Many threads make up the tapestry illustrating the Sisler-Dines family’s relationship to the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO).
One thread shows how three generations of women have belonged to the same chapter of BBG (B’nai B’rith Girls). Another traces members of AZA (Aleph Zedek Aleph), the BBYO program for young men.
And there’s the thread showing the huge impact of BBYO Israel programs on the family.
Sharon Sisler, 75, of Farmington Hills, was the family’s BBYO pioneer. She joined BBG as a student at Mumford High School in Detroit to have fun with other Jewish teens. “She still has friends from when she was in BBG,” said her daughter, Tammy Dines of West Bloomfield.
Dines, 53, joined BBG when she was 15, both for the social life and because she knew it would give her leadership opportunities. Chapters were organized geographically and Savage was the BBG group for Southfield, where she lived.
She met her husband, Steve, 55, in the summer of 1979 at a BBYO picnic. She was a sophomore at Southfield-Lathup and he was a senior at Southfield High. They’ve been together since; this summer they’ll celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.
Steve Dines was active in Sam Beber AZA. He brought Tammy’s brother, Scott Sisler of Novi, into Beber — and soon afterward Scott’s sister, Reva Rosenberg, who now lives near Boston, joined Savage BBG.
Dines and her two daughters all held leadership positions in BBG. Tammy was Savage chapter president her junior year and served as treasurer of the Michigan Region her senior year.
Samantha “Sami” Dines, who now works in the fashion industry in New York, joined Savage BBYO in eighth grade. Chapters were no longer neighborhood based and Sami, who lived in West Bloomfield, was pleased to follow in her grandmother’s and mother’s footsteps. She held several chapter-level offices and served on the Michigan Region board as a senior.
Brianna “Bri” Dines, a grad student in occupational therapy at Grand Valley State University, also joined Savage in eighth grade. A year or so later, she and some friends left to start a new chapter, Aliyah BBG. After leading Aliyah for several years, Bri was elected Michigan Region president for her senior year.
Tammy Dines went to Israel with BBYO after high school and remembers it as one of the best experiences of her life. Both Sami, 25, and Bri, 23, went on similar trips. Both daughters met their long-term boyfriends, who were members of AZA, on the Israel trip.
BBYO was a frequent topic of conversation in the Dines’ home, said Tammy, a social worker in private practice.
“My daughters would ask me how I knew so many people in the community, and the answer was often that I knew them from BBYO. My best friends are people I met in BBYO,” said Dines, who more recently served on the organization’s adult advisory board.
Now it seems as if her daughters know everyone their age in the community. “The friendships you develop through BBYO are invaluable,” she said.
B’nai B’rith started AZA in 1923. The BBG “junior girls auxiliary” got going in 1927. BBYO now has hundreds of chapters around the world, including 13 in the Detroit area: six each for BBG and AZA and one, in Ann Arbor, designated as BBYO.
Dines says BBYO provides a healthy environment for Jewish teens to meet and socialize. There’s ample opportunity to take on leadership roles where teens can learn self-confidence and communication skills and create programs that give back to the community.
“It’s just a fabulous organization,” she said.
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To learn more about BBYO, go to bbyo.org/region/michigan or call (248) 432-5684.