Happy National Volunteer Week!
Each year, during National Volunteer Week we honour our volunteers who are reaching a milestone level of service at a special breakfast reception. Unfortunately, the event has been postponed until later this year, however it is our pleasure to highlight the extraordinary contributions made by this incredible team.
Beatrice Weiss – 30 years
For the past 30 years, Beatrice (Bea) Weiss has been a familiar face in the Café. Arriving early in the morning, Bea is busy preparing breakfast for our members who begin their day at the centre. She then quickly prepares the food stations and is ready for when the lunch crowd arrives. She greets her customers with efficiency and even knows some of their favorite foods. As a Café Europa volunteer, Bea has served meals to hundreds of Holocaust survivors.
Bernice Goldhar – 25 years
Bernice Goldhar has assisted in numerous different programs at the centre, and is always willing to lend a helping hand. She has volunteered for 25 years and most recently, in making Chiropody appointment reminder calls. She is always dependable, reliable and professional in her phone calls. Bernice also was Chair of the “Wellness Committee” for several years beginning in 2008. She also assisted with large Wellness events such as our Health and Retirement Fairs and was the voice of the Bingo program for 4 years back in 2006.
Sandy Bokser – 20 years
Sandy Bokser is truly a force of nature. She is a pillar at Betel as well as across the community. Sandy started her community work as a young child by fundraising for local Jewish charities that were near and dear to her heart. In her 20 years at Betel, she has contributed so much to this centre in so many roles, from Members’ Council to volunteering at the Information Desk, to running our Rummi-Cube program. Sandy is truly a joy to see around the centre. She always greets everyone with a “Hey, how are ya?” – and she’s not just saying it – she really means it. Sandy is an ideas woman. Not one day goes by when she doesn’t say “Hey, I have an idea”. I truly can’t imagine a Friday afternoon without Sandy. We’re so grateful for her generosity of her time, energy, and (most importantly) her spirit.
Doris Frymer – 15 years
Doris Frymer has been delivering meals to our most isolated seniors in the community 3 times a week for the past 15 years. The clients have come to depend on seeing Doris’s friendly face when they open the door. She greets everyone with a warm smile and energetic “Hello”. Doris knows the names of her clients and they know her. Despite the weather they have confidence that their meal will be delivered and Doris is there to make sure they are doing well.
Henry Pinchefsky – 15 years
For fifteen years, Henry Pinchefsky made reminder calls to the Chiropody patients. Every Thursday he arrived at the centre to pick up his lists. Upon completion of the calls, he contacted the office to report cancellations; those he could not reach and incorrect or changed telephone numbers. His information was not only accurate and on time, it was always given with good humor and a positive attitude. During his long time of service he got to know the patients, even though he never met them in person. Henry resigned earlier this year and many patients continue to ask about him and regret not hearing his friendly voice. He was very reliable, never forgot or cancelled his duty. Even when he was not feeling well, he continued to call. Henry was an enormous help and a pleasure to deal with.
Bonnie Baker – 10 years
Bonnie was elected to the Bernard Betel Centre Board of Directors in September 2010. She has been a fierce advocate for the Bernard Betel Centre holding numerous senior volunteer leadership roles and functions. In 2015, Bonnie Co-chaired the ‘Celebrating Betel at 50’ gala and is currently the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Governance Committee. Throughout 2018-2019, Bonnie demonstrated her strong advocacy and project management skills as Board Chair, navigating the Centre through the revisions of the Betel By-Laws and Board policies. Bonnie has contributed so much to the Bernard Betel Centre. She brings intellect, compassion and warmth to the Betel Board to name just a few of her many attributes.
Lin Goodman – 10 years
For 10 years, Lin has assisted with the Healthy at Home program bringing friendship, social interaction, congregate dining and activities to seniors where they live. Upon arrival, Lin greets everyone with compassion and kindness. She brings a positive energy and enthusiasm as she serves the meal and interacts with the participants.
Ian Pont – 10 years
Ian has been helping out in the Computer Program for 10 years. He has a wonderful and outgoing nature, and a natural desire to learn new things which inspires our students to learn more themselves. Ian always drops by the Computer office before volunteering to give the latest news, and the latest joke he has heard. Any one of our students who have been fortunate enough to receive one on one assistance from Ian have been pleased with the guidance he has given them.
Gennady Rogatsky – 10 years
Gennady is the founder of the International Choir and actively participates as both a soloist and the Conductor. He is instrumental in the growth of the Choir and readily offers his expertise with other musical events at the centre.
Mira Shnier – 10 years
Friday mornings for the past 10 years, Mira has been delivering meals to seniors in the community. She began volunteering in memory of her mother who was a Meals on Wheels volunteer and was a positive role-model for Mira. On the occasional Friday, when Mira is travelling and cannot deliver meals, she is quick to take on extra routes to compensate for the days she is away and often picks up an extra shift when we are short of volunteers. Mira brings warmth and caring to the most isolated seniors in our community.
