Twelve winners of the 2018 WIZO UK Commitment Awards, which recognize individuals who make a positive impact on the lives of others, arrived in Israel last week to experience WIZO’s (Women’s International Zionist Organization) work firsthand. Established in 2013 by WIZO’s federation in Britain (WIZO UK), the Commitment Awards initiative is a tribute to the memory of Renée and Sir Naim Dangoor CBE who were dedicated to ‘changing lives and building futures’. The winners were selected by a committee of judges in categories that reflect WIZO’s core values.
As a prize, the award winners enjoyed a week’s tour of Israel through WIZO’s perspective, embracing the values of Zionism, volunteerism and social betterment. They engaged with the recipients of WIZO’s care, visiting day care centers for children at risk, youth villages and schools, and shelters for victims of abuse, just some of WIZO’s 800 projects nationwide.
The trip also grants the winners a look at Israel beyond the headlines while serving as a response to the growing phenomenon of anti-Israel de-legitimization in the UK.
“This trip gives our award winners an insight and understanding into the vital work that WIZO does for the citizens of Israel,” said WIZO UK Chairperson Ronit Ribak-Madari who accompanied the group on their tour. “They see how their achievements are mirrored in WIZO’s projects and return to the UK as effective ambassadors for WIZO and the State of Israel.”
The winners won their awards for a wide range of social initiatives from vocational training for the disabled to providing meals for the homeless. They included Avrahum Sanger, Khulan Davaajav, and Dali Cohen who won the award for Commitment to Multiculturism on campus for their efforts in combating anti-Zionism at SOAS, University of London.
"The Commitment Awards acknowledge the actions the winners have undertaken to change the reality around them,” World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky said. "Each of them has paved a path to a better future."
“I was most impressed by the passion and commitment in WIZO’s projects,” said Rachel Fidler, who established Finchley Synagogue’s tech summer day camp. “They deeply care for each child so they grow up believing in themselves.”
Tom Hancox, winner in the Music & the Arts category, is Chief Executive of Cavatina Chamber Music Trust, an initiative introducing chamber music to schoolchildren across the UK. “It’s very humbling to see WIZO’s amazing work taking place all over Israel, all funded by a tremendous philanthropic spirit which garners support from all over the world,” he said. “I’m truly grateful for this invitation. Thank you to WIZO for making it possible. This is my first visit to Israel and I will be back!”
Photo Credit: WIZO UK