‘Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn't help us know what to say’ Lord Jonathan Sacks z’l
As December rolls around, it is great to see that Australia has begun to open up. Speaking for all Victorians, after so many days of no cases and no deaths, we can again begin to see life assuming more normalcy day by day. Our borders are opening to each other’s states which is a wonderful relief for those with families and close friends in various parts of Australia, to finally be able to catch up, to celebrate Smachot which have passed and hug and mourn with those who have lost important people in their lives.
With all of this, life is getting much busier but still the wheels of WIZO Australia keep turning and this is thanks to all of you out there. Your continued support for WIZO is incredible under the most trying of circumstances. You keep the goal in your sights and that of course, is ensuring we take the best care possible of those Israeli citizens we need to ensure have a better life.
November was World Children's Day and we should each consider how much we all do to ensure that our children in Israel are well cared for. At this unique of times in our lifetime, we have continued to fundraise to ensure they have at least one hot meal and a minimum two other meals per day. This is what WIZO does and can only do because of you.
I must commend at this time WIZO Victoria’s Feed a Family Campaign, as this fundraising is solely going towards the needs of our families in dire circumstances, as the situation in Israel with lockdowns has been diabolical. I know that WIZO Western Australia is also launching a similar campaign and I would like to take my hat off to WIZO Kesher who decided to fundraise for this cause and within 3 weeks raised in excess of $16,000. Kol Hakavod to all and as we receive the funds, they are immediately sent to Israel.
November was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence. World WIZO marked this day with a week long campaign highlighting the devastating statistics. I hope you follow World WIZO's social media platforms as this issue will be front and centre, particularly during the times of COVID-19 as it has been far too painful to ignore.
Did you know WIZO runs two battered women’s shelters, in a protected and secluded environment for women and their children, and prepares them for independent and violence free lives? This year WIZO Israel, together with the Israeli Government opened another shelter to deal with the rise in family violence during COVID and to keep the women and children safe under these circumstances. WIZO also operates centres for the prevention of violence where families come for treatment while staying together, and also a help line for violent men seeking assistance. There has been an increase in cases of domestic violence since the COVID-19
lockdown. As at writing this, there have been 20 women murdered by domestic violence in Israel since the beginning of this year. The Labour and Social Services Ministry’s domestic-abuse hotline 118 reported a 130% increase in calls during this time. These numbers have increased but to date, these are the statistics I could find. This is a worldwide problem unfortunately, so we must do everything we can to support the main victims of domestic violence, women and children, and ensure we reach out and support anyone you might know who needs your support. Should you or anyone you know require assistance please contact 1800 RESPECT OR 1800 737 732.
Again it has been a particularly busy month for all of WIZO in Australia and I would just like to mention some of the zooms etc that we in WIZO Australia have been involved with.
WIZO Victoria and WIZO NSW came together on Sunday morning 15th
November for what promised to be a fascinating address by Jason Greenblatt,
who was instrumental in working and achieving the signing of the Abraham Accords. And fascinating it was!! From start to finish the webinar was extremely professionally done. Diane Symonds, President of WIZO NSW with a very welcoming and interesting introduction of Jason. The facilitators were Emily Gian from Melbourne and Ron Wiser AM from New South Wales. Both these facilitators are very well versed on international politics. Jason spoke extremely well and advised how this agreement actually came about, and kudos to him as he was speaking from Dubai at 4am. To finish off the webinar, Ronit Chrapot, President of WIZO Victoria extended thank you to all involved. I was so sorry that more people did not attend. This was supposed to be a fundraising event by both states and it was unfortunate that only about 126 people, from all over Australia, joined to support this informative and fundraising opportunity.
