One woman can make a difference but together we can rock the world.
The 2014 WIZO Aviv International Seminar convened in Tel Aviv on Sunday November 2nd. This week-long conference aims at cultivating young Jewish women's leadership and this year's seminar saw the magical meeting of 49 Avivs from 15 countries around the globe. It was an intense but productive week during which new friendships were formed, countless memories were created, ideas were exchanged and new insights were gained. Participants visited & volunteered in our WIZO projects, learned skills & gained tools from world-class professionals, tasted Israel in the markets of Jerusalem, and had a FUNTASTIC time! An unforgettable experience to be cherished forever.
Ending on a high note
For Sylvie Pelossof, Chairperson of the Next Generation Dept. at World WIZO who is finishing her term at the end of 2015 this was her last Aviv
"We had women as young as 23 years old until the age of 45, some new to WIZO, others more experienced and even some who are Executive members in their Federations. This disparity in ages, experience, cultures, language and knowledge makes on the whole for a wonderful and positive exchange between the girls. They learn from each other, exchange ideas, become friends and form ties that will last for years to come.
In this way we gently push them to become a united community of young women worldwide with WIZO at the center; all working towards the same goal and creating links that extend to their private and working lives as well. Today for young people this is extremely important since the global nature of the contact is a big asset.
For us at head office and for the Federations it is important to prepare these young women well for their WIZO life. We give them the tools to perform all the tasks needed in the future. The different World WIZO Divisions worked closely with us and together we tackled subjects like fundraising, friend-raising (or membership), the media, Israel advocacy, leadership, publicity, how to present the WIZO message and many more.
During our visits to WIZO centers (and we did visit a large array of our projects) the participants not only toured the facilities but also volunteered and interacted with the children and youth. There was such a wonderful atmosphere.
The young women were only too happy to get their hands dirty. The cooperation between all was evident and their eyes were shining from happiness. We all cried when we heard the story of a woman who suffered from domestic violence as she was willing to share her painful experience with us.
Of course we also wanted the participants to have as much fun as possible even though our schedule was packed with activities and we kept them busy from morning till night. We had time for our gala opening dinner, a wonderful evening out at a karaoke bar where we sang and danced till our feet were sore and where all the pent up energy of the day was released
Laurienne Baitz, the Aviv representative to the World WIZO Executive conducted two very successful and productive workshops. With her contagious energy and enthusiasm she was a great asset to the seminar.
This year we also had a new director of the department, Beto Maya (the first time we have a man in this position!) who is young, full of energy with wonderful ideas and great contacts. Together with an outstanding team: Lisa Moss, Raquel Dar and Orna Ref that worked very hard to make it happen. I would also like to thank Janine Gelley & Avital Blumental from the Organization and Tourism Division for all their help.
In a nutshell it was a very successful seminar and I personally was satisfied with the outcomes. The motivation and goodwill could be felt in the air during the closing ceremony. Now the delegates are all back home and hopefully they are working hard and being the best ambassadors for WIZO and the State of Israel."
The wonderful world of WIZO
Laurienne Baitz, Aviv representative to World WIZO Executive is a human dynamo bursting with energy. She shares her WIZO passion with everyone she comes into contact with and has "united and ignited" Avivs around the world, strengthening their bonds of sisterhood and commitment to the cause.
"My position as World Aviv Representative affords me the glorious pleasure of connecting, interacting with & motivating some of the finest young women around the world.
There is no more fantastic occasion to do this than at the annual International Aviv Seminar in Israel. Every year we do our best to design a WIZO seminar that takes the delegates on a more exciting & fulfilling journey through their heritage, passion, education & senses.
We started with the vibrant and colorfulrebranding of WIZO Aviv to present a visual package for our Aviv energy.
Next came designing the details of the seminar & finding a way to pack in as many experiences as we can until the seminar is ready to burst at the seams! Now came the balancing act: Have we added in enough volunteering & project visits, Zionism & tourism, skills training & personal growth, communicating time & party time?! One of the most important aspects of the seminar is making sure the wonderful group has a chance to bond.
This year saw the magical meeting of 52 Aviv’s from 15 countries around the world. We visited & volunteered in our WIZO projects, learned skills & gained tools from world-class professionals, forged bonds with each other, tasted Israel in the markets of Jerusalem, and had a FUNTASTIC time!
But thats not all!! The inspired & empowered delegates grabbed their new ‘tools’ and set out as the Aviv ‘Extreme Makeover’ construction team to innovate communication concepts to appeal to the young generations of Aviv’s with whom we plan to share our WIZO magic.
It has been proven to me many times over that no matter how far apart we live, how different our countries, languages & customs are, we WIZO women are family. Our passion is a core value that binds us together no matter our personal stories and enriches our lives with a gift in return of a global sisterhood. Our Aviv delegates went home with new sisters for life.
We WIZO women in 50 federations' link arms together to forge a wonderful warm worldwide family of WIZO sisters. We will never be alone. We support each other as well as supporting those who need our help. We get as much out of being a part of WIZO as we put into it. WIZO permeates all aspects of our personal lives and becomes a part of who we proudly are.
