Last summer, my mom told me that the mazkirut was seriously considering putting 2015 National Midwinter Convention in Atlanta. At first, I thought, “what are they thinking”, and “where are we gonna have it?”. Then I went to camp and tried to start getting my friends to come. That didn’t really work out, but that is a different story. I started to get excited after Atlanta YJ’s first event of the year. At first, I thought that our club would be kind of small, but I was very wrong. I signed up for AWB right after our second event. I was the first person to join the Facebook group for National Midwinter, since I was just so excited. Right before AWB, Atlanta YJ had a “Hannukah Party” for all ages. I was so excited when 63 kids showed up. AWB was a great experience and just made me more eager about hosting everyone. All of my friends in BBYO started talking about their IC, I knew we were close. The Wednesday before, I couldn’t sleep.  I went to the Coalition of Jewish Teens the next day in downtown Atlanta. BBYO hosted the convention, and the other Judeans and I were so overwhelmed.

 Finally, after a great experience with CJT, it was finally time. In the car ride up with the seniors at CJT, I was pointing out every cool Atlanta landmark I could find. We finally got to camp. One by one more Atlanta people were showing up. It was so much different than last year when I was the only person from Atlanta at convention. I felt most proud of Atlanta and the Southeast when we had to sit by region during Asepha. We outnumbered New Jersey and Texas and Maryland. It was crazy! I didn’t really notice how many Southeasterners there were until the CJ picture. We outnumbered everyone else.

Then the last day when we went to the mall, I wanted to show everyone that I know about Atlanta. I acted like I knew where everything was in that mall even though I don’t even go to that mall. I don’t know why when we were driving through Atlanta that I felt pride. It was just a cross between my YJ friends and my city which was just the best feeling ever. My two worlds collided into one and I felt like YJ had found a new vacation spot and place to call the new strong region.

~ Matan Berman

Matan is entering his sophomore year in high school and part of the teen leadership of Atlanta YJ.  This summer, he will be at Camp Tel Yehudah for the first time.

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