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Beit WIZO wore the colors of chag on Sunday in celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of our amazing movement.

July 16, 2015
Celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of WIZO
Beit WIZO wore the colors of chag on Sunday in celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of our amazing movement. Guests from World WIZO, WIZO Israel with its many branches, WIZO Centers, Druze chaverot in their flowing white headdresses, personnel from the schools and youth villages and WIZO personnel in Head Office, could hardly recognize the lobby of Beit WIZO which was decked with photographs spanning WIZO’s history. The guests were welcomed by Professor Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of the World WIZO Executive.

In the main hall, which was also festively decorated, the guests heard addresses from Prof. Lazovsky, Tova Ben-Dov, President of World WIZO and Gila Oshrat, Chairperson of WIZO Israel. Impressive words of congratulations from Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, and Yitzhak Herzog, leader of the opposition, were screened, to the delight of all present. Nostalgia took the form of a film of WIZO through the ages – pictures of the founders of WIZO, pictures of the children in the original Baby Homes, WIZO’s work with the women in the yishuv of Palestine, and the history of the development of the schools and youth villages, the Day Care Centers – so many short glimpses into the saga of WIZO.

Dan Shilon, who is a well-known moderator on Israeli television, hosts a program, a ”Circle’, in which various personalities speak about their world. At our WIZO celebratory event he moderated a panel, based on the same concept. Each one of the ‘guests’ described how WIZO had changed their world, each one from a different angle. They introduced themselves and spoke about what WIZO had done for them.

Shuli, who had lived in the Shelter for Battered Women spoke about her life during, and after, the shelter, the support that she continually receives and her hopes for a new jewelry business that she has begun.

Ada Camal, from the Daliat-el-Carmel, spoke of how WIZO was influencing the women to take more responsibility for their lives.

Mazi Ayalon, a member of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, was overjoyed to see Esti Cohen, the Director General of WIZO Nir Haemek, and could not contain her tears. The two hugged one another. Evacuees from Kibbutz Kfar Aza found serenity and safety in WIZO Nir Haemek during the Protective Edge campaign last summer.

Ben Guiziano, whose life and sanity were saved at WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim, described his life before WIZO, the horrific circumstances in which he lived, tossed from one relative to another, after his mother died, often abused. He took part in the Israel Award Scheme in the school. Ben had to fight to join the IDF, after he was originally rejected, and is now a ‘giver’ in society.

Deria Levitan, born in Russia, a pupil in WIZO Nahalal, spoke about the Annieres project, where she is working towards a engineering degree from the Haifa Technion.

Godai Avra Ayalon, born in Ethiopia, is now moderator in a group for girls and women in WIZO. She told everyone that she had been about to be married off when she was 16 and a ‘shidduch’ was arranged, with an agreement drawn up. When she saw what was happening she realized that she had to fight for herself, and that in Israel, she could fight for herself. She remained in school, causing a rift with her family! Today she leads a group of Ethiopian women in Kiryat Bialik, teaching them how to be independent, both emotionally and financially, showing them their capabilities and options.

After the guests of the ‘circle’ shared their stories, Professor Lazovsky paid tribute to the lifelong work of Raya Jaglom, Honorary Life President, and an icon in WIZO history. She presented her with a symbolic key, and wished her many more years of health.

Throughout the evening, the guests were entertained by the Song and Dance Ensembles from WIZO Nir Haemek.

The evening ended with messages from the Presidents and Chairpersons of the WIZO federations from around the world. Each one wished WIZO a very Happy Birthday, and many more to come.

It was a memorable event, which gave everyone a deep sense of pride at being part of the WIZO story. We welcome the next ninety five years with optimism and pride.

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