Kol Hakavod BZ Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM) Kvutzah!
BZ JYCM Co-Advisors: Deanna McBeath, Laura Reff & Beth Sanzenbacher
Last Wednesday, the Bernard Zell JYCM kvutzah (chapter) showcased leadership qualities and a sense of achrayut (responsibility) that BZ students embody. These 7th and 8th graders hosted a virtual Lunch & Learn, presenting to adults from multiple Jewish organizations with youth programming around the Chicago area. The purpose was to educate these organizations about the benefits of starting their own JYCM kvutzah, with the goal of growing the number of chapters within the Chicago area.
At the beginning of this school year, our JYCM kvutzah learned that they were the only chapter in the greater Chicago area and throughout most of the Midwest. Drawing on their education rooted in Jewish values, our students felt a strong sense of achrayut (responsibility) and ometz (courage to stand up for their convictions), and decided to take action! They initiated a grassroots campaign among their network of contemporaries and adults at local Jewish organizations,  including synagogues, other Jewish day schools and representatives from JUF, with the hope of creating a Chicago cohort of JYCM kvutzot. As their efforts gained traction, they took it a step further and created an opportunity to educate these organizations, and landed on BZ hosting a Lunch & Learn. Bringing in representatives from the national JYCM organization, our kvutzah delivered a primarily student-developed and student-led presentation. We even had some video cameos from our young friends in JYCM Jr! It is important to note the majority of JYCM kvutzot are made up of high school students - we are one of the few chapters nationally made up of solely middle school students. 
The level of confidence and showcasing of leadership in a space that is mostly occupied by high school students is a true testament to the kind of people Bernard Zell students become. From Nathan Adler, the National Kvutzah Organizer, in regard to the Lunch & Learn event: 
"We're blown away by your passion and excitement for growing JYCM and your commitment to not only this organization but working on enacting real change in your community and the world! I'm amazed by the work you are all doing and can't wait to be a part of this awesome event!--"
Kol Hakavod!

Follow Us on Instagram @bernardzell