Message from Gail Gould, Executive Director

My 94+ year old  mother used to always ask the question at this time of year ‘Is it just me or does it seem the years just go by faster and faster?’ As a child and young adult I always thought that was an unusual comment and did not fully comprehend what she meant… Fast forward a few decades, I find myself asking a similar question each year ‘Where did this year go?’

Rabbi Richard Hirsh, Executive Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association from 1998-2014 and visiting Rabbi in Toronto for High Holidays, each year begins his sermon with the top ten things from the year. Thank you Rabbi Hirsh for inspiring my message as I name the top ten things I am grateful for from 2022:

  1. To our current members, thank you for believing in us and for returning to the Bernard Betel Centre when we ‘slowly’ re-opened April 4, 2022. We appreciate your loyalty and trust in us that we will do everything we can to keep the Betel community safe by following guidelines by Toronto Public Health regarding our health and safety procedures and protocols. We are slowly re-building our membership and look forward to welcoming past members who have not yet re-joined and welcoming new members to the Centre.
  2. To our wonderful volunteers. Where would we be without your dedication, passion and commitment to the Centre. I shudder to think! I have often said you are the heart and soul of the organization. Without you we would not have been able to prepare and deliver our 159,000 meals this past year, make the thousands of calls to our members ensuring their safety and confirming their appointments, teaching our classes, visiting our clients, and so much more. Thank you from all of us…. You are our heroes!
  3. To our incredible instructors who have returned to on-site teaching and continue to provide on-=line virtual experiences for our members. Thank you for your expertise, professionalism and enthusiasm. Our members and staff are especially appreciative of your instruction.
  4. To our funders and donors… What can I say? Without your ongoing support of the organization we would not be able to offer the excellent programs and services that Betel is known for. Our Meals on Wheels program would not exist and over 620 Jewish seniors and Holocaust survivors receiving 3 free meals a week would go hungry. Thank you to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Ontario Health Central, United Way Greater Toronto, City of Toronto, Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. Thank you to our Reena and Circle of Care  colleagues for your ongoing support in providing your clients and participants with food prepared by the Food Services Department at the Bernard Betel Centre.
  5. This past year has been a big year for Betel as we renovated parts of the Bernard Betel Centre. Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and New Horizons for Seniors Program. At long last, we have been able to renovate our kitchen/cafeteria and our bathrooms giving the Centre a much needed ‘face-lift.’ If you haven’t seen the Centre since our renovation, I invite you in to take a look. We are very proud of our new look.
  6. To our Members’ Council, Hava, Vivian, Zelina, Susan, Benny, Phyllis and Sandy. What would we do without you? You have provided critical input, feedback and direction as my on the ground ‘Advisory Committee’.  Your insights, encouragement, and sage advice in representing the membership to management is greatly appreciated and has had positive impact and influence on the operations of the Centre.
  7. To our elected officials who have supported the Bernard Betel Centre throughout the past year…. a big thank you! Your support of the Centre has always been greatly appreciated. Whether it has been delivering and preparing Meals on Wheels, making safety/check in telephone calls to our isolated seniors, supporting our efforts in applying for grants, providing food for our clients, assisting our members with constituency issues or supporting our fundraising efforts, we are most thankful for your ongoing support, dedication and leadership in the community.
  8. To our dear colleagues whom we work closely with. The staff and I want to thank you for your support, collaboration and innovation. I believe it was Margaret Mead who used the phrase… ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’. In the social service/not-for-profit community it takes all of us to serve our community to the best of our ability. Thank you for working with the Bernard Betel Centre in making this a stronger, more responsive community for our seniors.
  9. I feel truly blessed to have the privilege of working with a professional, deeply committed Board of Directors. Thank you Marcus Staviss, Board Chair and the entire 15 person Board for your time, exceptional commitment in strengthening the governance and operations of the Centre. You are an exceptional group of community leaders who inspire, educate and advise me on a daily basis. I am truly indebted to you and appreciate all that you do for the Centre.
  10. Last, and definitely not least, the Bernard Betel Centre staff. I am so proud and inspired by your compassion and commitment to our Betel Centre community. It has been both an honour and privilege to work with you over the past 8 years. You embody the values of our organization – Community, Compassion, Creativity, Dignity and Respect. Thank you for always going the extra mile with your unmatched dedication, professionalism, and for working as a team collaborating with community partners and each other. Thank you for really being there for our seniors, volunteers, and each other; for genuinely caring about the health and welfare of our community. Thank you for being YOU!!!

My heart is very full. I have so much to be grateful for.  Wishing you and your families a holiday season of good health and happiness.

With deepest respect,

Gail Gould
Executive Director
Bernard Betel Centre

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