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      Newsletter from the desk of

The President of WIZO Australia


           INFORM – INVIGORATE - INSPIRE          

My dear Chaverot,

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney
Hard to believe another month has rolled around as it has been pretty busy in WIZO Australia and the states during this time.  It is wonderful to see that all the states have been proactive and keeping in contact with their members, as well as having meetings for those who can and no doubt lots of zooms for the rest of us.  I think many have been gazoomed out!!!

Both WIZO Queensland and WIZO South Australia have been able to have face to face meetings about which many of us are just a bit envious of and cannot wait for the day we can also do this.  WIZO in Victoria in Lockdown 4 is no fun and I am concerned some of us might get ‘cabin fever’ but trying to keep busy with WIZO.

One of the major benefits of zoom and lockdown is that we are able to attend ‘functions’ that otherwise we may not be able to.  I was invited to the farewell for Mark and Sara Sofer.  Mark is the outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Australia and this was hosted by ECAJ, ZFA and AIJAC and was a very nice affair.  No food or drink but everyone saved costs and of course no flights required.  Respect and homage was paid to Mark particularly for the incredible job he has done in his 3 years and the many areas of Government and business he has impacted during his time here.  Also Sara was praised for her ongoing work with the Pacific Islands, where she reached out and travelled to, as part of her position being the Israeli representative for this.  A Scholarship was presented to Mark and Sara as a parting gift for the Mark and Sara Sofer Fellowship, where an Australian student will receive $10,000 to assist in tuition, accommodation and travel costs for tertiary studies in Israel, specifically in the area of cyber security or international relations – fields in which the Ambassador has taken active interest and initiative.  This was received with great delight and emotion by both Mark and Sara as they said they could not ask for anything better than this.

Having met both Mark and Sara on many occasions, on behalf of all of you and as President of WIZO Australia, I sent a letter to them wishing them every success. Here you can find their response which was very heart warming.

For those of you who attended the last Federal Executive meeting, you would be aware that I had invited all WIZO members to the first part of this as I had asked Chris Cannan, Australian Ambassador to Israel to be in touch with us from Israel, as he too will be departing this role in September.  I have been most fortunate to have got to know Chris even before he left for Israel as I reached out to him in Melbourne to present the work that WIZO does and he was duly impressed.  Since that time, Chris has visited some of our projects and has been a great supporter of WIZO Australia.   In January 2020, Chris joined we who attended at the 80th Birthday celebration of Ahuzat Yeladim.  Also part of this celebration was the opening of the Jonas Dormitory where the Mayor of Haifa plus many World WIZO Executive members joined us for this festive occasion.

As I have often said to Chris, he was my most consistent friend in Israel outside of WIZO and family when I visited.  Unfortunately, as requested by Chris, we were unable to record his address which was informative and showed his affinity to Israel and how he has become deeply involved in all aspects, particularly within the cyber security and diplomacy and will be sorry to leave.  He joked his polite reserve has become more clear, direct and assertive.  He loved the Israeli attitude of “Get things done”.  He was also pleased that Israel had begun Little Nippers which is a new programme for them.  He spoke passionately about the amazing work that WIZO does and how it helps frame and support the social welfare in Israel.  For us, in WIZO and also Australia, he has been a wonderful representative and we all look forward to finding out who his successor will be. Chris promised that he will certainly recommend they contact WIZO to ensure they are across the incredible work we do in Israel.  I believe that WIZO NSW will be having him as a guest on his return to Australia, so keep a look out for this zoom which I hope we will all have the opportunity to attend. 
At this meeting of WIZO Australia, we also showed the video made by WIZO USA celebrating the 100th Anniversary of WIZO which is a bit of fun, and keep your eyes out for a few of us WIZO Australia ladies performing with the rest of the world.  I did invite others to join but none did which was a shame as our representation was minimal.  ENJOY!!!

The past couple of years have been very difficult for us in WIZO in Australia as we lost two amazing WIZO women, who over their many years made such a difference to the organisation.

 Rose Fekete z’l was a stalwart of WIZO NSW.  I first met Rose at a WIZO Aviv Conference in Israel and our relationship clicked from first meeting.  She was warm, friendly, committed and incredibly focused on working with children, and all who met her, loved her.  WIZO NSW had a fundraising drive and here you can find the details of what this fundraising has achieved in Rose’s name.  This is something I believe that Rose would be so proud to have her name attached to, as it fulfils her major passion about WIZO.

