Messages and memories at 106th WIZO AGM

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Liat Amar-Arran, the director of the Israel Centre and a Jewish Agency representative, spoke about the “women who influenced her life” at the 106th annual general meeting of the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) recently.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Mar 12, 2020

Arran, who gave the keynote address, spoke about her grandmother and mother, giving insights into Jewish life in Tunisia, her mother growing up in a household of 15 children – 13 girls and two boys – and the early days prior to the formation of the state of Israel. Her vignettes kept everyone enthralled.

The AGM included Andrea Wainer who welcomed representatives of communal organisations, members and guests and presented the chairperson’s report, and Rabbi Zusman Uzvolk, who intoned the dvar Torah (words of Torah), highlighting the story of Purim and its meaning today.

Goodwill messages were brought by Benji Shulman from the South African Zionist Federation, who reminded everyone of the historic connection WIZO has with Zionism in South Africa. Gavi Sacks of the South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) spoke about the meaningful relationship WIZO has with SAFI through the “Wheelchairs of Hope” project, which gives mobility to disabled children. This initiative has put smiles on the faces of many impoverished children. Wendy Kahn of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies told the story of a Holocaust survivor she had met, and shared the emotional story of her survival.

WIZO Johannesburg administrator Lauren Phillips took the audience to World WIZO’s 100th anniversary in Tel Aviv, held in January. Seeing is believing, she said, and knowing where our money goes brings home the importance of WIZO’s work. The event hosted 800 women from 39 countries working for a common cause – am Yisrael (the Jewish nation). The exciting, high-level speakers, and fabulous opening and closing celebrations created a wonderful spirit of camaraderie. Phillips ended by saying that whoever had the opportunity of attending a WIZO EGM (extraordinary general meeting) should do so, as it was so inspirational.

Maxine Laffer presented the treasurer’s report. In 2019, WIZO Johannesburg operated with a rotating chairperson, and in spite of the difficult and depressed economic climate, achieved its quota through innovative fundraising.

The executive committee for 2020 was announced, with new co-chairs Joceline Basserabie, Nava Gonen, and Anat Shevel.

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