Speaker of Knesset Prize

Heartfelt thanks

Heartfelt thanks on behalf of the recipients of the 2007 Speaker of the Knesset Award for Quality of Life: . Shoshanna Goldfinger, The Women's Health Information Center, Bnei Brak, Israel

Address by Shoshanna Goldfinger on receiving the Speaker of the Knesset, Award for the Women’s Health Information Center:

Honorable Speaker of the Knesset MK Dalia Itzik, distinguished guests:

We are gathered here, every man and woman whose heart made them willing.

Rabbi Chaim Ben Atar, one of the greatest Torah Sages and Kabbalists of Morocco in the 18th century, comments – “every man and woman whose heart made them willing”: “He whose heart is generous will contribute more than is possible… and will rejoice in giving”.

The Board of Trustees of the Speaker of the Knesset Award for Quality of Life placed the emphasis on bridging the gaps in Israeli society. It focused on issues that, although they relate specifically to women, are not their concern alone, representing as they do the foundations of the personal quality of life of each of us: Equality before the law without any discrimination, the right to personal security, and the right to just and favorable work of conditions. The Board of Trustees chose areas of activity worthy of the Award, in acknowledgment of the existence of discrimination against women and children, and of the need to relate to the special needs of the various sectors.

The late Mr. Emanuel Racine, who founded the Award Fund, and the donors – the Markowitz-Schreiber Foundation and Mrs. Eugenie Schreiber, as well as the Board of Trustees headed by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik – have always encouraged activity promoting the quality of life in Israel. Because although we all want to give, only few know how. (Israeli poet Nathan Zach)

Giving is second nature for the recipients of this Award:

First among them is Mrs. Ruth Reznik, who is a trailblazer for all of us. We are all the disciples of Ruth Reznik, a well spring that feeds all initiatives for empowering the women of Israel.

Arfad is an organization that operates in the Arab sector. The scope of its activity is very impressive: A rehabilitation boarding school for children suffering from violence, a shelter for battered women, and a hostel for girls. That is true giving: There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. (Khalil Gibran)

Isha L’Isha (Woman to Woman) initiated the first time ever half-way housing project for battered women, where they stay before going out into the world. As it is said: A new heart also will I give you.And we, together with the Award Committee, hope further shelters will adopt this innovative model, too.

TSACH (Students for Social Justice) advocates the cause of low-paid female maintenance workers at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, who suffered from prolonged abuse of their legal rights. When the students became aware of the women’s plight, they lobbied to right the wrongs that were conveniently ignored by university management.

The Economic Empowerment for Women(EEW) organization gives non-working women a “hand up”:It provides them with the tools that enable them to provide for themselves. Women in low-income neighborhoods in Bnei Brak have benefited from their seminars.We wish them continued success.

Out of deep social concern and personal identification, Mrs. Yael Tzafrir-Reich founded the Slicha organization, which helps women suffering from cancer who are single parents. Her dedication serves as a model and source of inspiration for all of us.

Yasmin AlNagab, an organization for women’s health, runs workshops that are adapted to the needs of Arab women in the Negev, in order to enhance their awareness of health issues.At its initiative, too, these women have started studying nursing, so they can return and help their community.

The Women's Health Information Center in Bnei Brak helps thousands of ultra-Orthodox women throughout Israel, each of whom stands at the center of an extended, multi-generational family.The Health Center provides them with a discreet answer to their unique needs, while fully respecting Jewish religious law and the special characteristics of this community.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friends at our Health Center, whose heart stirred them up in wisdom.These volunteers handled some 2,000 calls, and organized courses for women leaders in the ultra-Orthodox centers in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, and Modi'in Ilit.I would also like to thank the wise-hearted members of the medical establishment, health funds, and hospitals, and the senior doctors and administrators who have joined in our efforts, contributing time and professional knowledge.They have enabled the Center’s activity to cover a wide area of subjects and reach more people.A thank-you bouquet, too, to the heads of the Bnei Brak Municipality, who contributed the hangings of the court, the pillars thereof, and oil for illumination.

On behalf of the Award recipients and of all the circles of volunteers, friends, and donors, we bless all those who desire to give so we that we can continue to dream.

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