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WOW Weekend 2019

Session: Saturday, 11.30-11.45am Sermon

Hinda Young

Hinda Young graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a Major in Classics and a Minor in Judaic studies. She taught Ancient Languages and Jewish Studies to children of all ages in New York City and Chicago before moving to Sydney in September 2015. In Sydney, she has taught for the NSW BJE and co-chaired Limmud-Oz 2017, she is currently the Director of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Education. She and her husband, Rabbi Benjamin Elton, live in the CBD, where her husband is the Chief Minister of The Great Synagogue. Her most recent job title is mommy to the lovely Lizzie.


Session: Saturday, 1.00-2.00pm Women Empowering
Women, Both Near and Far
KOCO: Knit One (garment), Change One (life)

Danielle Chiel

Danielle fell in love with the art of hand-knitting as a 10-year-old when her great-aunt Pearl taught her the craft during a day off school…and it was love at first stitch! Following a career as a teacher and having earned a PhD in musicology, she then turned to her love of knitting and fashion. She now runs a business in India and Australia, which is changing lives. She teaches women, most of whom have never been to school, to hand-knit to a high standard. They make fabulous garments, by hand, for fashion brands all around the world. It’s called KOCO – Knit One (garment) Change One (life).

Mentor Walks

Bobbi Mahlab

Bobbi is the founder of Mahlab, a content and communications agency that works with some of the world's leading brands and the co-founder of Mentor Walks Australia, a fast-growing walk and talk mentoring event program that launched in 2017 and now operates in seven locations.

Passionate about business, entrepreneurialism, diversity and inclusion, Bobbi has held a number of not-for-profit board positions. In 2015 she was selected by EY to participate in its Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. She is a juror of the Cartier Women's Awards.

She has two teenage sons and has lived in Melbourne, Canberra, New York and has lived in Sydney for the past 20 years.


Session: Saturday, 2.05-2.50pm Speed Friending

Juliet Lewis

Juliet has just completed a double major in Anthropology and Marketing at Macquarie University with a focus on human behaviour in the market. She also works as a Marketing Assistant. A Sydney native, she attended Emanuel School and was lucky enough to spend 2 years in London in her mid-teens. She has travelled extensively, studied Psychology and even spent a year knocking on doors as a sales rep. In her spare time, she plays football as a goalkeeper. She's outgoing and confident and very cheeky!

Session: Saturday, 3.00-4.00pm "Things My Mother Never Told Me"

Michaela Kalowski

Michaela is a presenter, interviewer and facilitator. She has conducted radio interviews for ABC RN's The Music Show and Big Ideas and has presented programs on ABC RN, Classic FM & Local Radio. She regularly facilitates panels at Sydney Writers’ Festival, Sydney Jewish Writers Festival, UNSW and local libraries. She's interviewed writers and thinkers from the worlds of arts, science and politics. Highlight interviews include Amos Oz, Tom Keneally, Turia Pitt, Anthony Horowitz, Daniel Mendelsohn, Bram Presser, Charlotte Wood, and Laura Marling. Michaela is on the programming committee of The Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival. She holds an arts/law degree from UNSW.


Myrna Kangisser

Myrna was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and married Bennie Kangisser, together raising 5 children and became very involved in Jewish communal life and organisations. They immigrated to Australia in 1987 where she followed the ideals she practiced in South Africa. She became very entrenched in Sydney Jewish life and all it had to offer, working for 23 years for the Australian Jewish News. Her passion and her Jewish ideals have been instilled and perpetuated by her 5 kids, 17 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren K’H.  10 years after the passing of Bennie she married Eric and together they continue passing on her love for being Jewish.


Robyn Bernitz

Robyn is the third of Myrna’s five children, born and raised in Johannesburg. She completed a BA in Psychology and History of Art and in 2007 completed a Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counseling. She married Harold and they had two daughters, Danielle and Megan.  They moved to Australia when the girls were very young, spent 3½ years in Brisbane where they attended Jewish schools, then moved to Sydney in 1998 to join the family. They lived in St Ives and enjoyed a good life surrounded by a strong community and wonderful friends. Robyn began working for JewishCare in 2007, first as a counselor, now the Family and Child Support Team Manager, a job she loves.


