Penny Hurst OAM honoured at ceremony in Israel

24 May 2023

UIA is proud to announce that Penny Hurst OAM was honoured at the Keren Hayesod-UIA Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner as part of the 2023 International Women’s Division Mifgash, held in Israel in April. The award was given to Penny for her six years of dedication as Keren Hayesod-UIA (KH-UIA) President of International Women’s Division (IWD), a role from which she is now stepping down.  

Her passion, commitment and energy in this role was acknowledged at the ceremony and she was honoured by Israel’s First Lady, Michal Herzog; Steven Lowy AM, Chairman of the KH-UIA World Board of Trustees and Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of KH-UIA in moving speeches about the impact of her life’s work.

Penny’s dedication to UIA and the People of Israel has spanned over numerous lay leadership positions, including Chairperson of UIA NSW Women’s Division, Chairperson of UIA NSW General Division, Past President of UIA Australia Women’s Division and currently Life Chairman of UIA NSW General Division. Internationally, until September 2016, Penny held the position of Vice President of IWD for English-Speaking Countries until she was elected to the role of President. 

In 1998 Penny received the inaugural ‘Keren Hayesod Yakir Award’ in honour of Israel’s 50th Anniversary for outstanding service to the Jewish people at a ceremony in Jerusalem, which was attended by the President of Israel and three Israeli Prime Ministers, past and present.

In 2007, Penny received the Member of the Order of Australia Award (OAM) from the Australian Government for her service to the Jewish community. 

Penny remains passionate and committed to her work for Israel and KH-UIA. “It has been a great honour to have been President of IWD for the past six years and a privilege to have been surrounded by dynamic women whose energy, talent and dedication I admire so much. When taking on the role as President, I felt a deep sense of responsibility not only to continue the legacy of those who have gone before me, but to look to the future and to work hard to create a pathway to ensure that Women’s Division remains valued, respected and relevant,” Penny said.

“I am privileged to have worked closely with Penny. Her wise counsel, mentorship and special friendship have always guided me in my communal work and I know that IWD members share these sentiments,” Bev Michaelis, UIA NSW General Division Executive member said.

UIA Australia Women's Division President Debbie Schaffer OAM said: “Penny is the most caring, loving and passionate person regarding her love for Israel. It has been my honour and pleasure to serve under her as State President of WA Women’s Division and Federal President under her as International Women’s Division President.”