Hundreds of guests filled the elegant Amado event hall in Herzliya on February 18th for the special birthday celebration of Hanna Rubinstein, Honorary President and former Chairperson of WIZO Los Angeles.
A native Israeli who has lived in Los Angeles since 1967, Rubinstein is a major philanthropist to Israel, contributing to Yad Vashem and organizations for Holocaust survivors, supporting disadvantaged populations and promoting girls in sports. Her family also regularly contributes to the Maccabiah and has established several tennis centers in Israel.
In lieu of gifts, Rubinstien requested that all her guests make a donation to WIZO, earmarked for women and children who live in WIZO’s battered women’s shelters. The evening began with a short talk from Rivka Neumann, Director of WIZO's Division for the Advancement of Women who shared WIZO's vital work in the field of domestic violence in Israel.
The celebration then continued with performances by some of Israel’s iconic singers, Tilda Rajwan, Shimi Tavori and Eitan Masuri, who sang their greatest hits. Among the guests were international artist Rachel Weizman, diamantaires Dalia & Haim Chizik, internet entrepreneur Or Katznelson and the owners of the PRPL advertising agency.
Hanna Rubinstein with singer Shimi Tavori
A Passion for WIZO
Born in Paris, Rubinstein was raised in Israel, where her connection to WIZO first began as a child attending a local WIZO day care center. Her deep involvement with WIZO grew when she moved to California and became involved in WIZO Los Angeles, thanks to Malka Fogel, who, like Rubinstein, now serves as one of the Honorary Chairs of WIZO LA.
WIZO Los Angeles has been unwaveringly committed to supporting WIZO’s projects and programs for the women, children and elderly in Israel. WIZO LA sponsors two day care centers in Israel; the Ramat Shikma Day Care Center in Ramat Gan and the Edelstein/Citrin Comprehensive Day Care Center in Yavneh.
“Growing up in Israel, I have a deep understanding of the impact of WIZO in Israeli society and I am very passionate about it,” Rubinstein says. “I seek to convey the importance of WIZO to the Jewish community in Los Angeles, including the large Israeli population in LA that has heard of WIZO but is unaware of the vast impact WIZO makes in the lives of children, youth, women and all sectors of the Israeli public.”
Keeping Children Safe
In 2016, Hanna and her husband Bernie Rubinstein led a delegation from WIZO Los Angeles to the WIZO Los Angeles sponsored Day Care Center in Yavneh where the Rubinsteins' generous contribution made it possible to build a modern and spacious rocket-proof shelter to protect the children and staff of the center in times of emergency. World WIZO Chairperson Rivka Lazovsky and World WIZO Fundraising Division Chairperson Anita Friedman, welcomed the guests as the adorable children prepared a special party for Hanna and Bernie, who were very moved.
“When Bernie and I heard that the children and staff of our day care center in Yavneh were not properly protected from rockets fired from the nearby Gaza Strip, we did everything needed to make sure the children would be safe,” Hanna said.
Hanna & Bernie Rubinstein at the WIZO day care center in Yavneh
Home in LA, Heart in Israel
“WIZO Los Angeles has amazing chaverot with a sisterhood that extends across the USA and the globe,” Gina Raphael, Chair of WIZO Los Angleles said. “We are so honored that Hanna Rubinstein, one of our WIZO Los Angeles Honorary Chairs and long term WIZO leaders has chosen an incredibly meaningful way to celebrate her birthday while making a strong contribution to the work of WIZO. On behalf of all of us at WIZO Los Angeles, we wish Hanna a very happy birthday. I am so honored to call Hanna my friend, mentor and sister. Hanna, thank you for your friendship and leadership. Your generous birthday celebration helps us launch a special program that will change lives!”
"I am deeply touched by the love and enormous Jewish, Zionist and generous heart of Hanna Rubinstein," World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky said. "The contributions of Hanna and many other WIZO donors like her has made Israel a welcoming and safer place for chidren, youth and women all over Israel."
“I may live in Los Angeles, but my heart is here in Israel,” Rubinstein said at her birthday celebration, which raised hundreds of thousands of shekels for WIZO. “Giving is what gives us joy and happiness. Contributing to WIZO enables you to make a real impact on the lives of children, youth, and women in Israel. I am a strong supporter of empowering young girls and women through WIZO. My wish for WIZO going forward is that it continues its wonderful work and outreach. May WIZO keep gaining support, raising awareness of its impactful work and may many more volunteers join WIZO."
Photo Credits: World WIZO