My dear friends,
Yesterday World WIZO celebrated its 98th Anniversary. 98 years of blessed work to carry out our sacred cause - to promote and provide equal education; to advance the status of women in Israel in all fields and on all levels, to preserve the Jewish history, legacy, tradition and culture in the Diaspora and to strengthen the Jewish identity and bond between World Jewry and the State of Israel.
The WIZO movement really is the realization of Zionist women's love for Eretz Israel by preserving the past, providing for the present and guaranteeing the future, and we can all be proud of the role we each play in this sometimes miraculous mission. We DO make a difference; we DO change for the better - lives of those we provide services for; we DO provide a second chance for equal education for youth "dropped out" of other educational systems; we DO help women and their children obtain a domestic violence free reality; we DO advance the legal, social, professional and financial rights of women in Israel.
But in spite of all our achievements and they are many, our work is far from done. The society in Israel still needs WIZO and WIZO needs you. You - the backbone, the core and the driving force that enables WIZO, to carry out its work, to turn dreams and visions into reality.
Israel without WIZO is like Adam without Eve, Abraham without Sara, Yithak without Rebecca, because at the heart of every Jewish family is the Jewish woman, wife and mother. In the prayer Eshet Chayil and Proverbs 31 it says “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” The amazingly virtuous and hard-working woman described in Proverbs 31 is a blessing to everyone around her. Does this not portray every WIZO woman?
WIZO's strength lies in its unity and ability to adapt to the ever changing reality in which we operate. It puts many challenges and obstacles in our way , but we have and will continue to overcome them – no matter what.
I will conclude with a quote from a woman, in whose footsteps I am proud to follow. Her words spoken over 50 years ago, still ring true today.
“In spirit, we are united, and in that spirit, we shall – we must – go forward. Grimly difficult days lie ahead of us. We shall need every ounce of our strength, every shred of our courage, our minds, our hearts, our souls. It has been given to our generation to fulfill the historic destiny of the Jewish People. Whether we accept it or not, this responsibility has been placed on our shoulders and it is unthinkable that we – the Jewish woman who have sustained our people through the centuries – should now fail our great role” (Rebecca Sieff, 12th World WIZO Conference - the first fully constituted conference of WIZO held in Jerusalem).
President, World WIZO