Danielle Goodman

Danielle is Robyn’s eldest daughter, born in Johannesburg 1991.  After leaving school she spent 6 months volunteering on an Israel program then studied Speech Pathology. Today, Danielle works as a Paediatric Speech Pathologist, specialising in working with children with Autism. In 2017 she married Jay Goodman and they hope to build a Jewish home modelled on their family’s values. Danielle adores spending time with her family and is very close to her grandmothers. She says family Shabbats are a highlight of her week and her grandmother and her mother are her role models who have inspired her Jewish identity. Danielle is proud to carry on their legacy as she establishes her own family.


Megan Bernitz

Megan is Robyn’s youngest daughter, born in Johannesburg 1993. After school, she followed her passion for working with children studying Early Childhood education. Today she teaches preschool part time whilst furthering her studies in Counselling, hoping to finish up in Social Work. Megan spent 15 months in Israel in a Yeshiva, volunteering as a medic in MDA, and unfortunately got caught up in the Sarona terrorist attack.

Megan loves family and she always finds time to see her grandmothers and admits her relationship with Ma Myrna is very special. Megan volunteers her time to the community sharing the same tenacity, drive and open hearted values she has inherited from her grandparents.

Women of Diversity Dinner

Sydney Women's Tefilah Group
Session: Saturday 4.25-5.10pm '12 Over 12' Mincha; 5.10-5.40pm Seuda Shlishit; 5.40-5.50pm Havdallah
The Sydney Women’s Tefilah Group (WTG) was founded in 1993. Its aim is to increase opportunities for women to learn about and participate in prayer and ritual within a Modern Orthodox framework. The WTG holds regular tefilah services throughout the year including a megillah reading for women on Purim and a Simchat Torah service. It also organises life cycle events such as Bat Mitzvah services and Simchat Bat ceremonies.


Women's Tefilah Group

     Shelley Einfeld

    Judith Levitan

Eli Levi

Women's Tefilah Group

WOW Weekend 2019

Session: Sunday 10.00-10.50am  'Closet Schmoset - One Jew's story of coming out.'

Justine Sless

Justine is an award winning writer, comedian and former creative director of Melbourne Jewish Comedy Festival. Justine has toured her comedy and storytelling nationally and internationally. She completed an MA by research in creative writing; her area of research is gender and comedy. She has two daughters, was born in Northern England and now resides in Melbourne.


Session: Sunday 11.00am-12.00pm Taking Control At The End of Life

Dr Yvonne Selecki

Yvonne Selecki is a medical doctor who works at the Garvan Institute. Currently, she develops software to help doctors treat osteoporosis to prevent fractures in the elderly. She has also worked as a general practitioner, a writer and in science TV programmes. As a board member of a medical ethics committee for many years she has an understanding and continuing interest in the difficult decisions facing doctors and patients.


Dr Susan Hertzberg

Susan is a qualified medical practitioner and currently an emergency physician at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick. She also works as a senior medical advisor at Avant Medical Indemnity. In addition to her medical degree and specialist qualification, she has a Masters of Health Law and a Masters of Bioethics from Sydney University and is a tutor in ethics in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW.

Susan has a long association with the Wolper Hospital and the Great Synagogue and she serves on a number of professional and hospital committees.


Assoc. Prof. Judith Lacey

 A/Prof Judith Lacey is the Head of Supportive Care and Integrative Oncology at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.  Her primary interest is in the development and integration of supportive care interventions that include complementary therapies and integrative medicine, to keep people living well with cancer independent of prognosis or stage of disease. Her focus is in whole person care and works with other practitioners to maximize patient wellbeing. Her research interests and activities are in the field of integrative oncology, medicinal cannabis, and supportive care service development. Judith holds key leadership positions in the field of Integrative Oncology, Supportive Cancer Care and Medicinal Cannabis and is involved in research, teaching  and service development at the local, national and international level.  


Simone Green RN

Simone has been a Registered Nurse for 37 years, predominately in Aged Care, Mental Health and Dementia Care in the acute and residential sectors. This involves holistic attention to residents, patients, their family and/or significant others in providing end of life care. Career highlights include time at Montefiore at Hunters Hill and Randwick, and the privilege of sharing people’s last days, and seeing the impact of their life experiences at this time. She believes the role of nurses is important to the support of people at the end of life and their significant others.

Recently, Simone commenced as a Lifeline volunteer crisis telephone support person.


