בע׳׳ה  

Thank you for Everything.

Shalom Chaverim,

 

As 2017 draws to a close, it is an important time to think back on the year that was. This past year was filled with the best of times. It’s crazy to think about how much has been achieved in only 12 months. The list includes our biggest Winter Camp on record, incredibly successful events, and of course a monumental $231,936 raised from our unbelievable community.

 

As I sit here writing this message, my mind is jumping back through the year, trying to remember all the things Bnei Sydney has done. And all I can see are smiles and happiness. Yes, of course, there were trying and stressful times, but I think I can say resoundingly that this year has been a very special one.

 

I could sit here and write down all the different events, like the 50 year Yom Yerushalayim Festivities, or our opening Purim Bash. I could talk about the fantastic Summer Camps that have just ended or the incredible calibre of our weekly tochniot, but then I’d risk never actually finishing this message.

 

All I can do is hope that you feel as warmly about this past year as I do and that you have felt a positive effect from the work that this movement does. We do it for you, for the beautiful children who are on their path of growth and all headed to true leadership, for the parents who trust us each week to take care of their lovely and precious children, and for the community that allows us to step up and do our part to try and make Sydney a strong home for the Jewish Community.

 

Beyond that, the only other thing I can do is share a little Hakarat Hatov towards all the incredible people who have made this year possible. And there is a lot of them.

 

First of all, I must sincerely thank all the unbelievable leaders that have made all this possible. It has been the greatest honour of my life to be a part of the madrich body of 2017. This group of 30 or so people have profoundly changed the lives of so many people, including my own. They are people who have sacrificed their own time and sanity to devote themselves to others. They are people who know how to put others before themselves and have taken upon themselves a responsibly like no others. This group of incredible educators have poured their hearts and souls into powerful tochniot and developed relationships which chanichim which will carry on into the future. The care and power of these people has truly inspired me and has left an incredible legacy of love, kindness, and leadership. Thank you for the time and passion you have devoted to the movement. I wish all good luck on whatever you do next.

 

There are some special stand outs, who I would like to thank specifically. Firstly, to Shoshana Berger and Liza Moses who bravely lead our Winter Camp and left us with memories we will cherish for ever. And to the stars of this summer, I would like to thank Lexi Weinberger, our incredible Rosh Machane of our Summer Camp, who lead our Junior tzevet of Madrichim and Madatzim to greatness and made an extremely special Junior camp filled with fun, fun and more fun. To Liza Moses again, who did the often over looked role of Fed Camp representative and helped us get a massive group of kids to camp and made a smooth and easy experience. To Jeremy Elliot, our favourite Jew, who served as Rosh Minyan this year and managed to create a happy, powerful atmosphere each week at our Bnei tefillot. To our stellar Rosh Events, Marissa Wilk, who did an unbelievable job coordinating the logistics and planning behind each of our amazing events this past year. To our Hanhallah, comprised of Galit Taub (Rosh Limmud), Mia Kornfeld (Rosh Israel), Judy Mekler-Peled (Rosh Maon), Ryan Snoyman (Rosh Chessed), Ariella Posniak (ZYC Rep) and Lishai Steinman (Rosh PR), who all held various tafkidim essential to the running of Bnei and ensured Bnei was always running at top speed. Thank you. Thank you for the amazing work you have done.

 

Next, to the people who have orchestrated it all, and lead this movement from strength to strength: the Hanhaga of 2017. This group of people never cease to amaze me. Leah Aharon, Simone Goldman and Shoshana Gotlieb, who acted as Sganit Merakezet, Gizbarit and Rosh Chinuch respectively, there is nothing I could say that would adequately thank you for the ridiculous amount of hours spent planning, discussing, stressing, organising and working for Bnei. You guys are the glue that kept this movement together, the people who enabled Bnei to grow and achieve success over the past year. It is thanks to you that Bnei is the warm, open and special place we all know and love. You guys have absolutely done more than could ever have been asked of you, you have risen to the occasion and then blasted past it. When you start in one of these positions, you never really know what you are getting yourself in to, but these people took every obstacle and hurdle and turned it into an opportunity for greatness. I know that know matter what you guys go on to do, you will find and achieve success because that is the kind of person each and every one of you are. Thank you for all this and more. You truly are the best people Bnei could have ever asked for.

 

I would be remiss if I did not draw attention to the two most tireless and inspiring people I have ever met, Aimee and Royi Bercovici. Our shlichim this year have been the life blood of this movement, all our greatness is due to the leadership, love and care that reverberates around this family. They have acted as our guiding light in every single way and have lead from behind allowing all of the madrichim to discover the path without being told what to go. They have been mother and father to us all, and have truly brought a special feeling and atmosphere to everything we do. You eternally have our undying love and appreciation for all you have done for us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

And finally, to the special community that makes everything worthwhile. Thank you for your unending support of all that we do. Thank you for trusting us to care for your kids and for volunteering to help us whenever needed. There are so many special people in this community like our Mara D’atra Rav Shua and the awesome PSG body that we can’t even begin to thank them by name. But as evidenced by the Charidy campaign, we know you support us and care about what we do. This incredible responsibility you have placed on us is not one we take lightly and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us our independence and ability to do as we see best. Thank you for your constant support. Of course, it is the chanichim that we are here for first and for most, so we thank all our beautiful kids who have been part of Bnei this past year and who never cease to amaze us with their passion, maturity and strength. Thank you for coming and allowing us into your lives.

 

I think that about covers it. For now, all our madrichim will take a much needed break, but fret not because Bnei will return with two special events:

 

Purim Event – 28/2

Opening Shabbat – 3/3

 

So stay tuned for all the exciting details.

 

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a happy new year and a 2018 filled with love, success and happiness. I would like to wish good luck to the incredible hanhaga and madrich body who take charge in 2018, hatzlacha raba to you all. We know you will take Bnei to even greater heights.

 

That’s all from me. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as Merakez this past year. Thank you to all those who supported me and made this possible.

 

Farewell for now,

Aaron Schneider