CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

Assaf Harofeh Medical Center Races in Memory of Soldier

Nearly 50 employees from Assaf Harofeh Medical Center participated in a special race that was held in memory of Solomon Gaviria.

Solomon was one of two soldiers who were murdered in a terror attack that occurred nearly two months ago on Har Adar. Solomon’s mother, Yashiyamabat, is an employee at Assaf Harofeh and the hospital community wanted to come together to show his mother and family their support.

The race took place in Beer Yaakov, the neighbourhood where Solomon lived. Solomon has been described by friends and family as an “Outstanding pupil with a big heart who loved the country and wanted to protect it.”  

One runner, Haim Izbitsky, shared, “We have come today to participate in the race out of deep solidarity of our family and our work friend, Yashiyamabat Gaviria. We pray that this special commemoration will bring some relief to the grieving family and we will continue to embrace and accompany his mother and the family.”


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!

A Powerful Message to Girls

Last week at the MTV VMAs, pop star P!nk shared a moving conversation that she had with her young daughter and her impressions that followed the conversation. P!nk expressed a powerful message that emphasized the critical need to empower girls and young women in our society.

P!nk’s speech reflects what CHW has been proudly advocating for 100 years; promoting women’s rights, advancing women in society, raising awareness on pertinent issues, and empowering women.   

Through many avenues, CHW seeks to make an impact on the lives of women in both Canada and Israel. CHW, in conjunction with World WIZO, supports shelters for women escaping domestic violence, educational programs to promote women in the workplace, and empowerment programs for girls-at-risk.

The Empowerment Program for Girls at-Risk at CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village supports girls in the dormitories instilling them with tools to become strong and independent young women. The program equips the girls with an education to combat bullying and peer pressure while strengthening their confidence and self worth.

The Women’s Leadership Course is focused on instilling leadership skills, strengthening gender awareness, imparting practical tools, and exposing women to female trailblazers in order to inspire these women to embark on social initiatives.

To learn more about CHW and the work we do, visit our website at

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.”

Dalia Loves to Dance

Story taken from World WIZO, The WIZO Impact, Issue No. 6
*Name changed for confidentiality  

Dalia* loves to dance. Whenever she hears music, she jumps from her chair and sways her body as graceful as a swan. “She wants to be a ballerina,” Dalia’s mother explained, her eyes glistening with pride, “And I will move heaven and earth for her to fulfill her dreams.”

It was not so long ago that such aspirations would have been unthinkable. Dalia’s mother looks wistful as she recalls how she had wrapped her petrified six-year-old daughter and her two-year-old son in blankets and bundled them into the taxi in the middle of the night.

A social worker accompanied them on a long journey to the WIZO women’s shelter in Ashdod, far away from her violent husband’s reach and far away from their home, which had become the unhappiest, most dangerous place on earth.

For long days, Dalia cowered in the corner of the room she shared with her mother and brother at the shelter, her body shaking in fear. In the middle of the night, the screams of her nightmares pierced the silence as the women in the shelter who had been released from their own nightmares finally slept soundly in their beds.

The child psychologist who worked with the children at the women’s shelter was very gentle in her approach to Dalia, letting the child open up to her at her own pace. She worked with Dalia on a one-to-one basis, quietly obtaining her trust. The breakthrough came when Dalia timidly reached out and took the cute little teddy bear that the child psychologist offered her. Dalia hugged it tightly to her chest, and asked timidly, “Can I keep it?” As the psychologist explained, “Of course, we treat the mother and her children. The children generally cannot process the atrocities that they have witnessed, particularly when one loved parent attacks the other. We, as grownups, cannot accept it, so can you imagine the emotional damage this has on an innocent child?

With patience and sensitivity, Dalia’s fragile confidence was restored by the child psychologists and the social workers who drew out painful truths and encouraged the child to focus on what she liked to do, what made her smile. Through music and movement, Dalia was able to express her feelings, and this paved the way for the soothing therapies that empowered this little girl to let go of her fear and the dark emotions that had always clouded her young life.

After their time spent in the WIZO women’s shelter, the family have healed and moved on. Dalia’s mother has returned to work equipped with new skills and new self-worth, her little boy is in a WIZO Daycare and Dalia attends school. Every week, Dalia attends ballet class, and according to her tutor, she has real talent.

Dalia is just one of thousands of children who, along with their mothers, have been both protected and empowered by their time spent in WIZO shelters.

These are all children who have either witnessed or been subject to a variety of damaging behaviors and abuse, resulting in deep-seeded psychological and emotional trauma. The main goal of the shelters is to provide a safe haven where they prepare the mothers and children for an independent and violence-free life. To this end, the shelters provide group and individual therapies as well as tutoring to assist in any lack in studies. Mothers receive legal aid, therapies for mind, body and soul as well as crucial job training – and the children receive what every child deserves – a childhood far removed from harm.