 Josette (Jo) Gostin OAM z’l was well known to all in WIZO ,both in Australia and overseas.  Her passing was an enormous loss to us all and WIZO Victoria is in the middle of a fundraising drive, so that she can be honoured at Ahuzat Yeladim, a school she was always so committed to.  This will be a Recreation Room in her name, which will allow the youth to have quality time-out in a wonderful space, and also will give the staff some well-earned time-out as well. This is ongoing so if you have not yet donated and feel you would like to, please head to

Most of you would be aware that WIZO Australia have been given the opportunity to partner with Taglit Birthright and have a bus for this programme.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the scheduled trip for December 2020 will not take place so we are looking towards either July 2021 or December 2021.  To ensure we keep enthusiasm going and giving us a chance to reach out to many of the youth, last Sunday afternoon, WIZO Australia partnered with Taglit Birthright and the ZFA to have a most informative zoom session.  Prof Ada Spitzer (VP Taglit Birthright Israel) joined us with a very comprehensive overview of what Birthright has to offer.  Also some facts and figures that 113,000 Australian youth have participated in this programme in the 10 years it has been operating.  It is the largest Jewish/Zionist youth movement of young people to visit Israel.  This is a 10 day educational trip for 18-26 year olds and our bus can have 40.  There have been 750,000 participants from 68 countries and there are 50,000 participants who attend each year.
Claudia Goodman, daughter of our Membership Chairman and all round very committed WIZO woman Penny Goodman, addressed us as an alumnus of 2019 Birthright programme.  For anyone who is not sure of the benefits, I urge you to watch this video and you will see all the details of why any youth who meet the criteria, particularly  those on the periphery of the Jewish community should join our WIZO/Birthright bus in 2021.
Click here
We are all aware of the recent Israel–United Arab Emirates peace agreement, or the "Abraham Accord", which was agreed to by Israel and the United Arab Emirates on 13 August 2020.  This is a huge move in the right direction for warming relations with the Arab states and Israel which we all applaud.  I am attaching a letter received from Esther Mor on her visit to Bahrain a couple of years ago where there is a thriving Jewish Community.  Who knows, maybe Bahrain will be next?

Recently WIZO in Israel has been instrumental in working with the Government for pay equality for women and men.  This has recently been adopted and we commend, as always, our WIZO women and what they consistently achieve for all sectors of Israeli society.  This is a ground breaking event that WIZO has helped to broker and we are so proud of our WIZO sisters in Israel, who work at the coalface of the needs of the citizens. 

Below is an excerpt of an email sent by Anita Friedman, Chairperson of World WIZO.

"We are delighted and proud to share some great news: In a dramatic achievement for WIZO in promoting the rights of Israeli women in the workplace, WIZO's Equal Pay for Women and Men Bill was passed into law by the Knesset yesterday. The new law obligates employers to publish an annual report detailing the pay gaps between their male and female employees. This transparency will help women achieve fairness and equality in their wages. Behind this success are the initiative and intense lobbying efforts of WIZO Israel, and the partnership of Member of Knesset Etty Atia, who sponsored the bill. As Ora Korazim, Chairperson of WIZO Israel notes in media interviews, “this bill is a key milestone in the ongoing and just struggle to reduce gender gaps in the labor market and to promote equality in all areas of life. The wage gap between men and women in Israel currently stands at 32%, despite the fact that there is a law on the books that requires equal pay for both sexes. From now on, every employer will think twice before discriminating when it comes to the wages of their male and female employees."

The inimitable Rolene Marks recently visited the Golan Heights together with Lt Col Eyal Dror, highlighting the work that the IDF with their amazing humanitarian work. They have facilitated, at great danger to themselves organising medical assistance to Syrian Refugees. This was called ‘Operation Good Neighbour’ and this interview is definitely worth listening to as it will give you great pride and have some tissues ready.

WIZO Australia is honouring ‘100 YEARS OF WIZO WOMEN IN AUSTRALIA WHO HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE’ with a social media campaign, featuring our own WIZO Australia foremothers who began this organisation in 1937 and have created such a wonderful role models that we have tried to emulate.  Please follow the WIZO Australia Facebook page and @wizoaus on Instagram, like and share and pay homage to those amazing pioneers who have gone before us.  Thanks to Tania Black and Miriam Millingen for all their research.

