It has been a banner year for Bnos Agudath Israel of America. Bnos continues to make Shabbos better for girls. Shabbos groups provide inspiration, camaraderie, positive messages and a sense of achdus to thousands of girls all across the United States and Canada. While Shabbos groups is how Bnos Agudath Israel started (by no less than the legendary Sarah Shenirer, back in Europe), it encompasses many programs. Bnos One on One, funded by the Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES pairs nearly 1,000 younger and older girls as Big and Little Sisters, in dozens of cities across the United States. Bnos Bikur Cholim mobilizes girls of all ages to visiting senior citizens who are homebound or in residential settings, to describe just a few. Bnos remains the address for girls all across the country who are looking for meaningful and productive recreational activities, where fun, ruach and appropriate hashkafos are always in style.
Over the years Bnos, which has 150 branches in 39 cities, has continued to expand with new initiatives and programs regularly being rolled out. The latest Bnos project, Intercity Shabbosos aimed at sixth, seventh and eighth graders who have aged out of the Shabbos groups but are still too young to become leaders, is sparking waves of excitement, keeping girls connected to Bnos in their middle school years.
Two Bnos branches enjoyed an Intercity Shabbos on the weekend of June 4th, as Bnos of Pittsburgh, PA, hosted Bnos of South Bend, IN. It was a wonderful event that gave more than 50 girls a chance to get better acquainted despite the many miles that separate their home towns. The distance between the girls rapidly evaporated as friendships were forged throughout the weekend which included a trip to the local science center, games, divrei torah, workshops, a Shabbos choir and magnificent Shabbos meals.
Bnos runs various special events throughout the year including membership melava malkas, conferences for branch leaders and advisors, leader appreciation events and Mishloach Manos programs to benefit senior citizens. Sunday programs can vary by city or branch and can include activities like baking, crafts or sewing. The annual Bnos Leadership convention is the Shabbos of a lifetime for many girls. Leaders from dozens of city gather to network with other leaders and grow their leadership skills as they themselves enjoy an inspiring Shabbos.
“It gives the girls the ability to spend time productively,” said Chana Baila Hass, national director of Bnos. “Our goal is to give them extra-curricular activities in a warm and supportive environment which enhances their resilience and self-esteem.”
Looking ahead there is plenty more in store for Bnos. A Nine Days chesed campaign will have girls visiting residents at local nursing homes, something that takes on greater importance in the summer months when many are away and visitors can often be sparse.
Interested in starting a Bnos chapter in your area? Contact Mrs. Hass at 212-797-9000 extension 275 or email Bnos@AgudathIsrael.org.