Over sixty delegates from 16 countries attended the 2008 WIZO Aviv International Seminar, held in Tel Aviv. An especially young and dynamic group of WIZO Aviv women took part in lectures and workshops on leadership, visits to WIZO projects and tourist sites, heard top-of-the-line speakers on the Israel-Arab conflict and on Jewish identity, shared their own projects with the group, and more.
Visits to the various WIZO projects were the highlight of the program. The group visited the fortified Bruce and Ruth Rappaport WIZO Day Care Center in Sderot, where the Aviv delegates learned firsthand about life in this beleaguered town. Their visit in an IDF Air Force base (also boasting WIZO day care centers) included a briefing from one of the pilots. The participants toured the WIZO Nachlat Yehuda School and Youth Village, conversed with the students, and enjoyed a performance by the Youth Village singing ensemble. A separate tour of Jerusalem included visits to Yad Vashem, the Western Wall, and the Freddy and Susi Bradfield WIZO Center.
From left: WIZO USA delegates Jael Toledo and Rosy Hardoon with the American flag.
Rachel Weinberger of WIZO Germany remarked, “Sylvie Pelossof, Chairperson of the World WIZO Department of Organization and Education, opened the conference telling us that WIZO is not only about numbers, but mainly about emotions, and this was truly a very emotional week. We sung, danced, laughed and cried; and saw, heard and learnt a great deal.”
“Before attending the Aviv Seminar I did not know what to expect. I was truly amazed by so many things: the incredible women from all over the world -- among others women from Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Holland, the United States, India, Brazil, Bulgaria, Israel, Panama, and South Africa -- filled with energy, love for the land of Israel, and concern for others; and an incredible program,” said Beatrice Coscas-Williams of WIZO Israel.
At the specially fortified Bruce and Ruth Rappaport WIZO Day Care Center (the first of its kind) in Sderot.
Laurienne Baitz of WIZO Durban, South Africa, noted, “Visiting the WIZO projects… was moving to us all. We were in awe of the commitment of the employees who give 100% to their charges and are clearly loved and appreciated by them. We were always welcomed with open arms, fed and made to understand that our contributions from the smallest upwards are most appreciated. This kind of visit fills up the 'Emotional Bank Account'. It is this emotional response that provides us with the very best motivation…”
Remona Divekar, the delegate from WIZO India, enthused: “I could go on and on about how eventful my day to day experiences were. I am so enriched and enlightened by the spirit of WIZO and its activities that words are not enough to describe it. I cannot give thanks enough to all the wonderful women from across the globe who participated in this program. They all taught me something valuable with the amazing qualities they had. Being with them was one of the best learning experiences I had.”
As one of the participants summed it up, “Coming to an Aviv Seminar means getting to know the extended WIZO family, and learning firsthand about WIZO projects. Coming to an Aviv Seminar means -- coming home.”
Susan Abramowitz and Holly Hornstein of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO plant a tree.