BBYO celebrates 80 years in Britain with star-studded virtual event

Speakers at the event included actress Maureen Lipman and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps


An all-star line-up of actresses, politicians and cultural icons came together to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Jewish youth movement BBYO on Sunday night. 

In a live-streamed online event, the organisation marked its milestone birthday with a series of interviews, games and speeches involving members past and present. 

More than 1000 people tuned in to the celebration, including BBYO alumni from as far back as the 70s. 

Notable former members who spoke included actresses Tracey Ann Oberman and Maureen Lipman, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, and composer Murray Gold. 

In an interview with a young BBYO member, Mr Shapps said that were it not for his time at the movement’s Pinner chapter, he would not be Transport Secretary today.

When questioned on the subject, the minister also confessed he thinks John Lewis furniture is appropriate for the flat above No.10 Downing Street.

In a separate interview, Ms Lipman spoke of how her time at BBYO in Hull enabled her to connect with other Jewish youth, an otherwise difficult task due to the small size of the local community. 

Meanwhile, Ms Oberman spoke about how the organisation instilled important life skills and inspired her to stand up for the Jewish community.

Natasha Shaw, Executive Director at BBYO, said: “We were blown away by the support we were shown on Sunday night and feel so proud of our teens who hosted the whole event.

“They really held their own with all of the celebrities who they were interviewing and everything carried through with a great sense of humour and fun. 

“We got a real sense of BBYO through the last 80 years and everyone left with a really warm and hopeful feeling.” 

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, BBYO is looking forward to a bright future.

The organisation hopes to expand its global reach and focus on connecting Jewish teens around the world, regardless of their denomination, sexuality or gender. 

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