Wizo Commitment Awards winners tell audience: ‘Just do it’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Wizo Commitment Awards winners tell audience: ‘Just do it’

Awards, given in six distinct categories, went to men and women perceived to have made a difference in their respective fields.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

David Dangoor, Rachel Riley and Claude Littner. Photo: Blake Ezra
David Dangoor, Rachel Riley and Claude Littner. Photo: Blake Ezra

Nearly 250 members and supporters of WIZO, the veteran women’s organisation which has become Israel’s largest independent welfare provider, gathered in central London this week for a unique event — the Commitment Awards.

The awards, given in six distinct categories, go to men and women perceived to have made a difference in their respective fields. Each successful nominee was chosen by a panel of judges who picked winners for their contribution to Israeli and wider society. The judges were chaired by The Apprentice star and business leader Claude Littner.

Jewish News was delighted to sponsor the Inclusion and Diversity in the Media award, which went to blogger and influencer Hen Mazzig. The judges said: “With 256,000 followers on Instagram, his content has been consistent and excellent since October 7 and very helpful and informative to young people and Jews fighting antisemitism online. He speaks up for Sephardi Mizrahi Jews, and creates awareness around that, when there is very little in the wider media”.

Hen Mazzig was unable to be present to receive his award but sent a message saying how honoured he was, saying: “This award serves as a reminder of the importance of amplifying marginalised voices and challenging stereotypes in our society. As we mark courageous individuals tonight, let us remember that our work is far from over. In a world still plagued by anti-Jewish hate, discrimination and inequality, it is our collective responsibility to continue advocating for change”.

Mazzig’s message was effectively echoed by the other winners:

  • Esty Bruck, programme director of The Friendship Circle, which works with people with disabilities, who won the Girls’ and Women’s Education award
  • David Fraser of the Ready10 group, who won the Equality in the Workplace award, and whose company highlights diversity and inclusion
  • Naomi Russell, who took the Women in Leadership award for her launch of Food Bank Aid, which has, in just four short years, supplied more than £4 million of practical aid to thousands of households
  • Mel Boda, who won the Innovation that has Changed Women’s Lives award, for her art therapy work in her company Electric Umbrella
  • Bianca Sakol, who took the WIZO Major Achievement Award for being an Inspiring Woman Leading the Way. She set up the charity Sebby’s Corner when trying to find somewhere to donate clothes her children had outgrown. Now she has an MBE in recognition of the work done to help thousands of vulnerable children.
Bianca Sakol. Photo: Blake Ezra

Both Naomi Russell and Bianca Sakol told the audience that they had never intended to set up charities. But, they said, their experience had taught them not to wait for other people to do something, but to go ahead with what needed to be done. “Just do it!” said Ms Russell.

A separate Changing Lives award was won by Charly Young, co-founder of The Girls’ Network and the Equilibrium Gender Collective.

That ‘can-do’ attitude of WIZO was highlighted through the evening, not least in the special message of support from President Isaac Herzog, who spoke with great warmth about the place of WIZO in his family. David Dangoor, sponsor of the Commitment Awards, said that WIZO was the natural organisation of choice when his late parents, Renee and Sir Naim Dangoor, were beginning to integrate into the community in the UK. His sponsorship was made in tribute to their memory, a couple who were “dedicated to changing lives and building futures”.

Annabel Stelzer chair WIZOUK and Ronit Ribak Madari, President WIZOUK. Photo: Blake Ezra

WIZO UK chair Annabel Stelzer welcomed guests with an overview of Wizo’s work in Israel, made all the more vital in the wake of October 7. She said the organisation was dealing with “the collective trauma of Israeli society” and that its personnel, in the immediate aftermath of the Hamas attacks, had “stepped up in the manner of first responders”, opening day care centres for the children of medical professionals so that the adults could carry out much-needed work.

Ms Stelzer also noted the “huge spike in domestic violence” in Israel following October 7, another issue for WIZO and its professional team.

The evening was augmented by music from a 14-year-old musician and now resident of a WIZO Youth Village, Lara Pines; by music from Opera Holland Park, and by presentations from Countdown personality Rachel Riley.



Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: