BBYO confab includes big award for Marin native

Fifty-seven Bay Area teenagers represented BBYO’s Central Region West at the organization’s recent international convention outside Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama launched the gathering last month with a video greeting, urging the teenagers to  “recommit yourselves to the enduring values this organization represents.”

Bay Area group includes (back row, from left) Irit Moiseev, Daniel Simon, Allison Lukas, Sagee Moyal, Jordan Friedman and Alex Finkelstein, and (front row, from left) Sierra Lash, Alana Levine-Gorelick, Laurie Moskowitz, Michelle Cossette and Josh Kaplan.

Also addressing the conference, which attracted 2,000 student activist leaders from across the world, were Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Wasserman Schultz was presented with BBYO’s Stand Up Award.

“Like many of you, I was raised to believe that I could achieve anything I set my mind to,” she told the Jewish teen leaders representing 18 countries.

San Rafael native Laurie Moskowitz and comedian Ben Stein received BBYO’s 2013 alumni awards.

Moskowitz, a U.C. Berkeley graduate, lives in D.C. where she is the senior director for U.S. campaigns for the ONE Campaign, an advocacy group dedicated to extreme poverty, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.  She is also a founding partner of FieldWorks, a communications and field strategy firm. She received the Anita Perlman Distinguished Alumna Award for her contributions that empower girls and women.

Moskowitz attended Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael as a youth, and was active in B’nai B’rith Girls in Marin, once serving as president of her chapter, Hannah Sennesh.

During the Feb. 14 convention, the teens performed a collective 6,000 hours of community service and advocacy work at 34 service sites in the nation’s capital. — jta & j. staff