For the first time ever, the national Bnos Agudas Yisroel convention was hosted by Cincinnati, Ohio, on Shabbos Parashas Vayeitzei. A fabulous weekend for Bnos leaders transpired, offering motivational messages, hands-on tips and a golden opportunity to connect with their peers nationwide.
The theme of this year’s annual convention in Cincinnati was the passuk of “V’ohavav k’tzeis hashemesh bigevuraso.” The program focused on how leaders are similar to the powerful and glowing sun, and with their warmth, they have the ability to affect their Bnos girls each week.
Bnos leaders came to the convention from more than 30 cities, with some traveling from as far away as Denver and Miami, to take part in the national event.
The weekend began on Thursday night with Bnos’ Cincinnati’s director, Mrs. Miriam Ottensosser, welcoming everyone to the convention.
After saying Tehillim and hearing a warm welcome from Bnos Agudath Israel’s national director, Mrs. Chana Baila Hass, the girls enjoyed two charismatic speakers: Rabbi A.D. Motzen, national director for state relations for Agudath Israel of America, and keynote speaker Mrs. Penina Teitelbaum, principal of Atara Girls High School of Cincinnati.
A welcoming song-dance was then performed where the girls introduced the theme of the convention.
On Friday, the Bnos leaders sprang into action, spending the morning at Zip City USA, an indoor trampoline and zip line park.
The convention then ushered Shabbos in on a high note, with a story by Mrs. Bashi Levovitz, Cleveland advisor, and a heartfelt davening led by Bnos of Cleveland.
The Friday night seudah was enhanced by divrei Torah from Miss Reena Metzger from Monsey, and Rabbi Avrohom Weinreb, Rav of Congregation Zichron Eliezer of Cincinnati, who spoke on the topic “Light. Shine. Ignite.”
After the seudah, a panel discussion led by Mrs. Tziporah Freedman, Mrs. Shoshi Tropp, and Mrs. Rivka Lagahaie addressed how to handle problems that can crop up during a Bnos group.
Shabbos day was filled to the brim with beautiful meals, achdus and inspiration. During the seudos, Mrs. Aviva Minster gave storytelling tips to the girls for them to use in their Bnos groups.
Rabbi Preis spoke very practically, explaining to the girls how to expand this leadership potential for life.
Shabbos afternoon workshops were led by Bnos directors of Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Baltimore on the topic of “How to Make a Good Bnos Group a Great Bnos Group.”
A Motzoei Shabbos melaveh malkah offered a final opportunity to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of the convention, with the girls enjoying a beautiful choir from the fourth- and fifth-graders of Bnos Cincinnati.
A fascinating video presentation about Rabbi Eliezer Silver and the history of Bnos was then put on for the girls.
The Shabbos was wrapped up with closing remarks from Mrs. Miriam Ottensoser, and a closing speech by Mrs. Chana Devorah Crystal.
After more than three days spent enjoying the company of their peers and polishing their skills, Bnos leaders were able to take the practical advice and heartfelt encouragement that they absorbed over the weekend home with them and share them with their fellow local Bnos leaders, transmitting the convention’s lessons to thousands of others.
Equally important, noted Mrs. Hass, is that the national convention gives Bnos leaders concrete proof that they are part of a much greater whole: Bnos Agudath Israel of America.
“When a leader from Monsey sees a leader from Denver, who sees a leader from Montreal, who sees a leader from Edison, all of them realize that they are part of something bigger and greater and that enables good Bnos leaders to become the best Bnos leaders,” said Mrs. Hass.