|“Impossible is just an opinion”
– Paulo Coelho
YAY!!! Melbourne has a modicum of freedom!!!! Hopefully as promised, our state will open up again and we Melbournians will emerge and get back to normal life – if we can remember what that is like. Most people I know have booked restaurants and I am told many are full for weeks which is great news for our local economy.
Amazing how this month has again flown – where has it all gone? Once more it has been particularly busy and below please find what I hope will be information of interest to you.
My opening quote refers to the impossible happening, and history has been created in our lifetime. Who would have thought that so many Muslim countries would be embracing the possibility of peace with Israel? Firstly, there was UAE, then Bahrain and now Sudan has joined the growing numbers. Even Lebanon is having discussions about borders where Israel is talking about a maritime border with them. The Albanian parliament has adopted the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, making it the first Muslim majority country to do so and they promise to fight anti-Jewish prejudice. Estonia has imposed sanctions on Lebanon’s Iran backed Hezbollah terror group and bars any member or affiliate of the movement ‘whose activity supports terrorism’, from entering the country.
Would you have ever thought that under the motto “Schalömchen Köln – together in the middle’, the Cologne transport company has not only been transporting passengers but also a message against anti-Semitism and racism? In 2021 various festivities will start over a year to keep alive the importance of Jewish culture for Germany and Europe, to point to its 1700th
anniversary. WIZO Cologne will be organising to support this initiative.
Our own WIZO Victoria Robbie Franco who is Vice President of March of the Living (MOTL) Australia has emailed us with a letter highlighting something we should all be involved in, ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT’ campaign, which is not only MOTL Australia but also together with MOTL International, which is planned for Kristallnacht 2020.
Please find the letter from Robbie here
and I would encourage you all to read through this and as a Jew and a Zionist, I urge you to, besides leaving a light on, on the 9th November,
to involve yourself and your families, your friends and your community in the following…….
- Agree/Commit to signing the Pledge personally and/or on behalf of your organisation on this website http://motl.org/let-there-be-light. This will not go live until 2nd November. (Please note that this is not a financial pledge but a personal pledge of solidarity)
- Commit to Lighting Up and leaving the lights on in your offices / residential homes / personal homes on 9 November
- Share the details of / promote the campaign to all your affiliates / donors / followers / friends / colleagues / staff residents across your social media and other means of outreach prior to Kristallnacht
This Let There Be Light campaign is so important so that it can achieve a non-partisan, widespread, united message of 'never again' to hatred, bigotry, discrimination, injustice, intolerance, antisemitism and all forms of supremacy.
Many of you would be aware that WIZO Australia was honoured by World WIZO inviting me to be a delegate representing WIZO at the 38th World Zionist Congress. It was great to be on a What's App with all the delegates from all parts of the world, as well as World WIZO, during this time particularly when we were waiting for things to happen. No doubt you would know there is a difference between Israel and Australia (thankfully prior to their changing their clocks to winter time) so as the congress began at 4pm Israel time (whenever it began on time?) and going for a full night, it certainly ate into my sleep pattern. Much of what I had to be involved in was a committee, at which I was required to vote which went to well after the bewitching hour. Also one of the resolutions of this committee took many hours to reach an agreement as it was a very aggressive resolution. On two nights I headed off to bed at about 2.30am and the other at about 1am. I was so glad I could participate in this. This was a particularly important Congress and the voting would make a difference as to which faction was in charge of the WZO. Generally, this has been a more centrist organisation which was inclusive of Liberal, Progressive, Women, LGBTQI and many other such organisations. If the very strong right wing faction had managed to wrest control away, things may have changed, but certainly not for the betterment of the Zionist community generally, Diaspora Jews and the more left wing organisations also. Voting in this Congress was of paramount importance and here I must give credit to our wonderful World WIZO Women.
Anita Friedman, Chairperson of World WIZO has been elected to the Presidium of the World Zionist Organization at the recent 38th World Zionist Congress.
Esther Mor, President of World WIZO was sworn in as a member of the board of the World Zionist Organization. We are proud that WIZO has someone like Esther who is so involved in this decision making board as well as so many other boards representing WIZO around the world.
Helen Glaser, Hon. President of World WIZO was elected unanimously to a third term as Chairman of the Zionist General Council at the recent 38th World Zionist Congress. Helena is a wonderful advocate and certainly was pivotal in ensuring that the voting and the resolutions did not go against the core principals of what the WZO stands for.
