TWO Jewish women with a passion for making the world a better place were major winners at the 2019 International Women’s Day Bondi Awards, held on March 8.
Bondi resident Rebecca Veksler, the founder and managing director of SoL Cups – which produces hand-blown, chemical free glass cups that can be infinitely re-used – won the environment category.
Veksler, 25, revealed she and her mum, Rimma, established SoL Cups in 2016 out of a deep desire to reduce the everyday use of plastic and prevent its toxic impact on the environment, and human and animal health.
“I’d been very much brought up with an understanding of how damaging plastic can be, so we decided to see what we could do to create an alternative to plastic cups for people purchasing their daily coffees,” Veksler said.
“When we first launched it, it was before [ABC TV’s] The War On Waste program started, and we initially just reached out to as many people in the eastern suburbs as we could about what we wanted to achieve.
“People – especially within the Jewish community – were so supportive from the beginning, and before long we had our first 100 stockists.
“We see our products also acting as an educational tool, about how harmful plastics are and why we shouldn’t be producing it at all.”
Veksler said winning the environment category was personally “really special”, and will help SoL Cups in its efforts to “continue to deliver better ways to help the environment.”
Laya Slavin, from Our Big Kitchen, won the Bondi Humanitarian of the Year category.
Slavin was recognised for her tireless work for the not-for-profit communal kitchen in Flood Street, Bondi, that produces 72,000 cooked meals per year – through volunteerism and partnerships with food rescue organisations – that are distributed to disadvantaged people.
“This privilege [winning the award] comes with responsibility,” Slavin said, adding she looks forward to continuing to “further develop our work, particularly with some of the other wonderful [award] contestants”.
Wentworth MP Kerryn Phelps was a presenter at the annual awards, an initiative of Bondi Chamber of Commerce, Bondi Business Women, and The Bucket List Bondi.