I thank you all for supporting me and implore you to pledge your love, smiles & sisterhood to energize & innovate the future of our WIZO family.
'One woman can make a difference but together we can ROCK the world’ "
Reflections - one week on
Deidre Cline from Leeds shares her experiences of the 2014 Aviv Seminar in her highly informative, entertaining and enlightening blog.
She writes " I am back in the UK and my head is buzzing with ideas. Someone asked me today if I could name one thing that I brought away with me….a real challenge but it has to be the fact I had not realized how much WIZO does and how it is for ALL Israeli citizens.
A journey of self discovery
Liana Halpern from Finland has wisdom far beyond her years and when she addressed the seminar participants on their last day at the WIZO Nachlat Yehuda Youth Village her passionate and heartfelt words moved everyone to tears. Intelligent, compassionate and enthusiastic young women like Liana are the future of our movement.
"I feel like such a lucky woman. I was given the opportunity by my WIZO federation in Finland to take part in the WIZO Aviv Seminar in November, 2014, in Tel Aviv. I can say that I was in the company of magnificent women from around the world. These Jewish women represent 15 different nationalities, and altogether we were 49 participants. We were guided by the wonderful WIZO staff, fed better than ever, and most importantly inspired and empowered like never before.
I expected a lot from the seminar, and I ended up having a much more meaningful and inspiring experience than I imagined I would. When women from my federation in Helsinki told me that I would make friends for a lifetime, I couldn't imagine how deep and mutually empowering a connection would come to life between me and my fellow WIZO women during those five days. I was also told how enriching it would be to see with my own eyes what WIZO does to help children, women, and families in Israel, but I had no idea how touched I would be to see it all happen in action; to witness children coming from very difficult backgrounds, with quite little to make their way into Israeli society.
genuinely enjoy themselves in daycare and multipurpose centers; young adults working their way towards a profession and a significantly better quality of life in the vocational school in Jerusalem; women who have gone through unbearable struggles in their life but who today stand strongly on their feet, women who feel empowered by the WIZO community around them, and who beautifully survive the ongoing challenges every single day. To take part in all this feels like a blessing to me.
There is one conclusion that I came to over and over again during the seminar. It is the fact that all of us women around the world are unique personalities and live different lives, but at the same time we are all very much the same, going through many similar things and trying to find our balance in everyday life. I find a great amount of comfort and assurance in this thought. We are globally the same, but each and every one of us is unique.
That is what, to me, characterized the seminar to a great extent. WIZO is more than anything a global platform for women to come together to and make something beautiful and powerful out of it.
The tools that I gained during the seminar are numerous. In the crowdfunding workshop the excellent Joe Brown Leer took us on a journey that started from the very basics: what is crowdfunding and how it should be done. I learned that the message we transmit to donors should be accurate and powerful – we don’t have time for lavish words.
When it comes to presenting yourself and the subject of your interest, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum is the person to teach you that. Her workshop was extraordinary. She really went to the bottom of things and showed us, with her own example, how to be assertive, confident, and credible whilst giving presentations. We learned that in order to successfully raise funds for our cause we need a strong message in one sentence, illustrations to enhance it, and a call to action.
We need to know how to present differently and be original. Her tools for enhancing a presentation stuck in my mind, and I find myself observing, for example, lecturers at my university in a much more detailed and evaluative manner than before. I constantly learn as I watch others perform. What she gave us, in a nutshell, are the practical tools and guidelines for assertive, change-making presentations. Danielle Natalie-Kind is a huge source of inspiration for me. She is a woman who has the power to empower. She made us look into ourselves and think about our identities, and then explore our identities and values within WIZO. Danielle was able to shake us, wake us up and make us come back fresh with new ideas. With her energy, presence and inspiration there is nothing she can’t do.
The WIZO Aviv seminar gave me a deeper understanding of what it is to be a woman, a leader, and a fundraiser. Needless to say, I felt highly inspired, encouraged and motivated throughout the seminar. I believe that in order to be great leaders for others, we first have to know how to lead ourselves. That requires an understanding of who we are, and an unending desire to learn more. The seminar opened my eyes to even further self-reflection, which I think is a necessity and a starting point to everything that we do. We need to think of the ways we can do good for others, the things we can be proud of now and later, and then act accordingly. The seminar and its spectacular participants made me feel incredibly connected to WIZO at once. They are moments that cannot be fully explained, only experienced and felt. I want to say the biggest “Thank you” to all of you who were on this journey with me. You made it incredible, one of a kind. "
Global impressions and thoughts on a life changing experience
Lots of exciting report backs from the Aviv seminar graduates!!! What a week it was! Having an opportunity to connect with such an amazing group of inspirational, motivated women is undoubtedly a life changing experience.
By Inbar Kedar Baruch, Israel
"I would like to share my thoughts and feelings on the wonderful Aviv Seminar that I had the privilege to attend. The content was very interesting and relevant and I gained a lot of knowledge on subjects I was not familiar with such as Crowd funding. Meeting with young women from all over the world was overwhelming for me, and emphasized the importance of developing a networked community.
