Meet Lee-Anne Whitten
WIZO Women come from all walks of life.
Let’s get to know some of our members and find out what WIZO means to them.
Hi Lee-Anne, tell us when and why you joined WIZO?
I think I joined in 2005. A group of girls I knew started a WIZO group and I went to a few meetings. I had always heard about WIZO as I was growing up and seen so many women I knew involved. The idea of an organisation that supported women and Israel made sense to me so I decided to go along and see what it was all about.
How would you explain WIZO to someone who has never heard of it?
WIZO is the largest direct service provider for women, children and at-risk youth on the ground in Israel; an organisation that supports those most in need. WIZO is more relevant now than it was when it was first setup. WIZO is about women coming to together to support women and youth.
What does WIZO mean to you?
I am a supporter of Israel but I know that it is not a perfect place. I know that there are women, children and youth at-risk of homelessness or experiencing abuse and they need our support.
I also want a progressive country where not-for-profit organisations support Israeli women and children. WIZO is an organisation that makes sense for me as a modern and progressive Jewish woman.
Why is WIZO important today?
Israel is a modern country with modern problems. We, the diaspora, can’t hold an ideal in our minds and ignore the realities of modern life. Women, children and youth are the future of Israel. WIZO deals with these issues daily, accepting the reality of a country with great strengths but also real challenges.
Is there a WIZO function or event that stands out in your mind? Why?
The major function last year with the creator of Fauda was great. We met two young men who WIZO has really helped. The function was highly enjoyable and also relevant to our community and relevant to Israel and the issues it faces right now.
What would you tell someone who was unsure about becoming a WIZO Member?
If you support Israel you need to know that there are challenges. WIZO is the largest welfare organisation on the ground, at a grass roots level, dealing with the modern challenges facing Israel today. Poverty is the greatest challenge Israel is currently facing, and if the people of Israel are not thriving the country will also not thrive.
Tell us about yourself outside of WIZO – your family life, work life, other interests.
I am a wife and partner to Andrew, a mum to 3 amazing kids, Tali (11), Zack (7) and Adi (5). I am a social policy consultant specialising in disability. I love the arts, especially dance and theatre. I am a musical theatre tragic. I also volunteer as a guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum.
Is there a WIZO project that you have a particular interest in? Why?
Sponsor a Child in Israel. I think this is a great way to get involved in the lives of children, making a big difference to what happens to them and the opportunities that they have.
Is it time you became a WIZO woman too?