December 2016, Farewell 2016

Dear friends,

I cannot believe it but it is time to say goodbye, if only for a little bit.

Where has the time gone? They say, time flies when you’re having fun. I’m not sure I would classify what I do with something that sounds as frivolous as ‘fun’ but it sure does consume so much of my attention and preoccupation and it’s something that I get an enormous amount from. I guess time also flies when you’re focused on the present task at hand. In my case, that task is building up a community centred around the Ark which is vibrant in youth, energy, spirituality and relevance.

I once heard from an annoyingly wise man that an hour-long meeting in any organisation should be spent as follows: one minute concentrating on what it’s doing right and the remainder 59 minutes on what it could do better. I’d like to share with you my one minute of positivity.

The first great thing that happened to the Ark in the last year or so is the fact that we now have a most talented General Manager in place. By now most of you would have met Lisa Naphtali and know what a seminal role she plays in everything that is now ARK Centre.

In the past year we have likewise been fortunate enough to have our fill-in administrator turn into our permanent Programs and Events Manager. Jackie Sher is not only an awesome vibe to be around, she also comes with years of experience in these areas, as is evidenced in her work.

Also in the last year we have been on an incredible journey in our kitchen. First off we found Dan Woltema. His exceptional food together with his unchef-like attitude which is open and team-focussed, have been a winning combination. As a result, our kitchen facilities are now complete and we are on the threshold of getting council approval to operate as a business. Whether it will be for catering your event or Friday night dinners, or takeaway meals very soon Ark Centre will be the place to fill your dinner needs.

Another exciting adventure has been in the area of Wellbeing. Teaming up with Marike from Cool Karma Collected we ran an awesome short course in meditation. As a result, we are very excited to be taking this to a new level and look forward to offering more in collaboration with Marike come the new year.

We are also very excited at the recent appointment of Taimika-Lee in the role of admin support, who will join the team in January. She is young, energetic, cluey, and confident and will be a great addition to the team.

Of course staff and their ideas are only as relevant as the community which supports them. It is with the utmost excitement that I watch the growth of our community both in numbers and in connectedness.

One of the areas of amazing expansion has been in the volunteers department. Under Donna Kallenbach’s management we have witnessed every event they touch consistently outdo the previous performance and we can only sincerely thank them for their dedication. With ARK Centre’s 3rd Birthday celebrations their focus now, we greatly look forward to the event on 19th February 2017.

I’m pretty sure my minute indulgence is well and truly up.

Now to what we can do better, or at least to what I can do better.

Though I have greatly enjoyed our mainly one-sided conversation in the weekly email, I have not been as consistent as I would have liked in its output. My plan is to come back refreshed after the summer break and put pen to paper and stimulate the conversations we need to be having as a community. With my little Osher asking ‘why Abba, why?’  to everything, I’m sure the break will provide ample opportunity to be deeply inspired.

On behalf of all at ARK Centre, my wife Lisa and our family; wishing everyone a most exhilarating and rejuvenating holiday period.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Shneur