Session: Sunday 12.45-1.15pm Just Don't Sneeze!
Rebecca Reicher
Rebecca is a women’s health physiotherapist with 20 years experience working both here in Australia and in the United States. Rebecca’s passion is working with women at all stages their life. She loves teaching them about their bodies and helping them through those challenging moments including pregnancy, after childbirth, and transitioning through menopause. This includes treating many of those embarrassing issues including weak bladders, incontinence, pelvic pain, and pelvic organ prolapse. Rebecca is the proud founder of Fluid Motion Physiotherapy, a clinic specifically directed to helping people with pelvic floor issues, back pain and dysfunction, and lymphedema.
Session: Sunday, 1.25-2.25pm Was That Just a 'Bad Date' or Sexual Assault? The Confusing World of Consent

Hilary May Black

Hilary is an educator, media producer and intellectual property lawyer. She now works in the ‘for purpose’ sector engaging the community and fundraising for causes close to her heart.



Dr Ellie Freedman

Ellie trained and qualified as a doctor in the UK and has been living in Australia since 2003.  She works as the Medical Director of Northern Sydney Sexual Assault Service and as a Medical Educator at New South Wales Education Centre Against Violence, coordinating their medical training programme. She is committed to providing high quality health care to all victims of sexual violence and in training and supporting other health care professionals to respond well to these difficult situations.

Ellie has been a member of the Great Synagogue since she arrived in Australia but splits her religious loyalties with North Shore Synagogue.

Session: Sunday, 2.40-3.40pm New/Old Australians 30 Years Apart
Rita Bratanis

Rita was born in Sydney but moved back to Greece when she was 3 years old. She studied her bachelor’s in Business Administration in Greece, her Master in Tourism and Management in UK and worked for 4 years at the European Union in Brussels. Just before the financial crisis in Greece she decided to move back to Sydney with her twin toddlers. In her new country, without any family or support network, she started establishing herself by working as a medical rep and volunteering in different Greek Community organisations. At the same time, she studied migration law and now she’s a full-time registered migration agent. She’s the president of a small Greek organisation and a proud mum.


Zehava Heinrich

Upon moving to Australia from Israel in 2014 and starting her law degree at UTS, Zehava discovered her interests in areas such as social justice, empowerment, mental health, politics and community work, and has been heavily involved in student politics for the last 3 years. She is now the Director of the Susan Wakil Fellowship, an unparalleled student political leadership program. Principally, the Fellowship provides a platform for Jewish students to contribute to campus and community life. In her spare time Zehava produces and Hosts the Floodlight podcast, a podcast that seeks to shine a light on the unspoken and ignored.

Session: Sunday, 3.45-4.20pm Daring to be Different
Madeleine Buchner

Madeleine grew up as a Young Carer for her brother and mother with a myriad of health conditions. Now she’s proving to herself and to the world that a little girl, whose family sometimes struggled to put dinner on the table, can in fact make a huge difference. From supporting one child to thousands across Australia, singing karaoke with Hanson in Philadelphia and dining with royalty, Madeleine has an inspirational story about breaking down barriers and dedicating her life to at-risk young people.



WOW Weekend 2019

Your Hosts

Caroline Lewis

Caroline joined the Board in 2004 and has been Vice President since 2014. Her desire to see The Great Synagogue live on in the hearts and minds of future generations is what drives her to utilise her design and marketing background to help put The Great at the forefront of Modern Orthodoxy, create innovative events and activities in and around the shul and inspire others’ participation. Now, as a teen and young adult life coach, she also loves to collaborate with, empower and celebrate women’s achievements. Her passion is to bring a sense of belonging, warmth and fun as well as reveling in the spirit, struggles and resilience of all women. The WOW Weekend is a realisation of that dream.

Lauren Ryder

Lauren is on the Board of the Great Synagogue and is passionate about bringing engaging events for people of all ages to the Great. When she's not helping at the Great, Lauren is the CEO of Leading Edge Global, a consulting company specialising in the delivery of business transformation projects. As a strategic change specialist, she has deep project experience spanning IT project management, organisational change management and vendor management. Her specialty is around enabling companies to adopt Digital Transformation, and she speaks publically to executives across Australia on the topic.

Women of Worth Weekend 2019

Mon, 13 July 2020 21 Tammuz 5780