume that the chapter does recruit and call teens like they should, so I’ll say this: if kids aren’t into your chapter and they’re not coming back, then that’s up to you to make the chapter engaging. If teens would rather go and watch TV with their school friends rather than go to AZA, then AZA isn’t compelling enough and the chapter leaders need to work on that. Plus, the kids that are partying and smoking weed-that means that AZA and the lifestyle you promote doesn’t add much to these kids, they aren’t being given good enough reasons to believe that missing out on the fun is worth being in AZA.
To address the Staff, there is a credible hype about numbers-it’s data that we can use to show off donors. It is important that regions have a lot of members, that way it reflects well on our organizations to convince philanthropist to believe in our cause.
ISSUE NUMBER TWO: The chapter is above everything else
Chapter Teen argument: Teens get recruited to the chapter and spend their weekends with the chapter, not with the region. Teens get into this lifestyle and find their passion for AZA not in the region, but in the chapter. Teens build their leadership skills with chapter programming, projects, and board-not necessarily the inaccessible regional leadership opportunities. Why should the region be in the chapter’s interest?
Regional Teen/Staff argument: The region, as perfect or as imperfect as it may be, is the chapter’s responsibility. If the chapter really does develop leadership skills well, what’s the point if they only engage 40 teens at a time? What’s the point if they just stick with their chapters? If the chapter does churn out the best leaders, then the region should benefit. Also, it is the really strong chapter’s responsibility to support the weaker chapters. Just because a teen is born in a territory that doesn’t have a strong chapter, that shouldn’t mean that they won’t have the opportunity to have their lives changed by the power of AZA.
ISSUE NUMBER THREE: Dirty Cheers
Staff argument: Dirty cheers do not reflect on AZA’s core values and principles and shouldn’t be cheered. Their misogynistic, objective and homophobic lyrics can make prospectives and Alephs uncomfortable. “Just a joke” is bs, it’s still derogatory and hurtful for AZA’s reputation. By cheering it as a chapter, you’re saying that the chapter as a whole supports this. Kids don’t join and stay in AZA just because of some cheer, so what would be the big deal out of cutting them out?
Teen argument: These cheers are part of our culture and are tradition. Teens make inappropriate jokes all the time-that’s reality. These inappropriate jokes are made out of the understanding that it is not in any way intentional, so if we only cheer when there’s no one around, and if we work hard to establish an enriching Jewish experience and are working hard to be leaders, than we’ve established strong character and some lighthearted cheers can’t take that away from us.
The Metaksher Report of Aleph Yinon Raviv, 8/22/2012