The visit to WIZO Beit Hakerem in Jerusalem, the Multipurpose Day Care Centers and the WIZO youth village were fascinating and made a lasting impression. These visits enabled the participants to see first-hand the tangible results of WIZO's valuable work in order to improve the lives of Israeli children, youth and women.
We had some very interesting workshops where we discussed the future of WIZO, the need to refresh the organization's vision and its main objectives and some very good ideas were put forward that I hope that will be developed in the future.
I'm certain that I have gained valuable tools for further activity in WIZO and of course new friends with whom I would love to stay in contact with and maintain the ties of friendship that were formed during the seminar.
For me, as an Israeli, it was an exciting and moving experience which emphasized how important the World WIZO activity is, amongst others to bring people together from all over the worlds who share a common vision.
It is important to maintain the momentum, the relationships that were formed between the participants and to implement the ideas that came up.
I am very grateful to all of those involved who made this seminar a reality - Beto, Janine, Sylvie, Lisa, Avital, Raquel and all members of the Tourism and the Organization Division of WIZO who did an amazing job by organizing this excellent Seminar. Congratulations to you all."
Women Power the WIZO way - By Iris Zemach Ron , Israel
"Over five days in early November, in a hotel in Tel Aviv, 49 women from 15 different countries gathered together for the WIZO Aviv International Young Women's Seminar. We shared a common thread – as women, members of WIZO, all having a fervent desire to contribute and give of ourselves to empower and improve the situation of women in Israeli society.
During five exciting and empowering days we learned a lot about our WIZO chaverot from other Federations, witnessed how much love and giving each of them exudes and how much they contribute of their time; volunteering and raising funds for women in Israel.
Everything was handed to us on a golden platter with well-organized visits to various WIZO projects across the country. We had an opportunity to sense, see, ask and feel. And at the end of each day we felt in our hearts the power and strength of WIZO, and the intensity of the "woman power" in Israel and in the world..
We visited the WIZO Nachlat Yehuda Youth Village, where we learned about the support given to the students enrolled in the high school, the warm home and nurturing environment provided for those living in the dormitories, the emotional support given and more. We volunteered in the chicken coops, laundry, kitchen, petting zoo.
We visited the day care center at the Rebecca Sieff WIZO Center for the family which provides care for all sectors of the Jerusalem population but especially those who need assistance and support. During our visit we also heard the personal story of an amazing woman who overcame all obstacles and with the support of WIZO found employment as a caregiver in a WIZO day care center.
We visited many places and learned the extent of WIZO's work on behalf of the weaker populations, we heard about young women who feel an enormous personal commitment to give, even if it means volunteering only for one hour a week. We heard interesting lectures, conducted brainstorming sessions on how to contribute and be engaged in this movement of amazing women.
We learned that WIZO is not just about day care for the early age, it is much more – a war home, sisterhood and caring. All around the world there are WIZO women sharing the same goal – to help the children, youth and women of Israel. I reach out to every woman who can help, either by giving of her time or donating money and hasn't yet decided how or when – to be in touch with us and to join the loyal and extended family that is WIZO."
By Jessica Cohen-Vidal, Panama
"I was honored to represent Panama in the WIZO Aviv International Young Women Seminar in Israel. I am proud of the volunteer work we do. I am proud of Wizo for saving kids and families in Israel and around the world (..and much more!).
It was an amazing week of learning, experiences, new friends, tears and smiles that I will keep in my heart forever. This seminar gave me the necessary tools to improve our work in Panama as well as learning from activities and WIZO groups around the world. Thanks for everything it was wonderful."
By Sandy Taskar, Germany
"Dear Wizo Aviv sister from all around the world,
t's hard to express the feelings and inspirations I
am left with after the intense last week but I will try to make it as alive as possible. The people I met during the seminar were all very special and I felt an immediate connection with each and every one of them. It was beautiful to see that we all share the same goal, aspiration and are all motivated for the same cause. We shared tears, laughter, ideas, and experiences, motivated one another and even had fun together.
To visit a few Wizo institutions was an eye opener, as so far I only knew in theory what the work of Wizo stands for but had no idea what the outcome is in reality.
I was really astonished by the amazing work and listening to mothers who have shared their difficult experiences and speaking so fondly about the help of Wizo left me emotional and very proud at the same time. Playing, dancing and talking to the children and seeing a smile on their faces was one of the best experiences as well.
The different lectures were very interesting and I really feel I learned a lot. We were provided with good tools in order to go back home and to use them in practice. I am left with a feeling of belonging, connectedness, knowledge, motivation and met inspirational and amazing people from all around the world. I am thankful for this amazing experience and can only recommend it further. "
Wow! What a week - By Yaara Di Segni, Israel
For Yaara the first week of November was a strong runner for the most intense week of the year title. It was also the week where for the first time ever, she got to participate in the World WIZO Aviv seminar and what an experience it turned out to be! Read her Facebook post:
We hope to see many more WIZO Aviv members at our 2015 Leadership Empowerment Seminar. This is an opportunity to participate in top-level lectures and workshops that empower participants with the the tools for life and future WIZO roles. Having the added benefit of being included in the best lectures, workshops and tours of the MOR (Meeting of Representatives) as well.