Today, an event that only happens once every four years occurred. No, not the Olympics, nor a Presidential Election, nor an eclipse. No. Today was the opening of World Bnei Akiva's Veida.
I'm sure many of you are wondering what Veida is. Veida is Bnei Akiva's version of the United Nations. After brainstorming sessions in committees, five resolutions from each committee are decided upon and are proposed in the General Assembly. After varying numbers of speeches are made for and against each resolution, and any amendments have been made, the resolutions are put to the vote. Those resolutions that are successful will then be discussed further at the final World Bnei Akiva Veida, with the people that work for Bnei Akiva as a profession from countries all over the world present, in a drive to improve the way the movement works and plan projects for the future.
Today's Veida was just for Hachshara (Bnei Akiva Gap Year) participants, but played a crucial role in deciding the resolutions that would be discussed at the full Veida in January. After arriving 45 minutes late, I was somewhat surprised to see that the event had yet to show any signs of starting. I guess JMT must be getting even worse! Anyway, we were introduced to the four committees which were Aliyah, Hadracha, Hachshara, and Snif projects and leadership. I picked the last one as I felt that the Snifim (or Svivot) are one of the weakest areas in the UK's Bnei Akiva when comparing them to those in Israel.
After a long brainstorming session where ideas ranging from regular Carlebach minyanim to filming a TV program were discussed, the final five resolutions were decided upon. They involved establishing a Kiruv project for those Jews distanced from religious knowledge and practice; creating a partnership between Snifim in Israel and the Diaspora, and between other countries in the Diaspora; encouraging Social Action projects; Israel Advocacy; and the importance of a positive PR image for BA and the wider Jewish community amongst non-Jews. The second and fifth were mine.
When we finally came to the General Assembly, all five resolutions were passed surprisingly quickly. It was quite satisfying to see people voting for a suggestion proposed by you. I was called to speak about one of my suggestions and chose to speak about making an amendment to another resolution (which was also accepted).
The event finished (after Yad Achim and the Hatikva of course) with a concert from Parah Adumah (a band, not a red cow), and we danced together (but not boys and girls. This is Bnei Akiva remember!) for a good hour after lighting the Chanukah candles together.
I really enjoyed the day and it was a fantastic opportunity to get to meet other BAnicks from all over the world on other Hachsharot programs. I am looking forward to going to the 5 day World Bnei Akiva event in January, but until then, I guess I'll have to wait with anticipation.
want to read more? check out my blog "My Year in Israel" by Sam Freeman