Today International Human Rights Day is being marked throughout the world. The purpose is to raise awareness to the basic human rights that each person has from his birth until his death, and to recall the Declaration of Human Rights that was signed in the United Nations on the 10th December, 1948 (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). The Declaration states the basic principles of human rights worldwide, including: the right to life, liberty and security of person.
This Friday, December 5th, is the International Volunteer Day (IVD). The day was designated by the United Nations in 1985 and offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make their contributions known to others.
WE, in WIZO, are proud to be 'givers', and a large part of our 'giving' is expressed in our efforts to nurture the next generation, in our schools and youth villages, with the aim that they, too, will one day become 'givers'.
I have just returned from a mission to Canadian Hadassah WIZO in which I took part in the annual conference. It was highly successful and I once again felt the devotion of Canadian Hadassah WIZO towards its projects, and all that we are doing, here in Israel.
With the blasts of the shofar, we announce that today the world is born. And our natural optimism, for our loved ones, for the people of Israel, and for the wider world, bursts forth from deep within each one of us.
As Rosh Hashana approaches Jews throughout the world begin soul searching. We have time to reflect, to repent, and to prepare spiritually for the Days of Judgement. This is the period of Selichot. The Ashkenazic Jewish world begins its recitation of selichot – on the Saturday night preceeding Rosh Hashana, whilst the Sephardic Jewish world have already been reciting selichot for the whole month preceeding Rosh Hashana. The custom of reciting selichot prayers is an ancient one, dating back at least to the sixth century in Jewish Babylonia.