Emunah marks its 80th anniversary

Founded before the state was born, in 1935, , Emunah (or HaPoel HaMizrachi Women as it was known then), was led soon after by Tovah Sanhadray- Goldreich.

January 12, 2016 00:58
2 minute read.
Pray at the Western Wall.

A religious woman and a female soldier pray at the Western Wall.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

President Reuven Rivlin saluted Emunah, the National Religious Women’s Organization on its 80th anniversary year, on Monday, whose leaders gave him a plaque emblazoned with the prayer for the welfare of Israel and in gathering of the exiles for the role he has played in helping to build the country.

Founded before the state was born, in 1935, as the women’s arm of HaPoel HaMizrachi, Emunah (or HaPoel HaMizrachi Women as it was known then), was led soon after by Tovah Sanhadray- Goldreich.

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She served from 1959 until 1974 as the National Religious Party’s first woman lawmaker, and chaired its women’s movement for more than 50 years.

In the 1960s the women’s organization merged with the Mizrachi Women’s Organization to form the National Religious Women’s Organization, which later changed its name to Emunah.

Headquartered in Jerusalem, World Emunah was established in 1977 by Sarah Herzog, grandmother of Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union). Its mission was to provide professional training and employment for religious women, but quickly added education, social welfare and community involvement to the mix.

Rivlin circled the room shaking hands, making it clear that only women who wanted to should shake his hand. His bureau chief, Rivka Ravitz, a haredi woman, normally eschews such greetings.

Rivlin quipped about how it was a pleasure to celebrate with such young women, and that behind every successful man stood a woman who tells him he’s wrong “and she’s right.” He pointed out how the group still had a huge role to play to help immigrants.

Israel Emunah chairperson Liora Minka remarked at how Rivlin has earned admiration and affection from all quarters of the population.

Rivlin in turn praised Emunah for its special spirit of volunteerism rooted in religious faith and in Zionism.

World Emunah chairperson Dina Hahn said Emunah women in the diaspora are so committed to Israel that many do come on aliya, and a majority wind up living in Jerusalem.

Among its many activities Emunah runs children’s homes for children at risk or children whose families for whatever reason cannot look after them.

Naomi Daniel who grew up in one of these homes, from the age of eight, said the warmth end education she received helped her overcome fear, shyness and gain self-confidence. She remarked at how she went on to do national service in Israel, England and the United States.

Daniel said she would be forever grateful to Emunah where she is now helping other youngsters through experiences very similar to those she herself survived.

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