On the evening of the 18th
November, WIZO Australia were so delighted to present a zoom with Evelyn Chenkin,
introduced by Ingrid Rockberger from World WIZO. We advertised this far and wide and had about 60 people join us. There were some WIZO members but also many who were outside the WIZO family. Evelyn’s story is quite an amazing one of heroism, bravery and resilience. Evelyn went into France with no papers and saved Jewish children from homes and convents they had been hidden in. Some of these homes were in the country so she had quite a lot of travel to do without papers which at that time would have been quite frightening. Evelyn mentioned some of the people by name but there was one person she would very much like to be in touch with, who she believes lives in Australia. Her name is Lily Samuels (her maiden name) and if anyone knows this person, please be in contact with me on the email address below. To a person, we all hung on every word that Evelyn said and below are some of the comments we have received following this talk. If you would like a copy of this talk, please contact President@wizoaustralia.org.au
and I will send it to you.
Here are just a few of the emails I received…..
‘Thank you so much Paulette and WIZO Australia for giving me the opportunity. What a woman of valour and wisdom.’
‘Janet and I thank you for arranging the ZOOM meeting last night with Evelyn Chenkin.
What an inspiration she is…warms the heart to see her vibrancy, enthusiasm and sense of power. She has blessed us immensely’. (this is from a couple who are very involved with WIZO Kesher in Queensland, a non Jewish group).
‘I have never been so impressed with a 98year old lady to be able to recall all her missions she did in France, saving children. Thank you’
‘Thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Evelyn Chenkin speak. Would it be possible to send me the recording as I would love to hear it again?’
(this is from someone in Cape Town)
On Sunday 22nd
November I, together with Hilary Cohen, Sylvia Green and Ronit Chrapot sat in on the ZFA Biennial Conference. Attached please find my report here (Report
Talking about AGM’s etc, I have recently attended in my role as President of WIZO Australia at the JCCV AGM, the Zionism Victoria AGM, the WIZO Victoria AGM and this Sunday will be the ECAJ AGM so as you can see, November must be the month of AGMs. We wish to thank all the outgoing Presidents and Executives for their efforts in leading their important organisations and welcome and wish Mazel Tov to the incoming Presidents and Executives. WIZO Australia looks forward to working with you all going forward.
I would also like to officially welcome Ronit Chrapot as the President of WIZO Victoria, as the AGM was finally held on Tuesday night, 24th November. I would like to thank Helen Granek (Blonde) and Sylvia Green for carrying the baton over the past year, plus under the most difficult of circumstances topped off but an anus horribilis for most of 2020. Welcome to all the new Executive members and it was great to see so many members in attendance on the zoom.
Shabbat Chayei Sara was on the weekend of 13th
November. As always, where and how possible I believe this was celebrated in both Victoria and New South Wales. WIZO NSW have Education week at this time of year and some of their women attended Shule services to celebrate this special WIZO Shabbat. Many of our Victorian women were asked to speak online during Kabbalat Shabbat and I was very fortunate to be one of these women. I was introduced by Brett Kaye of St Kilda Shule, who has a musical Kabbalat Shabbat with Isaac and Alex who are such talented young men, and I felt very privileged to be invited to speak about WIZO. Please find the link to this recording here.https://fb.watch/1SMgZeaF1X/
I feel this is such an important Shabbat that we should once again try to introduce this around Australia, so I call on all our states to diarise this particular Shabbat and reach out to your Shules to make it a WIZO Shabbat. I would ask WIZO representatives from each state to attend the various Shules and be given an opportunity to speak about the incredible work that WIZO does. Unfortunately, hard as we try, sometimes we need to try even harder and appeal to different areas of the community to talk about what we do.
Talking about community, our Community Liaison Chairperson, Nina Richwol is always out and about spreading the WIZO and Israel word. She has had many meetings over the past month and invited many of the people on the various organisations she represents as WIZO, to come along to our zooms. Many have joined and they are loving touring with us as well as hearing some wonderful speakers. One of the contacts she recently had a meeting with was the Baha’i community who are very interested in hearing more about the work we do. Below you can see the photo of Nina with the Baha'i representatives and I am also attaching her report (Community Liaison Report
) which I really recommend you read, as the work Nina does is so beneficial to ensuring excellent relationships with various communities.