Evelyn Sommer who is WIZO USA Founding President received an Honorary Fellowship recognising her many years of dedicated service to Zionist causes and her significant contribution to Zionism, WIZO and Israel.
We can rest assured that with the WZO in the hands of these most capable WIZO women, there will be nothing for us to worry about. It was very interesting that often WIZO does not vote at these Congresses as there usually is no real reason, but this year things changed dramatically and our vote was necessary.
I am attaching a letter I received from Helen Shardey (LINK)
whom most of you would know as previously being the Member for Caulfield for the Liberal Party, and most recently Vice President at UPJ-Union for Progressive Judaism and President of ARZA Australia. In this letter, Helen sincerely thanks WIZO and other organisations for stepping up and being counted when it mattered most.
WZO have advised that next year they will have an actual Congress (normally every 5 years) where the delegates will be invited to be involved in Israel. I so look forward to this.
It was announced just a couple of days ago that WIZO applauds the Knesset’s approval for the regulations for the prevention of sexual harassment in sports. WIZO Israel Chair Ora Korazim, who was involved in drafting the regulation stated that this is an important step in achieving gender equality in society and preventing abuse and harm to the dignity of women.
This body will also have the ability to address the behaviour of fans and deal with incidents taking place in sporting arenas, gyms and amateur sports.
I would just like to put in here a little story I received from Lisa Moss who many of you might know from her role in Global Relations at World WIZO and often our contact for our touring. “Thought you would like this anecdote. Today I had a dentist appointment. I had my WIZO Australia bag with me. The dentist noticed and said (in Hebrew but her translation here) ‘It’s hard to imagine a world without WIZO’. Too true, every individual has the potential to be a WIZO ambassador”. This should make you all kvell with pride as it did me and put a huge smile on my face.
During this past month, I have been quite delighted to have a couple of very interesting zoom conversations, one on one with the following people.
Hon. Paul Griffiths is the new Australian Ambassador to Israel and he reached out to me on his arrival there. We set up a zoom meeting and chatted for about 45 minutes about him and of course about WIZO.
He had been informed by Chris Cannan, the previous Australian Ambassador to Israel of the incredible work that WIZO does in Israel and how vital we are to the welfare of Israeli society, so he was keen to learn more. Of course this has been a most difficult transitional time for Paul as on his arrival, Israel went into lockdown so he could not have meetings, could not get out to see anywhere and even had trouble getting all his papers from the embassy to his home. His wife is also in the diplomatic corps in London with a couple of their kids and one is at Uni here Melbourne.
I look forward to catching up with Paul next time I am in Israel and I am so pleased to advise that Paul will be joining us for our Federal Executive Meeting on 11th November. I had advised Esther Mor of Paul’s tenure and she immediately wrote off to him and introduced herself about which I was very happy.
My other interesting conversation was with Melinda Jones, the new Federal President of NCJWA. Melinda (sister of Jeremy Jones whom many of you may know or have heard of) invited me to her Sukkah for a cuppa during Sukkot but due to our ongoing lockdown, this was not possible so at the last minute, we decided to have a zoom chat. It certainly was interesting for me to hear more about the workings of NCJWA and how they differ so much from what we in WIZO do. They are much more locally focussed and I believe their project in Israel does not get a lot of funding from Australia. We spoke about how WIZO has groups and NCJWA does not have these anymore. Also how the various states operate and just generally a good chat. NCJWA has certainly changed since my mother began the Young Matrons group in Brisbane all those decades ago and I was the JNF Queen for NCJW. It was lovely to have created a relationship with Melinda who advised me that she is a WIZO member as I am a NCJWA member, and once things settle down, we look forward to having a real cup of coffee and a real catch up.
It is clear that advocacy and protest works as we have recently been advised that both Facebook and Twitter will ban posts/tweets who violate the companies’ policies on Holocaust denial. This was met with great support of not only the Jewish world, but also other minority groups. This is a huge step to reduce anti-Semitic content.
WIZO Australia has a couple of very interesting events coming up that we are hoping you will support.
Very excited to announce that both WIZO Victoria and WIZO NSW have an event not to be missed coming up. On the morning of the 15th of November
they will be putting on the following event with Jason Greenblatt.