Ofer Zaidman – 10 years
Due to his work schedule and yearly trip to Israel, Ofer cannot commit to a regular weekly Meals on Wheels route. When he finds he has a free day, he is quick to call and offer his support to the Meals on Wheels program. At times, we have received a call from Ofer when we needed him the most.
Mara Muzikansky – 5 years
Over the past five years, Mara has volunteered in different roles and has excelled in all. At the Information Desk, she welcomes everyone with a positive attitude and a kind smile. Her professional skills and compassion for others made her an ideal Friendly Visiting and At Home Respite volunteer. As a Café Europa volunteer she always exhibits great sensitivity and respect and helps the Holocaust survivors feel comfortable and safe.
Esfir Patlakh – 5 years
Esfir has assisted at the Information Desk for the past five year welcoming the members, providing information on our services and programs and promoting events. Recently she moved from this role to volunteer with the Russian Library program and assist with the Russian Golden Age Cultural events. She has a very kind and generous nature and is readily available to help wherever she is needed.
Larisa Shayztag – 5 years
Every week for the past 5 years, Larisa Shayztag has visited with an isolated senior in the community. As a Dial-a-Friend volunteer, she also provided a regular telephone check-in in addition to the weekly visit.
Arnold Spevack – 5 years
Arnold has been a committed volunteer for the past 5 years. He was active on Members’ Council from April 2015-September 2019. He has been a strong advocate for social justice issues and seniors’ rights, initiating a social action committee and attending many meetings in the community on behalf of the Betel Centre that addressed seniors’ issues. Arnold is a warm, engaging and analytical individual who has much to offer Betel and other organizations.
Miriam Spevack – 5 years
Miriam has taken on the task of organizing and maintaining the Chiropody files. Every few months over the past 5 years, she has come in to update the files, remove inactive files and file paperwork for new patients. These tasks are very time consuming and Miriam’s assistance allows the staff time to focus on other priorities. Miriam demonstrates great attention to detail and pride in her work.
Bert Whitzman – 5 years
Bert is a mainstay in the Computer Beginner class. He has a loyal following that includes the course instructors. Bert is very caring, thoughtful and patient. Everyone enjoys his sense of humor. He is someone whom you can rely on, is very punctual and available to assist whenever and wherever needed. He is a pleasure and an asset to the Computer classes.
David and Susan Cohen – 5 years
Looking for a volunteer experience that they could do together, the Meals on Wheels program was a perfect fit for Susan and David. On Tuesday mornings for the past 5 years, they pick-up and deliver their meals and often return to the centre to have lunch in our Café. David has led the Passover Seder dinners and was the Master of Ceremonies for the 2016 Annual Volunteer Banquet. Together, they provide a double dose of compassion, caring and kindness.
Zelina Iskanderova – 5 years
For the past 10 years, Zelina has facilitated, “Evenings of the Jewish Culture” which is one of the most beloved programs among our Russian-speaking members. The success of this program is due to her professionalism, expertise and passion for Jewish culture and history. Zelina has also been an active participant on Members’ Council since April 2015, contributing her knowledge of the Russian community and assisting in breaking down barriers to this community’s involvement in programs and events at the Bernard Betel Centre
Yaffa Krieger – 5 years
Yaffa Krieger is actively involved in Cafe Europe. Her role is to monitor the entrance to ensure that everyone enters the room in a calm and safe manner. She is very responsive and kind to the participants who are all Holocaust survivors and is very sensitive to their needs. Yaffa has also assisted with the ETROG program and Special Events.
Shirley Lipton – 5 years
Shirley Lipton cares deeply about her work, and that is clear to everyone who has been a part of the Knitting and Needlepoint club over the past five years. Shirley is warm and welcoming to everyone she meets, and her knitting is absolutely beautiful. Shirley’s guidance and warmth have created a lovely Knitting and Needlepoint Program and I know it means a lot to the participants.
Morrey Naihaus – 5 years
Morrey Naihaus volunteers for our computer classes focusing on iPhones. He is knowledgeable and a warm, caring volunteer. His quiet, yet confident presence helps to give confidence to our students. Morrey always has a friendly smile and a compelling community spirit.
Irina Percheskaya – 5 years
Irina Percheskaya has been a Friendly Visiting volunteer for the past 5 years. In addition to weekly visits, she also provides telephone check-in’s in between visits to touch base and ensure all is well.
Sheila Wilner – 5 years
Sheila is a dedicated and steadfast volunteer. A teacher by training, Sheila is a perfect fit to teach Beginners Bridge Part 1 and Part 2. Learning Bridge is no easy feat – let alone teaching it! Sheila devotes her entire Tuesday all spring and summer to make her Bridge classes a success, not to mention the time she spends hand writing reference material for her students. So many of Sheila’s students have personally shared with us that Sheila is one of the best teachers they’ve ever had. This is a testament to Sheila’s thoughtful structure, patience, dedication, and understanding each of her students.