wof9Women from all walks of life joined together on the 15th May, 2011, for the 8th Annual Women of Faith Dinner.

The event, organised by Affinity Intercultural Foundation, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Uniting Church NSW Synod and the Diocese of Parramatta, marks the annual coming together of women from various faith traditions to join in a night of socialising and reflection on the commonalities of womanhood from a variety of viewpoints.  Imam Fethullah Gulen, one of the great contemporary Muslim scholars said: “A women’s inner depth, chastity, and dignity elevate her higher than angels and cause her to resemble an unmatched diamond… Her Behaviour inspires admiration and respect… We hope that fortunate future generations will awake to knowledge, spirituality and truth so that women may once again become ‘the apple of their eye’”.

wof4The theme of the night was “Inspiring Women”, and there were certainly plenty of inspirational women amongst the group.  Ruveyda Ozturk, MC for the night, started the night by highlighting the Women of Faith Dinner as the one and only Interfaith and Intercultural women’s event hosted annually in Sydney. This dinner has long provided women from all faiths and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to network, interact and get to know each other on a social and spiritual platform. Romy Rutovitz, Seforosa Caroll and Zeyneb Briggs opened the night beautifully with recitations from the Torah, Bible and Quran respectively. The recitations each told a story of an inspirational woman from within each faith tradition, resonating with many in the room. Everyone was  emotionally touched and amazed by Muslim presenter Zeyneb Briggs ‘s courage and devotion to life as a believing and  inspirational woman after the several  personal tragedies she had endured.

wof3Federal MP Ms Julie Owens , MP for Parramatta, and State MP Mrs Barbara Perry,  State MP for Auburn were also present amongst the 220 guests. After three course meal was served, .   everyone had the chance to meet and greet one another, with some old acquaintances having the chance to catch up with old friends, whilst others making many new friends. The Hon Justice Virginia Bell provided an insightful look into the High Court System in Australia and how this was linked to her own inspirational story. Serving in the High Court, as the fourth woman to be appointed, is truly an inspiration to us all. With the Hon Justice Bell kicking the night off, the women in the room discussed their own inspirational stories with one another and really had the chance to reflect on this. The atmosphere in the room was truly wonderful and inspiring to see so many women mingling with each other.

Dahlia Dior and Stella Levinsky, our Jewish Performance for the night, really got the party started and there wasn’t a person left sitting after their amazing performance. Three songs later and the crowd had quite a workout! Basic Soul followed with their unforgettable hymns and angelic voices, treating the audience with their rendition of the World Youth Day song. Hallelujah! Our final act, Muslim performer Aysha Goknur, opened with a beautiful recitation from the Quran and finished with a bang with her amazing opera vocals, finishing with a song sung in German!

wof11With the night drawing to a close, Melissa McCurdie from the steering Committee provided a Vote of thanks, particularly highlighting the efforts of the Steering committee for their consistent hard work, year after year, in delivering such an amazing standout event, the only one in Sydney of its kind!    The evening continued with Mrs Hacer Saral, Director and head of the Affinity Ladies Teammaking a special presentation of recognition to Affinity Director Mrs Arzu Aydogan, who had brilliantly Project Managed the event with a marvellous accomplishment.

There was one final treat in store, a fun and interactive line dancing performance lead by Julie Talbot, which saw the dance floor full of energetic women, dancing with their new found friends and sharing in the spirit of womanhood.

Some Feedback from the evening were as follows:

wof6This is incredible, where have I been for the last 8 years? – Julie Owens, Federal MP for Paramatta

Best Women of Faith Dinner I have attended in 8 years – Barbara Perry, State MP for Auburn

Enjoyed meeting women from other faiths – Teresa

Highlight of the night was Jewish, Muslim and Christian women being able to talk and hang out – Julie

8 years I’ve been enjoying this event, and I will be enjoying it again next year! – Khalida

Absolutely wonderful, so uplifting! Highlight was the discussions around the table with the various women – Ronnie

My 5th or 6th year and this was the best!Spoke to many people who loved it and they will all be coming back next year – Sister Valerie

Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and efforts in bringing harmony across our faith cultures. Blessings and gods peace to you – Christine

Such a wonderful night for us all. I think the sense of community, love and respect in the room was exceptional. I know the people I asked had a great experience, one they won’t forget and can only lead to greater understanding of other faiths and believers. The love that pours out of heart is contagious –  Gill

It was the first time I attended . I found it immensely empowering and thoroughly enjoyful. Thank You once again for providing the opportunity for women of different faiths to intermingle –  Nazan

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