On 6th December at 8pm AEDT
, our WIZO Australia Membership Chairman, Penny Goodman, has organised a most interesting webinar. We always say that women should be members so that we can keep our status at the UN. The question is asked as to why
this is so important and Penny has put together a wonderful panel of women, who are our representatives and are very involved at the UN, and are constantly working towards the betterment of lives of women and children throughout the world. Evelyn Sommer in New York and Hava Bugajer-Gleitman in Vienna are dedicated WIZO women and have been working with the UN for many years. Leonie Baranes who is a Law Student and UN Representative for WIZO in the young generations working group in Vienna will also be joining us. Leonie is under 30 and we are hoping to attract not only the rank and file membership, and many other younger women, but also many others who do not understand why our membership is so important. They will speak about their lobbying in areas of the environment as well as working to ensure a better life for all women and children and to end slavery.
DO NOT MISS
this amazing evening. Register here: https://www.trybooking.com/BMLDV
As I am hoping you would all be aware, we are still posting our wonderful 100 years of WIZO Australia women and I do hope that you are following us on
It is important that we pay homage to our own foremothers as they are the ones who have given WIZO Australia the tools to do what we are still doing today, but in our more modern way.
AROUND THE STATES.......................
Below please find events organized by our wonderful members around Australia. Please support these opportunities to engage with our WIZO sisterhood.
Mitzvah Day Australia (http://mitzvahday.org.au/)
was held on 15 November and our WIZO Victoria groups participated in various community initiatives.
WIZO Kids collaborated with Impact and packed 2000 lolly bags that were distributed to kids in need in Victoria. WIZO Masada collected non-perishable household items for local community residents. WIZO Matan joined CCare and packed buddy friendship boxes for the Buddy Initiative programme.
WIZO Victoria held their AGM on the 24th November. I was honoured to be the MC for this Zoom event.
Beautiful words were spoken by Sylvia Green in memory of Jo Gostin OAM z'l. A Rebecca Sieff award was presented to Helen Granek(Blonde) for her amazing work as WIZO Victoria President. Further recognition awards were presented to Josef Wilkinson, Judith Baueberg, Lily Zamel, Chavivah van der Plaat and Nina Richwol.
Recognition for honours by Maya Lee was acknowledged to Marlis Cohen OAM z’l, Bella Hirshorn AM and myself for my OAM. Sylvia Green and Helen Granek (Blonde) were thanked for their commitment and wonderful work they have done in the past years as WIZO Victoria Co-Presidents. Ronit Chrapot was elected as WIZO Victoria's new President and the Executive for 2020 was announced.
WIZO Victoria is very pleased to announce that their rebranding is finalised and will be launching with the membership campaign for 2021.
The groups are keeping busy with variety of zooms and all the donations are directed to Feed a Family Campaign.
Upcoming events to register for:
Sunday 29 November @ 730pm WIZO Matan zoom Chanukah cooking demo with Nina Maaya:
Tuesday 1 December @ 3pm WIZO Masada afternoon tea zoom 'Still Calling Australia Home'. Learn more about some local travel and what our own wonderful and diverse country has to offer, from experts in the industry who I have the pleasure of introducing.
See flyer here:
Sunday 6 December @ 4.30pm WIZO Masada zoom 'Jews in London, One Thousand Years in One Hour'. Discover the streets and alleys of London and hear about the history of Jews in England. See flyer here:
NEW SOUTH WALES:
Six Melbourne Cup events raised significant funds this year (over $20,000), given the COVID restrictions and one group hosted a phantom event. 88 guests over six venues; fascinators, food and friendship was enjoyed by all.
The annual raffle is well underway and will be drawn at a WIZO Ayelet event early December.
Membership campaign 2021 - new faces have been chosen to represent the various demographics of members.
Sunday 8 November Annabelle Williams OAM , International Motivational Speaker, Paralympic Gold Medallist, Lawyer and Board Director, captivated Zoomers with her inspirational story.
