CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

“Iftar” Meal at Hadassah Academic College (HAC)

Hadassah Academic College (HAC) is proud to have a diverse population of staff and students that includes ultra-Orthodox students, Muslim Arabs, Christian Arab, Ethiopian Jews, and many new immigrants from around the world.

In light of Ramadan, the Arab-Muslim students from HAC’s Department of Communication Disorders hosted a traditional “Iftar-Ramadan” meal for Jewish students and lecturers to learn more about the holiday and its customs.

“Iftar” is the evening meal at which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.

Department Chair Prof. Joel Walters, an observant Orthodox Jew, thanking the Muslim students for their initiative.

During the course of the evening, the Arab-Muslim students explained to the participating students the background and significance of the Ramadan holiday including its obligation to serve the less fortunate and its commitment to family.

The meal was held in the courtyard of the College’s campus and created a beautiful atmosphere of togetherness and unity – something that HAC prides itself on!

Ben’s Story

*Below is a story from the WIZO Impact

“It is my way of showing gratitude, and in doing so, I am rewarded even more,” said Ilana, whose son, Ben, was diagnosed as being ‘on the autism spectrum’ at a routine early age assessment at a WIZO Daycare Centre he attends.

Ilana explained, “I thought he was just naughty, he had tantrums. He refused to eat and I could barely cope with him. It was as if everything we were doing for him was wrong but everyone said it was just a phase he was going through, and I always thought it would get better after he grew past the ‘terrible twos’ age.”

But staff and caregivers at Ben’s Daycare Centre knew better. As a result of the diagnosis, WIZO’s special education therapists devised a program of specialized treatment for Ben, both in daycare and at home. Slowly, but surely there was a marked improvement in his behaviour.

“I would go into the Daycare Centre to take part in the sessions and it was wonderful to see Ben responding. It was like magic. That was when I knew that WIZO had saved my child and my own sanity! I just knew that I had to share that joy, and so I retrained to become a caregiver.

Today, I work at the very same WIZO Daycare Centre. Now, I am part of that magic. I love every one of those little children just as if they are my own. The tools I received have also helped me personally as a mother to Ben and his sisters. Just like Ben, every child is special. Thank you, WIZO!”

Link to original article:

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.”