Left to right: The Bayit president Michael Sachs, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Marc’s Mensches winner Taya Benson. (photo from the Bayit)
Marc’s Mensches winner Taya Benson fundraised more than $7,500 for the Richmond SPCA, where she also volunteers every week. She was awarded the cash prize on Sept. 26 at the Pizza in the Hut event for Sukkot, which was co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and Marc’s Mensches. The event brought out a diverse crowd of more than 200 people, including many local officials and civic election candidates.
While the Marc’s Mensches initiative continues, the program is in the process of switching objectives: instead of being a contest, it will be focused on working as a group to do acts of chesed (loving kindness) around the city and community. “People can still nominate [youth] for the monthly gift card draw,” Bayit president Michael Sachs told the Independent, “but the main focus in Year 2 is harnessing the power of these mensches and doing good all over.”
Bayit Rabbi Levi Varnai, MLA Jas Johal, Chabad of Richmond Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman, Bayit board member Keith Liedtke, Joe Dasilva, Bayit president Michael Sachs, MLA Mike Bernier, MLA Teresa Wat and MLA John Yap. (photo by Lauren Kramer)
On the evening of Oct. 8, the Bayit and Chabad of Richmond hosted a Sukkot carnival called Shakes in the Shack. Scores of Richmond Jewish, and non-Jewish, community members came out and enjoyed the festivities.
The Bayit in Richmond has launched a new youth initiative, called Marc’s Mensches. Starting in September, the program aims to encourage youth in the community by rewarding them for good deeds.
The basic layout of the Marc’s Mensches program is as follows. If you witness a youth from the community (grades 5-10) doing a good deed – within either the Jewish or non-Jewish communities – enter them to be a Marc’s Mensches winner. Each month, a panel will review all the candidates and the impact their good deed has had, and they will decide a mensch for each month. The winner will be awarded a certificate of appreciation, as well as a $25 gift card to Amazon. The same candidate cannot win two months in a row.
At the end of the 10-month school year, each monthly winner will automatically be entered for the final prize. The panel will look at the each one of Marc’s Mensches and determine who has had the largest impact – that mensch will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship for Jewish education.
This program is made possible by the donations of Donald and Bonnie Dwares on behalf of their son Marc Dwares, Marshall and Sally Cramer, and Jeffrey Sachs. The Bayit is asking the entire Jewish community to participate and to give as many youth as possible the chance to be recognized for their contributions.
Left to right, panelists Rabbi Don Pacht, Abba Brodt, Ellen Wiesenthal and Lu Winters with moderator Sherri Barkoff. (photo from the Bayit)
On the night of Jan. 24, four leading Jewish educators were panelists for the symposium Think Education, hosted by the Bayit and the Kehila Society. More than 50 people, from all walks of life, attended. Rabbi Don Pacht, head of Vancouver Hebrew Academy; Abba Brodt, principal of Richmond Jewish Day School; Lu Winters, counselor at King David High School; and Ellen Wiesenthal, director of Judaic curriculum and programming at Vancouver Talmud Torah, covered a variety of topics that had been suggested in advance by email by parents, such as making accommodations for working families, financial assistance and special education. The panel was moderated by Sherri Barkoff, president of the Kehila Society.
On Oct. 19, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, second from the right, joined the Bayit’s celebration of Sukkot. He is pictured here with, from the left, Michael Sachs, Bayit president; Miki Fadida, sponsor of the Fadida Family Sukkah; Rabbi Levi Varnai, spiritual leader of the Bayit; and Moshe Fadida. The mayor discussed the local Jewish community, as well as some of the challenges facing young families. (photo from the Bayit)