History of the establishment of Aviv Groups and the International WIZO Aviv Seminar
In 1957, during a mission to Latin America, Mrs. Faye Grove-Pollak, then Head of the World WIZO Department of Organization and Education, realized that the "generation gap" often prevented young women from joining their mothers and grandmothers as WIZO members. This situation required a solution.
With this in mind, Mrs. Grove-Pollak founded a group of young women who were to be a continuing generation and a source of future leadership, called "Aviv" - Spring. As she traveled from one country to another, on this mission and others, she continued forming Aviv groups. Later, other Federations established Aviv groups at her suggestion.
Today Aviv groups work in concert within local Federations in addition to functioning independently in the areas of organization and education and in initiating their own fundraising events.
International WIZO Aviv Seminars
In 1965, in Paris, the first regional European Aviv meeting took place, with sixty-one Aviv delegates arriving from nine European countries.
Before the beginning of the 15th World WIZO Conference which took place in Israel in 1966, the First International Aviv Rally was held, preceded by a ten-day seminar-tour involving 46 Aviv delegates from ten different countries. The Rally, a day before the Conference, included the overseas members and 100 Aviv delegates from Israel.
From 1972, Rachel Limon continued the tradition of Aviv begun by Faye Grove-Pollak. Being cognizant of the needs of the continuing generation, she brought in her perception of WIZO as a movement which would contribute to the Aviv members themselves, providing them with the inspiration and content which would lead to commitment to WIZO and to Jewish continuity. At her initiative, World WIZO adopted the following important principles:
• That International WIZO Aviv Seminars should become an annual
• That Jerusalem should be a focal point in the Seminar program
• That the participation of delegates be sponsored by the Federations
• That participation in the Seminar serve as a reward for promising talent
From 1972 through 1979, Seminars were held sporadically. In 1979 the first INTERNATIONAL WIZO AVIV SEMINAR took place in Israel, establishing a tradition which continues every year to this day (except those years in which there is a World WIZO Conference). The Seminar program includes workshops on the subjects of Jewish identity, Zionism, organization, leadership, and fundraising. Tours are included to acquaint the Aviv chaverot with WIZO institutions throughout Israel. Emphasis is placed on creating strong emotional bonds among all the Seminar participants, and an important highlight of the Seminar is its nature as a unifying experience. The aim is for the participants return to their home Federations highly motivated, with a deeper commitment to their Jewish/Zionist heritage and to WIZO.
The 10th International WIZO Aviv Seminar in 1989, "From Holocaust to Rebirth," became a historical event in its own right, combining a reunion of delegates from previous Seminars with a group of new participants in a physical, spiritual and emotional journey which began in Paris, continued to Holocaust sites in Poland, and culminated in Israel.
In 1992 Dr. Rivka Lazovsky, in her capacity as Head of the Organization and Education Department of World WIZO, took responsibility for WIZO Aviv and the International Seminars. From 1992 to 1995, the themes of WIZO Aviv International Seminars included: "Sepharad '92", commemorating 500 years from the Expulsion from Spain, "Peace", marking the beginning of a new era of peace, and "The Jewish Family", commensurate with the UN Year of the Family. As Chairperson of the Department of Organization and Education from 1996-2003, Mrs. Miriam (Micky) Laufer was responsible for the International WIZO Aviv Seminars, including "From Basle to Jerusalem" in 1997, commemorating 100 years of modern Zionism, which took place in Switzerland and Israel. Since 2004, Mrs. Sylvie Pelossof has been responsible for organizing the International WIZO Aviv Seminars.