I always enjoy doing my monthly newsletter as I do enjoy bringing the news about the doings of WIZO Australia, as well as the happenings for the various states. 

WIZO AROUND THE STATES...........................................

Our WIZO Groups continue to host an array of Zoom events.
WIZO Matan hosted local Physician and Author, Leah Kaminsky who discussed one of her books ‘The Waiting Room’ which covers motherhood, immigration, belonging and how to live in a world with uncertainty. Follow WIZO Matan on their Facebook page to keep your eye out for another upcoming event with Author Jeremy Kalbstein and Courage to Care as they explore the topic of “being an up-stander not a bystander’.

WIZO Dor and WIZO Matan will be hosting a panel of women discussing working in male dominated fields. The event “Winning in Heels – Breaking the Glass Ceiling” will be moderated by Rebecca Davis, Features Editor for the AJN. To register click

WIZO Masada hosted another virtual tour led by guide David Cherny. This time David took all 180 participants on a very interesting, picturesque and informative tour of Zichron Yaakov.  David will be doing another virtual tour of Jerusalem and Mamilla Mall on Sunday 6 September @ 4pm. To join the link is

WIZO David hosted a live cooking demo hosted by Foodalicious. A delicious meal comprising chicken with za’atar and sumac, roasted vegetable curry and a tomato, lentil and labneh salad certainly whet the appetite of all participants.  

WIZO Tova will be hosting a Bingo evening on Sunday 30 August. This has been a sell-out.

WIZO Victoria’s array of Masterclasses include:
- A Challah bake with Chef Yaniv Rosen of Danish Nosh. See live video to make your Challah  Access Passcode: xfn@5=ie
- A discussion about the importance of resilience and good mental health in young women was held with guest Lillian Kline in conversation with Flourish Girl CEO, Mandy Dante.
- Cooking demo making Israeli food with The Left-handed chef on 2 September.
To become involved in any of these activities, please contact:

WIZO NSW is currently mopping up their Centenary Campaign by making those all-important calls to their donors and members.

Fresh tomato soup and homemade pita bread will be available to WIZO members pre Rosh Hashanah, thanks to the generous Amaze in Taste caterer’s. This is a great community initiative in such difficult COVID times.

WIZO NSW's Golden Oldies honey cake distribution will be taking place once again, provided by Lewis Continental Kitchenowner Judith Lewis has delighted seniors with her delicious cake for ten years. Volunteers will be delivering these all over Sydney to the seniors who enjoy the interaction making this another wonderful initiative.

The annual raffle is in the works! Prizes are being gathered and the raffle booklets will soon go to print. Books will be mailed out after the Chaggim and WIZO NSW hope to raise around $17,000.

To become involved in any of these activities, please contact:

Sylvia Lipski continues to organise and run raffles throughout the year which raises many $’s for WIZO. Her diligence in collecting and donating all items to put in the raffle baskets is greatly appreciated.

Pamela Huppert, President of WIZO Queensland is working hard on creating a young group in Brisbane.

WIZO Kesher continue to produce their very informative and inspiring newsletters. See August edition here

To find out more, please contact:
WIZO AVIVA are holding their annual Games Night on Sunday 30 August.
WIZO Kadima are holding a Father’s Day craft session.
WIZO WA is holding a raffle for a 3 night stay in Duns borough which will be drawn on 8 September. To enter click

To become involved in any of these activities, please contact: 

In WIZO a WIZO woman’s work is never done and with this in mind, Annette Simmons is continuing to ring members for their birthday campaign.

WIZO South Australia is launching a Sponsor a Child programme through their WIZO groups and supporters and we wish them every success with this.

To find out more, please contact:

Please reach out to me if you feel there is something you would like included in future newsletters and I would appreciate if you could share this far and wide.


I would like to wish you all Shana Tova and Well Over the Fast.  It certainly will be a different Yom Tov in 2020.

With warmest WIZO wishes – stay safe and healthy.

Paulette Cherny OAM
President, WIZO Australia 

Copyright © 2020 WIZO Australia, All rights reserved.

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