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Bayside Bahai Community invitation to Building Bridges afternoon

“My grandparents were Jewish. Mine too! I was born in Tel Aviv. Me too! My parents spoke Hebrew  when they didn’t want me to know something. And, my parents spoke Polish when they didn’t want  me to know something”. I could have been speaking to a cousin whose life experience mirrored my  own. With whom was I speaking? I was in conversation with Manizheh Davies member of Bayside  Bahai Community at a Building Bridges afternoon aimed at strengthening friendship bonds with WIZO  Victoria and other Bayside community organisations.

What a delight it was to encounter a Bahai devotee who values her Jewish Heritage and welcomes the  beginning of a warm friendship with another Jewish person. The Bayside Bahai Community afternoon  focused on the topic of Advancing the Role of Women in Society and featured speakers from National  Council of Jewish Women, Tara Buddhist Institute, Vietnamese Association of Victoria Association and the Lebanese Council of Victoria. Each speaker presented ideas about how to provide equal  opportunities for women and raise the status of women.

Three WIZO members were invited to the event. Sisters Deborah Diamond and Sally-Ann Jaye both  members of WIZO Nirim and I, accepted the invitation and Deborah and Sally-Ann proved to be warm,  friendly and intelligent WIZO representatives.

National Council of Women of Victoria 60th Annual Anniversary Australia Day Pioneer  Women’s Ceremony 18 January 2021

The annual ceremony acknowledges past and present Australian women pioneers in research,  community support and civic and ethnic community affairs. This year the focus was on Pioneer  Women in Medical Research. Guest Speaker Prof Susan Sawyer, Director of the Royal Children’s  Hospital Centre for Adolescent Health, spoke about new global World Health Organisation and  UNESCO standards for promoting adolescent health at school. I attended the ceremony on behalf of  WIZO Victoria and Australia.

WIZO Masada Virtual tours of Israel

At the Australia Day Pioneer Women’s Ceremony, I introduced myself to a group of women as a  member of WIZO, a Jewish women’s organization. When it said this Helen Hu, a member of the  Australia Chinese Businesswomen’s Association excitedly told me how much she enjoyed WIZO  Masada’s virtual tours of Jerusalem. I mention this conversation to the Federal Executive to illustrate  how effective the virtual tours are in reaching out to other women’s organisations both locally and  internationally. The tours provided WIZO and Israel with an audience we would otherwise struggle to  attract.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 27 January 2021

“I think that the message this day sends, jells very much with Soroptimist ideals and most certainly my  Catholic faith. It is for all of us to ensure that such a thing as the Holocaust never happens again”. “May  we indeed strive to overcome hatred and prejudice in our world”. “I enjoyed this (commemoration)  very much, it was so well put together”. These are comments from members of various women’s  organisations who accepted the link I sent to view the virtual Australian International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration.

United Nations Association, Victoria, Status of Women Committee meeting,  12 January 2021

I am very grateful to World WIZO for informing members about WIZO Israel’s wide-ranging publicity  campaign to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2020 and to raise public awareness of the issue.

I reported to the Status of Women Committee that Anita Friedman, World Chairperson of Women’s  International Zionist Organisation has called the increase in violence against women during the Covid 19 lockdown in Israel and in many parts of the world “the pandemic within the pandemic”. Anita  Friedman’s email included a list of actions by taken by WIZO to bring the issue to public awareness.  Receiving detailed information and links from WIZO Israel about its responses to emerging situations  is an excellent way to distribute WIZO information to other community organisations.

Dear Federal Executive, although much of my report outlines Victorian events, many of the women’s  organisations I encounter are represented in your states. Your members have the opportunity to  outreach to these organisations and spread WIZO news far and wide. Please contact me if you would  like to have a chat about the role of WIZO Community Liaison Officer. Fundraising is essential for us  and so is friendraising.

(Definition: Friendraising is a form of fundraising that involves befriending an organization or  individual for the purpose of supporting the financial aspect of a charity, non-profit group or other  community benefit organization.) Friend Raising Author, Betty Barnet


Nina Richwol 
Community Liaison officer
WIZO Australia

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