Cost is $18 per person. Booking link whilst in the flyer below is here for easy access
WIZO Australia in collaboration with World WIZO will hear from the remarkable Evelyn Chenkin who is Hon Vice President of WIZO UK. Evelyn rescued Jewish children who had escaped from the Nazis in France in World War II and were hidden in convents and homes. Her story is quite amazing and I would urge you to ensure you join us for this zoom with Evelyn. She truly is a WIZO heroin as she rescued so many Jewish children. Evelyn has been very active in WIZO and eventually made Aliyah to Israel. This will be happening on the 18th November at 7:30pm AEDT
and the details will be emailed to everyone as well as on our social media pages. Please keep an eye out for this wonderful story which we are combining with Kristallnacht just 9 days earlier.
Penny Goodman, our WIZO Australia Membership Chairman has been working very diligently to bring to not only our WIZO membership, but to all Australian Jewish women, both younger and older, a zoom with some wonderful guests. On 6th December at 8pm AEDT, Penny has organized that World WIZO's Rolene Marks will be introducing Dr. Hava-Eva Bugajer who is WIZO’s UN Representative in Vienna and Geneva, Evelyn Sommer who is WIZO’s UN Representative in New York and Margalit Levin who is currently living in Israel and is a representative of Australia and Israel to the UN on Climate Change. Margalit is formerly from Perth and Melbourne and is only 35 so she will be able to bring a different perspective to this discussion.
Penny is wanting to answer the questions that are often asked – why do we need to have representation at the UN which is membership based. WIZO needs ¼ million members to have this right to ensure that ALL Women’s and Children’s rights no matter where they are from, are protected and WIZO continuously makes representation to the UN for this.
We will be sending out details via emails and they will be posted to our social media pages – WIZO Australia for Facebook and wizoaus for Instagram.
Talking about Social Media, I do hope you are following our pages as we are showcasing some of our wonderful women who have shaped WIZO Australia since 1937. Their colourful histories are definitely worth reading about. Some are no longer with us but were incredible characters and some are today working diligently to ensure our WIZO sisterhood continues ‘Doing What Matters’.
At this time, I would like to thank you all for reading this newsletter. This is done as a labour of love to ensure I keep all our WIZO sisters informed, invigorated and inspired. I would also like to commend all the states and their members for continuously thinking of ways to fundraise when functions are still of concern. You are all incredible and as your President, I take such pride in saying that I am the President of WIZO Australia, but only because of all of you.
WHAT’S ON AROUND THE STATES.......................
Below please find events organized by our wonderful members around Australia. Please support these opportunities to engage with our WIZO sisterhood.
On 8 October, WIZO Amit, Dor and Matan hosted our very own WIZO Australia Executive member, Keren Loyer who was in conversation with 3 panellists speaking on
Kids…. Lockdown…. What’s next?
On 18 October, WIZO Matan hosted Author Jeremy Kalbstein and Judy Glick of Courage to Care as they explored the topic of “Being an Upstander not a Bystander’.
WIZO David held a wonderful Trivia night on 26 October, this brought together many of the members and supporters as far as field as Tasmania.
WIZO Tova held yet another of their virtual ZOOM Bingo nights on 26 October. Fabulous prizes were up for winning on the night which were generously donated.
WIZO Victoria’s new younger group, founded by Jenna Spungin - WIZO Chaya - also held a very successful virtual Bingo evening. We look forward to following this group as they grow and develop into the next generation of WIZO members.
WIZO Masada will be hosting another virtual tour of the streets of Jerusalem and Machane Yehuda led by guide David Cherny on 8 November @ 4pm AEDT
. To join the link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83764918416
WIZO Kids put smiles on the faces of our Jewish Care residents and Smile on Seniors Oz, as their wonderful creative Rosh Hashanah cards with beautiful messages were well received.
The Jo Gostin OAM z’l appeal still going strong and for those wishing to donate please click here https://wizovic.secure.force.com/U/x000000IkafD
WIZO Victoria are still continuing to sell the WIZO branded face masks @ $15 each. You can support and purchase these by clicking here https://tinyurl.com/y2tsd4hj
With the dire situation of 900 000 Israeli’s not having enough food WIZO has stepped up as always to make a change! In support of this the WIZO Victoria Feed a Family Campaign has been launched and all details can be seen here https://wizovic.org.au/feedafamily/.
We implore you to donate to this needy cause.
NEW SOUTH WALES:
The annual raffle is in the works! Prizes are being gathered and the raffle booklets have now gone out. WIZO NSW hope to raise around $17,000 from this.
November is WIZO Education Month
– a month where school children across Sydney will hear about the outstanding work that WIZO does on the ground in Israel, and where WIZO members and friends will have the opportunity to hear from excellent keynote speakers from home and abroad.