Sunday 29 November @ 7.30pm 'Fifty Shades of Today' - the time to conquer menopause and rediscover your libido is now! Join WIZO NSW and Dunera on zoom as they present the following speakers: Dr Ginni Mansberg, Tracey Cox and Jackie Frank. Click here to register:
WIZO Aviva under its President Susan Segal have had functions with COVID restrictions in place. "The 100th year celebration of The Light Horse Brigade" documentary film was screened with a presentation by a veteran who did much research on this incredible Brigade. A delicious afternoon tea was served. Susan continually puts out her WIZO Aviva Monthly Newsletters and also her Shabbat greetings every week. She also keeps WIZO Queensland's Facebook page up to date with interesting news from Israel.
WIZO Queensland has fulfilled its Quota which included $16,000.00 to the Feed a Family Campaign for Israel.
Credit here goes to WIZO Kesher's Rose Toms assisted by Betty Dykes, Margot Gray and Peter Roberts for their absolutely incredible support for this appeal. WIZO Kesher always put their heart and soul into anything “special” that they are asked to contribute to, and also are always assisting in every way possible to fulfil the yearly quota. WIZO Kesher Executive, Members and Friends have a love for Israel that holds no bounds.
Sylvia Lipski' s contribution to WIZO Queensland’s funds, management of the raffles and other fundraising ways are always noticed. Her amazing ability to go out and ask for money for WIZO is such an asset. Her general assistance to Pamela Huppert, WIZO Queensland President is greatly appreciated. Sylvia helped raise funds for a Sand Brick to honour the OAM presented to Dr A Michael Briner for his dedication to Ophthalmology and the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation, and his wife Linda, WIZO Queensland's Treasurer, for her 50 years dedication to WIZO Queensland.
Presentation of brick certificate to the Briners
Raffle winner, Rosemary Solomon
Sunday 22 November the WIZO Queensland Executive and their partners celebrated an end of year get together in the form of a luncheon, followed by a short Executive meeting to discuss a date for WIZO Queensland to celebrate WIZO’s 100th year, and discuss ways of raising funds for the coming year.
Presentation of certificates of thanks to Sylvia Lypski and Pamela Huppert
Sunday 29 November WIZO Aviva held an evening with the “Three Tenors”, a film and presentation telling the life story of these three amazing singers. The presenter was Denis Wayper who researchers his subjects well and puts together some very interesting films.
WIZO WESTERN AUSTRALIA:
WIZO's 100th High Tea and musical revue of WIZO through the years has been postponed to early February. It was discovered that there was a significant problem with the venue and they wouldn’t be able to have the stage installed due to another function prior to this. The cast have also had a number of health issues, but have soldiered on nevertheless. Half the tickets were already sold and these attendees look forward to hearing of a new date soon.
The WIZO Mahjong Club had a full house for Melbourne Cup day. A list of special hands, including one especially created for the Cup were tried and prizes were given to those who successfully completed them. Spot prizes added to the fun. A lunch break enabled everyone to watch the running of the Cup on the big screen. It was a most enjoyable day.
Sunday 15 November Mitzvah Day saw WIZO WA partnering with Habonim Dror and collecting non-perishable food items and back-to-school requirements for children, which will all be donated to a local charity helping needy families.
WIZO SOUTH AUSTRALIA:
WIZO 's 100th year birthday appeal funds were raised and have gone towards the kitchen at Ahuzat Yeladim. A plaque acknowledging this donation has gone upon the board.
Wednesday 11 November, WIZO Ilana held a morning tea which was well attended. Lesley Rosenthal was the guest speaker and a substantial mount of funds from this event was raised.
I would like to wish you all a Happy Chanukah and may your lights burn brightly over this time and also for the years to come. Thank you for everything you do and my quote below applies to each and every one of you as you are a light to those in our care in Israel.
“A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” - Moshe Davis
With warmest WIZO wishes.
Paulette Cherny OAM
President, WIZO Australia