CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

CHW Nahalal Youth Village: Meet Karni

Karni is a 14-year-old student studying at CHW Nahalal Youth Village. One of Karni’s passions in life is horseback riding. In fact, since she was a little girl, Karni has been riding horses; for her, it is as natural as walking!

Recently, Karni took part in a national horseback riding competition in Israel. The winner of the competition not only received a place in the National Cup Finals, but also had the opportunity compete in an international competition.

Karni won the nationals and went on to represent Israel in the International Competition where she won first place!

CHW Nahalal is the perfect fit for Karni as it has horses on campus and every day, when Karni finishes school, she is the first to the stables riding horses.

Congratulations to Karni and CHW Nahalal!

CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village Nominated for the National Education Prize

At the beginning of this school year, CHW Hadassim was pleased to learn that the supervisor of the village, Ms. Aliza Schreier, intended on presenting CHW Hadassim as a candidate for the Education Prize for this year.

Ze’ev Twito, Director of CHW Hadassim and his team felt that this was not only an excellent endeavor, but especially meaningful as this year CHW Hadassim celebrates its 70th anniversary! Ze’ev shared. ”CHW Hadassim excels organizationally, pedagogically, and educationally.”

CHW Hadassim is amongst the 120 educational institutions that are part of the Education and Rural Education Administration, which includes 70 schools and 40 youth villages.  

CHW Hadassim proudly succeeded in passing the preliminary stage of the competition which was assessed by the Ministry of Education; and moved to the next stage where the village underwent tests to qualify on a national level.

The Prize Committee of the Rural Education Administration, headed by Chairman Boaz Columbus, recently visited CHW Hadassim and met with parents, students, teachers, staff, and management. Following the visit, the Prize Committee announced that CHW Hadasssim has passed and is now contending for the National Education Prize! Ze’ev shares, “We are happy, full of pride, and especially strengthened by the Ministry of Education’s appreciation of the spirit of CHW Hadassim.”

Congratulations to CHW Hadassim and we look forward to learning about the final decision!

Hugs for Rosa

Story from World WIZO, The WIZO Impact, Issue No. 6 (minor changes made by CHW)

*Name Changed for Confidentiality

It is 7:00am on a spring Sunday morning in Tel Aviv and *Rosa can hardly wait to be unbuckled from her buggy to be swept up into the arms of the metapelet (caregiver) in a warm hug at the WIZO Daycare she attends.

Over the weekend, Rosa has missed the closeness of her warm and welcoming caregivers. She has missed climbing upon the knee of the nursery assistants and playing closely with her little friends. Over the weekend, Rosa had sat alone, mostly watching TV. Sometimes, she looked out of the window and saw other children and their parents playing in the park, but Rosa’s mother did not approve of that.

It was only at the daycare that Rosa could be totally at ease sitting on the floor, picking up her toys and playing with the puzzles because no one there insisted on wearing plastic gloves when they picked her up or took her by the hand. And as a two-year-old toddler, Rosa was entitled to be messy and she needed to touch.

But home is fraught for Rosa. Despite the pleas from her husband, Rosa’s mother refuses to get treatment for her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which has had an adverse effect on her daughter’s well being. Rosa’s mother will not hug her daughter for fear of germs, nor will she brush Rosa’s beautiful blond hair because she says she ‘might catch something’. She insists on covering the handles of the buggy with plastic bags and she pushes her daughter away when she tries to hold her hand.

Rosa’s mother cannot bring herself to have any close physical contact with Rosa. Typically, her OCD manifests itself as a fear of contamination by dirt and a compulsion for extreme order and tidiness. One time, Rosa arrived at the daycare with red, sore hands when her mother had scrubbed them too vigorously to ‘get rid of all the germs’ after Rosa had stroked the neighbor’s dog. Rosa’s mother often sends Rosa to the daycare wearing dirty clothes, as she believes there are also germs lurking in the washing machine.

Away from the daycare, Rosa’s father is the only stabilizing factor in the little girl’s life and he works closely with the social workers and support staff at the daycare but his work requires him to often spend time abroad. Sigal, the WIZO social worker, explains: “I always know when Rosa’s father is away, because we see a regression in Rosa’s responses and behavior. I am in close contact with her mother, I invite her to therapy sessions, and she is always happy to comply. I bring her into my office with Rosa and talk to her while Rosa plays with the toys on the floor and we chat, completely at ease. It is important that Rosa’s mother sees that it doesn’t bother anybody for Rosa to roll around on the floor and pick up toys from the floor. There have been breakthroughs. Rosa’s mother has opened up to me. She admits she has a problem and she wants to make life easier for her daughter. In fact, we have seen a great improvement since Rosa first came to the daycare just one and a half years ago. She was such a closed, introverted baby, so unused to physical contact. We have shown her that it is natural to touch, to hug and to share. She responds so well now.”

Rosa attends the daycare from seven in the morning until seven in the evening. She receives all the basic physical, emotional and developmental needs as well as nutritious home-cooked meals. Her parents are grateful to the daycare staff for their professional and holistic care of their daughter. They have benefitted greatly through therapy and parenting courses. Rosa’s mother had suffered post natal depression soon after Rosa’s birth, which resulted in her OCD. She says she does not know what she would do if it were not for the love and support of the WIZO staff. “I do try but I find it so difficult to respond in the way that Rosa needs me to. My heart breaks when she puts her arms up for a hug and I can’t give it. I want to but then my OCD takes over and I just cannot bear to touch her.” Rosa’s mother confided. “One day, I know I will but for now, I can only thank WIZO for providing my beautiful daughter with the hugs and love she so deserves.”


