UIA says thanks

July 27, 2017 by Community newsdesk
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UIA hosted its annual Volunteer’s Thank You Dinner for over 100 people in Melbourne.

Jack Smorgon     Photo: Peter Haskin

UIA is a volunteer based campaign and without the dedication and support of its wonderful volunteers it would be unable to succeed in raising funds for vital social welfare projects in Israel.

The event was held at Hamerkaz Shelanu and paid tribute to a number of special people on the night.  Sue Noble, Volunteering Victoria’s CEO addressed the crowd and presented awards to a number of volunteers.  In her speech she spoke about how volunteering has been proven to be beneficial not just to one’s physical health but mental health as well.  That the importance of volunteering should never be underestimated and from recent studies “volunteering showed to be the second greatest source of joy, after dancing”.

On the night a special presentation was made to Jack Smorgon, immediate Past Federal President of UIA Australia, who recently received the Israel Goldstein Prize at the Israeli President’s Residence in Israel in May of this year.  This is the highest award bestowed by Keren Hayesod-UIA recognising the hard work and support of very special individuals.  The award was first presented in 1980 and since then only 29 people have received the award, five from Australia, all whom were from Melbourne. UIA is indebted to Jack for his continued commitment and service to our organisation.

Dave Skurnik (YoungUIA Chairman), Hayley Southwick (UIA Victoria Women’s Division Chairman), Nathan Shafir (UIA Victoria President)     Photo: Peter Haskin

UIA also honoured long-serving volunteers Robert Richter and Stephen Shochet, both of whom have given over 40 years of service to the organisation.  Unfortunately both were unable to be there on the night but their contribution was applauded by all and is appreciated immensely by UIA Victoria.  Askan Awards, for those who have dedicated more than 10 years, were presented to Roy Schloss and Jorge Thaler.  We thank them for their continued hard work towards our campaign each year.

In a moving tribute an Askan Award was presented by Hayley Southwick, Chair of UIA Women’s Division to the grandchildren of Sara Olcha (z”l).  Sadly Sara passed away two weeks prior to the dinner.  Sara was a long-term volunteer for UIA Women’s Division.  Sara was a vibrant, cheerful and witty member of UIA’s volunteer team.  The UIA family mourn together with her family on this big loss.  As MC Carli Dvash said on the night “it was only four weeks ago that Sara came into the UIA office to assist with phoning and expressed how excited she was to be receiving this award. We are so pleased that her family are here in her honor and would like to thank them for being with us during this difficult time”.  May Sara’s memory be a blessing.

A UIA spokesperson said: “We thank everyone who joined us on the night and especially the support of our sponsors Roquette Catering, ECD Executive Concepts and Shady Hill Luxury Flowers who ensured the night was a great success.  UIA thanks its dedicated volunteer base and encourages anyone else who is seeking a volunteering experience to contact our office on 1300 ISRAEL (1300 477 235).”

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