As unbelievable as it (still) seems to me, I will be leaving Berlin in about a week to resume my studies. Berlin and the Bambinim community have given me so much over the past two years and I am so grateful for my time here. As I prepare to leave, I’d like to share the goodbye/thank you letters that went out to the Bambinim Community from me and and Flora:
Yahel Matalon, our dear coworker from the Jewish Service Corps program, will return to New York in the beginning of August.
In the name of the Bambinim Team and all Bambinim Families, we would like to give Yahel our acknowledgment and thanks at this point. If you are at Bambinim in the next few weeks, please take the opportunity to express your thanks and give her your good wishes to take with her as she goes on her way! You can still find her here in the coming weeks at the Jewish Family Meet-Up in Friedrichshain and at the Bambinim Summer Camp.
Below, please find our thanks to her and her parting words to us!
For almost two years, you have worked with and supported us at Bambinim – with heart and soul, with word and deed. Since our time with you was so pleasant and full of learning for all of us, we are sad that you will be leaving us. On the other hand, we are also happy for you for the very special development opportunities that await you in your homeland. We send you our heartfelt wishes for success in the continuation of your studies in a world-renowned university!
We, the Bambinim Team as well as all the families, have a lot to thank you for! Some of your services to our community were apparent, such as the arts and crafts and baking activities you led for the children. In these situations, you always displayed the calmness and friendliness which are so characteristic of you.
But behind the scenes, you took on many other tasks, such as writing and sending out our newsletter and many event invitations. In the past year, you took on a large portion of the course administration and made sure that there was organization in this important process. This was important for all of us, since it’s here that the important process of “give and take” happens – between our sponsor organization, JDC Germany, and our community, the may lovely Jewish families with small children.
During courses, you made sure that teachers and families felt comfortable and supported by us. From the beginning, you were also involved in the planning and running of our family events and holiday celebrations at Bambinim. We received and took on many important impulses from you in this area!
Your biggest accomplishment, however, is without a doubt that you and Anja Olejnik built up our Jewish Family Meet-Ups in Friedrichshain together. Through this, you two succeeded in laying the foundations for the project “The Shabbat Queen in the Garden,” so that we were able to introduce it to our program recently! Without your efforts, it would not have come to that.
We thank you from our hearts for everything and stay connected to you in friendship!
Flora & Bambinim Team & JDC Deutschland Team
Dear Bambinim Families, Staff, and Friends,
I truly don’t know how to even begin expressing my love and gratitude for these two wonderful years I have spent with you at Bambinim. When I arrived in Berlin in September 2011 as a JDC Jewish Service Corps Fellow, I walked into Uhlandstraße 156 not knowing anyone, and without fail, I felt embraced and welcomed by staff and families alike. As many of you know, it is not easy to move to a new country by yourself, to a place where you know no one, and the support I felt from you as a community – as my community– made it one of the most seamless transitions imaginable.
Ever since then, I have gotten to know you personally, through my work with different courses, events, holidays, and camps, and I am so grateful for that opportunity. Parents, those are some smart, sweet kids you’ve got; and kids, you’ve got really special, loving parents. I’ve loved making Challah with you at Shabbat Playgroup, leading arts and crafts activities at holiday events, and socializing (or playing) with you in those rare moments during a program when there is suddenly nothing to do for five minutes.
I became a Jewish Service Corps Fellow because I believe in the importance of giving our children the opportunity to experience strong, vibrant, and diverse Jewish communities and to develop a positive Jewish identity based on both knowledge and experience. What I saw at Bambinim blew me away: every single family participating in Bambinim is creating just that kind of a community and every single child who attends Bambinim is participating in a meaningful Jewish experience that will shape his/her Jewish identity as an adult, and that is not something to be taking for granted. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience this meaningful community action alongside you, to learn from you often and gladly, and to contribute in whatever way I could. It has truly been an honor.
My experience at Bambinim will continue to shape my life long after I leave Berlin, and it is important for me that you know that you have a friend in me even when I no longer have a physical presence at Brandenburgische Str. If you’re ever in New York, please feel free to contact me, just as I will be in touch with Bambinim whenever I am back in Berlin. It’s a small globalized world and I hope to see you in it again soon.
With all my love and gratitude,