Story taken from THE WIZO IMPACT (removed some details to make suitable for CHW)


From the moment he was born, Tal* suffered the agony of narcotic withdrawal. His mother had used Heroin all through her pregnancy and Tal displayed classic signs of NAD (narcotic abstinence syndrome). His symptoms included tremors, poor feeding, breathing issues, irritability, fever, low muscle tone, and stiffness.

At the age of four months, Tal was referred by the welfare authorities to a WIZO Daycare. He had severe mental and motor development issues. Tal was a very sad baby. In the early days in WIZO’s care, Tal would lay rigid in his cot with a pained expression. Tears ran down his cheeks and yet he barely had the strength to cry. Unlike the other babies, he did not kick his legs or arms. He did not respond to heat, cold or hunger and no matter how much the caregivers tried to raise a smile from him none was forthcoming, and as the other babies began to sit up, and to crawl, Tal lay still. The daycare director, Maya*, nursed Tal and he began to eat. She spoke softly to him, and carried him around the nursery pointing out everything in an attempt to coax a reaction. She said that he was just like a rag doll in her arms. Maya explained: “Tal required a comprehensive treatment regime to stimulate his cognitive and motor senses. It is between the ages of four months to twelve months that mental and motor-sensory deficiencies surface and this is the time when treatment becomes crucial. We worked tirelessly, together with therapists, to stimulate movement and strengthen his flaccid muscles and bouts of limb stiffness. You would always find me sitting in my office massaging his little arms and legs while doing other jobs. Tal taught me to multi-task!

Eventually, the weak and fretful baby began to put weight on. He started to respond to treatment and caught up with many of the other babies. The perseverance of the day care staff paid off. When Tal took his first steps, the entire daycare erupted in applause. Tal’s grandmother who looks after him witnessed that memorable event. “When he toddled towards me, with a big smile on his face, it was the happiest day of my life. I have endured so much heartache with my daughter in and out of rehab, I volunteer at the daycare, helping to feed the babies at meal times. It keeps me from thinking about my own problems, and now, for the first time, I can see that Tal has a chance to look forward to a happy and healthy future. I have WIZO to thank for that,” Said Tal’s grandmother.

Caregiver, Sigal, added, “Oh but you should see him now! We call him ‘Tal hatotach’ (Tal the cannonball). He never sits still; he is full of energy. He is such a bright, inquisitive child.” Maya adds, “I am often asked if it is difficult to work in a daycare where the needs of the local population are so great. It is true to say that we fight a battle for the children in our care on a daily basis but I would not have it any other way. Seeing Tal, and the other little children like him running around the playground laughing and smiling makes it all worthwhile.”

Tal is not the only baby at a WIZO Daycare whose earliest years have been blighted by circumstances and the life choices forced upon them by their parents. He is one of many who have been referred by the welfare services. “We don’t differentiate,” said Maya, “It doesn’t matter how difficult their backgrounds are. What matters to us is that these children get the same start in life as every other child so that they are equipped to face whatever the future holds. Life is not easy but why should they suffer? In our care, they thrive, they get home cooked nutritious meals, they play, they learn and they are safe. They get remedial treatments when needed and of course all the love and hugs that every child deserves.”

*Names changed for confidentiality

Link to original article:

President’s Award of Excellence

Annually, the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, honours soldiers and officers with the highly esteemed President’s Award of Excellence that awards soldiers for their devotion to duty and professionalism.  

President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, at the Awards Ceremony

120 recipients were recognized; among them were three graduates from the dormitories of CHW Hadsssim Children and Youth Village: Paulina Rodkovsky, Dan Golan, and David Svilder.

Paulina Rodkovsky

Paulina grew up in the dormitories at CHW Hadassim. While Paulina was born without her right arm, she always sought to have a typical life like her peers. At CHW Hadassim, she was always encouraged to pursue her dreams and overcome any challenges that would come her way. Paulina fought to join a prestigious unit in the IDF and wanted to serve the same service as her fellow citizens in spite of her physical disabilities. Today, Paulina serves in an elite unit and has received the highest honour from President Rivlin.

Dan Golan

Dan received this award for the second consecutive year. Dan’s mother passed away when he was a little boy and he spent the early years of his childhood living in Be’er Sheva with his father, sister, and grandmother. His home environment was very difficult and so when Dan was eight years old, he arrived to CHW Hadassim. He first lived in the Family Unit and then in the dormitories. Dan shares, “CHW Hadassim made me the person I am today. I am a leader, I possess initiative, I am responsible, and this is all thanks to CHW Hadassim.” Today, Dan is part of the Israeli Northern Command. Dan shared, “Receiving the award was an honour and emotional; it was seeing all my hard work come to life.”

David Svilder

David is a Captain in the Golani Brigade. David arrived to CHW Hadassim without parents and in need of a loving home. Here, at CHW Hadassim he grew into a happy and confident young man. David knew he wanted to give back to his country and fought to join the Golani Brigade.  

This is an exceptional achievement for each of these soldiers, CHW Hadassim, and Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW). Through your support, you nurtured these children at CHW Hadassim and helped to create the next generation of leaders who will contribute positively to the State of Israel.