BBYO selects new local leader

As a teen, Aaron Katler floated between youth groups, namely the B’nai Brith Youth Organization and United Synagogue Youth.

Though he doesn’t consider himself a BBYO alumnus, Katler, of Berkeley, said his strong familiarity with the organization’s programs attracted him to his new position as executive director for BBYO’s Central Region West, encompassing all of Northern California, plus Washington and Western Canada.

“What I’ve seen so far has been really impressive,” Katler said recently, after his first few weeks on the job. “A lot of attention has been paid to the programming, and that’s driving membership up.”

According to Katler, involvement in Central Region West grew by more than 50 percent last year, with regional membership in the nondenominational, entirely youth-run organization topping out at nearly 1,000 teens.

Katler attributes the rise in participation to programs such as weekend conferences, dances, community service projects and other activities planned by its young members.

In addition to strengthening the programs, Katler also wants to connect the more than 15,000 BBYO alumni living in the Bay Area with current members to establish an active “friends and

alumni network” run nationally.

“The Bay Area is rich in alumni and friends of BBYO who want this program to thrive because they know the wonders it does for Jewish youth,” said BBYO Executive Director Matthew Grossman in a statement. “Aaron brings all of the qualities that are critical to ensure success, and we are thrilled to have him on our team.”