To start our month with energy and inspiration, the first of our speakers will be Annabelle Williams OAM, Paralympic gold medallist, lawyer, Vice-President of Paralympics Australia, international motivational speaker and TV commentator. Annabelle will talk about the superheroes in her life who through compassion and kindness at critical times, helped her become who she is today. This will be on 8 November @ 7pm AEDT
. To register please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and a zoom link will be shared with you.
Over the past few years WIZO NSW has been so fortunate to be one of the many organizations to benefit from an amazing group of Australian Fund managers who have come together under The ORAH Fund to build an asset and ongoing stream of support for our community. These exceptional and generous fund managers will be presenting in a professional investor panel series which we believe will be extremely insightful for anyone who invests in the market (both locally, and globally). This is a truly unique opportunity to hear from so many different professional fund managers in one place.
The ORAH Fund is an innovative charitable venture that does NOT require donations from the community. Members of the community simply invest in a highly compelling fund-of-funds where the fund managers donate 100% of their fees to Jewish Charities. Their donation does not affect investment returns in any way.
To date, The ORAH Fund has donated over $840,000
to Jewish organizations around the world thanks to the support of their generous and exceptional underlying fund managers.
To register for these webinars on 17 and 24 November @ midday AEDT click here: http://webinar.orahfund.com.au
Fifty Shades of Today
- the time to conquer menopause and rediscover your libido is now! Join WIZO NSW on Zoom as they present the following speakers: Dr Ginni Mansberg, Tracey Cox and Jackie Frank on Sunday 29 November @ 7.30pm AEDT
Click here to register:
Plans for the 2021 Membership Campaign are underway. WIZO NSW are hard at work looking for their “WIZO Family” candid shots for the advertising and promotion material.
WIZO Queensland have once again produced a great newsletter and thanks here must go to Susan Segal, President of WIZO Aviva who continuously keeps the membership and the community engaged with her great and informative newsletters. Click here to read the October edition:
Susan is also on top of all the World WIZO posts by sharing them ‘hot off the press’ on the WIZO Queensland social media pages. Thanks Susan for continuing this great work.
WIZO Kesher under the guidance of Rose Toms and with the very able assistance of Peter Roberts, sent out an appeal flyer for the food crisis in Israel. From this initiative they have managed to raise in excess of $10,000 in less than 3 weeks. This remarkable group of women and men are absolutely inspiring and we thank them for their dedication to WIZO and Israel.
Sunday 20th September, Betty Dykes hosted a luncheon for one of their members Helen Honzatko who celebrated her 95th Birthday. She came from Prague and it was such a delight to hear some of her amazing story. A beautiful lady indeed. WIZO Kesher felt it was a privilege to be there.
WIZO Kesher continue to produce their very informative newsletters. Click below to read their latest October edition:
WIZO WESTERN AUSTRALIA:
It was decided not to go ahead with the Melbourne Cup Bridge and Mahjong lunch this year but sweep of some sort to bring in funds will still be arranged.
100th Celebration will be held on 29 November with a High Tea and a musical revue.
Mahjong continues to be a great fund and friend raiser. Another course has been completed and a big thanks to Esther Finkelstein and her helpers. A refresher course will be run if there is sufficient interest.
WIZO SOUTH AUSTRALIA:
A warm welcome to new Executive members Lesley Rosenthal and Sue Lefman who have shown much enthusiasm and shared their thoughts and ideas.
100th year of WIZO together with the 50th year of WIZO Ilana’s birthday celebrations brought in $4,400, which was a very good outcome from the hardworking team in in WIZO SA.
Ongoing sales of the Monday Morning Cooking Club Cookbooks has continued to go well thanks you to Hilary Dickman.
WIZO Ilana is holding a morning tea on 11 November at Beit Shalom and Lesley Rosenthal is the guest speaker with her topic being “THE TRAIN OF HOPE – SOUTH AFRICA’S PHELOPHEPA” – MEANING GOOD CLEAN HEALTH IN ENGLISH”.
So until next month, I thank you for all you do and look forward to hearing from you and hope you continue enjoying your commitment to WIZO. If you would like to send something for me to add into our newsletter, please feel free to do so and also please share this with your WIZO members, friends and family so they too can appreciate how much each and every one of you do for all those in our care in Israel.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” – Michael Jordan
With warmest WIZO wishes.
Paulette Cherny OAM
President, WIZO Australia