25 April 2017
Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of holding a very special ceremony at WIZO Charlotte Beecham & Jacqueline Lewis Daycare Center in Akko, co-sponsored by WIZO Sweden and WIZO Switzerland.
We held an inauguration event marking the opening of the new children's playground, which was generously donated by Esther and Leon Rytz, parents-in-law of Suzanne Sznajdermann Rytz, President of WIZO Sweden, who also attended the event with her husband Salomon.
It was a privilege to welcome Esther and Leon Rytz, loving and Zionist Holocaust survivors to this beautiful Daycare Center. After surviving the terrible Holocaust, Esther volunteered for many years in WIZO Sweden, risking her life while crossing several borders into the Soviet Union to support other Jewish and Zionist women and families.
Over the years, Esther and Leon remained deeply committed to their Zionist and WIZO causes, supporting Israelis and the State of Israel. For their 90th birthday, they hosted 150 guests for a special dinner party with WIZO flags on the tables. After the party, they donated the money they received to renovating the old and run-down playground and turned it into a beautiful and tidy playground for the children.
When they arrived and saw the children waving Israel and Swedish flags, they were moved to tears. They were just as touched when the children surprised them with a lovely surprise – a very special 90th birthday party. Esther and Leon joined the children and sang songs together, danced and blew out their birthday candles that proudly stood on a cake that was prepared for them.
I was deeply touched by the love and the enormous Jewish, Zionist and generous heart of this precious family.
The timing of this ceremony was also very symbolic as we held it ahead of three of the most important days for our State – the Holocaust Day in Israel, Yom HaZikaron and Israel's 69th Independence Day.
It was very meaningful because this event linked the older generation that survived the Holocaust with the next generation of Israeli children – the future of our State of Israel. This link is what makes the Jewish people the most unique and caring people in the world.
May we have many more occasions for celebration with the lovely Rytz family, with our WIZO Chaverot, and with our beautiful children.
Prof. Rivka Lazovsky,
Chairperson, World WIZO