It’s All In The Family For
This Most Important Group
By Tim Boxer
N his five months as Israel’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Dan Gillerman has turned up at countless functions. But the annual Women’s International Zionist Organization luncheon/children’s fashion show was “the most important one.”
His wife Janice is a member of WIZO. His mother, a founder of the group, lived the last 20 years of her life in a WIZO home in Tel Aviv. His two thirtysomething children once modeled in a WIZO fashion show. And his four-year-old grandson, Braun, attends a WIZO kindergarten in Tel Aviv.
He told the 400 women at this year’s luncheon at New York’s Pierre Hotel about a teacher at a WIZO school who asked her class of eight-year-olds to draw a picture. They drew a horse, a dog, a cat.
Then she spotted something strange. “What are you doing?” the teacher asked.
“I’m drawing God,” the youngster said.
“Nobody knows what God looks like.”
“When I finish they will.”
Every time Gillerman goes to pick up his grandson at kindergarten, it breaks his heart.
“My heart breaks having to see an armed guard to protect these children from terrorists,” he said. “This is the reality of Israel."
“As long as a cup of coffee on the Rue St. Germain costs you two or three dollars, and a cup of coffee in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Afula costs two or three children, you will never understand the reality of Israel.”
Gillerman, a businessman and president of the Chamber of Commerce before being named ambassador, did not give up. He came to the UN “a very bitter, angry man” and met with scores of colleagues “to bring home to them the reality of Israel.”
Terror has not hindered daily life in Israel. “I always say, do not hold business hostage to politics.”He illustrated with the story of a Jewish boy in upstate New York where his was the only Jewish family in town. The youngster took a test in school on the most important man in history. He wrote Jesus – and won a prize.
His father was outraged.
“How could you? You’re Jewish!”
“Daddy, Moses is Moses but business is business.”
WIZO president Evelyn Sommer led the applause and said, “My grandmother used to have a Yiddish saying: Laughter is louder than tears.”