CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

The Nature of Things

Noah Cohen-Tzemach, an industrial design student at Hadassah Academic College (HAC), saw the plastic playground sets and artificial grass that sprung up across kindergartens in Israel as both an eye sore and a missed opportunity for the children they were meant to serve.

“Preschoolers learn primarily though sensory experiences, so well-designed natural gardens provide better opportunities for social, emotional and cognitive development.”

Cohen-Tzemach dedicated her final year in The DAN Department of Creative Human Design to research and develop alternative designs and products for school, inspired by the natural yards and gardens once enjoyed by children. Her final project, ‘The Nature of Things,’ is a design manual created specifically for educators working with young children during the most influential stage of their life. Included are clear instructions on how to enhance the overall outdoor experience through introducing a variety of stimuli that cater to the senses, encourage curiosity, creativity and meaningful connections. For instance, Cohen-Temach revamped traditional sandboxes with sleek and modular designs that help children acquire and learn crucial skills- like fine-motor development through playing and planting in the soil and dirt. The manual also maps out an array of possible group activities, such as gardening, which encourages better cooperation with friends, increases levels of patience, responsibility and self-confidence.  

Cohen-Tzemach’s manual has never been timelier, as Israel cautiously reopens schools and kindergartens in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. ‘The Nature of Things’ offers practical advice on how to create a dynamic educational environment and a much needed safe alternative to learning indoors. Best of all, during times of such uncertainty, fresh air and nature can help soothe and reduce stress among children and teachers alike!

The Local Athlete Project

Yarin Arbiv always considered himself the ‘sporty’ type.  So, when it came to choosing his final design project for the The DAN Department of Creative Human Design at Hadassah Academic College (HAC), Arbiv looked to solve a problem that many fitness enthusiasts face.

“Fitness is something that is very important to me. But I often prefer exercising outdoors rather than in gyms. The problem is that if you’re looking for a particular workout facility, it’s not always available or accessible.” 

Little did he know, the problem he was tackling would become a central issue throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. As new lockdown measures and strict safety regulations took effect, most gyms and fitness classes were forced to shut down. Yet, the need for exercise and physical activity only grew as a parallel, mental health crisis began to unfold.

“I believe fitness, and sports in general, is something that strengthens us- both physically and mentally.” 

In the midst of Israel’s lockdown, Arbiv explored ways for making exercise and training more accessible, while still factoring in the new financial reality. The spike in unemployment and the massive layoffs meant that even fewer people would be able to afford gym memberships and fitness classes. 

Arbiv created innovative design solutions that combined familiar street facilities, like benches and bus stops, with fitness facilities that are easily accessible to everyone.

“I had an idea to make adjustments to facilities that already existed on every corner of the street. I gave them a modern, sporty look that would entice people to come and train.”

The result is The Local Athlete Project, a series of street furniture, including benches, poles and sidewalk barriers that have been functionally designed and modified to serve as a small fitness facility. The sleek designs allow people to easily move their workouts outdoors while still improving their cardio activity, building muscular strength and overall endurance. Best of all, the workouts can be done safely within social distancing guidelines, and all for free!   

From Curry Connoisseur to Citrus Specialist: A Corona Culinary Journey

Daniel Shechter was on the last El Al emergency evacuation flight from Mumbai to Tel Aviv.  Rather than ride out the pandemic abroad, Shechter made the difficult decision to return home while international travel was still a viable option.

Unlike thousands of other young Israelis, commonly found on what’s referred to as India’s ‘Hummus Trail,’ because of the sheer number of Israeli tourists, Shechter spent the last 7 years out of his home in Mumbai. 

Since graduating from The Photographic Communications Department at Hadassah Academic College, his career took off as a sought-after photographer in the international culinary scene. Yet, it was a chance meeting, while a student at Le Codon Bleu in Paris, that Shechter met a friend from India who would change the course of his career. His friend, a famous Indian Chef, invited him to Mumbai to help launch a new chain of French bakery cafés. 

“Of all the places in the world, I never imagined I would end up in India! I’m glad my destiny brought me here, it’s a fascinating place.”

Since the move to India, Shechter’s work expanded to include photography and food styling for top lifestyle brands and leading international chefs. He also collaborated on a number of projects, including an ‘insider’s’ travel guide to Mumbai and a popular food photography workshop. 

But, like thousands of Israelis scattered around the world, Shechter had just a few days to pack up and sell all of his belongings.  The sudden move back to Israel was jarring-even for a serial entrepreneur who was used to chaos and uncertainty. With so many landmark restaurants and top notch chefs struggling to stay afloat, pivoting and adjusting his business model was no easy feat. 

Now based out of his Jaffa studio, it’s clear that Shechter used his creativity and practical skills, honed as a student, to forge ahead.

“As someone who lives and breathes art and design, I take inspiration from a variety of sources. With a background in French patisserie, I have a deep understanding of food photography and the highest attention to details, so crucial for precise visual outcomes.”

One only needs to sneak a peek at the July cover of Israel fashion and lifestyle publication, La Isha Chef Magazine, to fully appreciate his talent.

So, until the skies re-open, Shechter will continue exploring Israel’s culinary scene and bringing a taste of India to a devoted fan base in Israel.

For more of Schechter’s exquisite works, follow @shechter on Instagram.

A Cake as Unique as its Creator

The buzz of excitement could be felt upon entering the school grounds. Empty classrooms and corridors were once again filled with students and staff- eagerly greeting each other after weeks of lockdown due to the Coronavirus. Life was finally getting back to normal, albeit in carefully calculated stages. 

The first priority was to return all grade 11 and 12 students to school so they could prepare for their matriculation exams and finish the term. The stakes were high, especially for students at CHW Netanya Technological High School. Many struggled for years to fit in or find a supportive environment that caters to their special needs and circumstances. Then, COVID-19 only exacerbated the socio-economic disparities and challenges that students struggle with. For many, conditions at home were not conducive to remote learning. This was especially true for those in vocational programs, like the Patisserie Track, who depend on hands-on training and specialized equipment only available at school. 

Despite the many obstacles and weeks away from school, the Patisserie students quickly bounced back into action- just ahead of their Matriculation Exams. The Patisserie Exam requires no pens or paper, only finished products. Students are given 48 hours to prepare a selection of baked goods which are evaluated and graded by an external team of professionals. 

The examination hall could easily be mistaken for a high-end hotel dining room. Every corner was filled with unique displays of professionally baked delicacies. Tri-colored mousses, elaborate eclairs and decadent cookies were showcased alongside beautiful baguettes, creamy quiches and the classic potato puffed-pastry.

As the exam officially began, a Patisserie instructor pointed to one display and declared:   

“This is not a cheesecake! This is the culmination of two years of devotion and hard work!”

A quick glance beyond the exquisite, lemon zest cheesecake and one could fully appreciate this truth.

Clearly, every cake is as unique as its creator. 

Like Sami, an 11th grade Patisserie student who created the showpiece cheesecake along with an array of magnificent meringues, flawless churros, donuts, and a fresh batch of whole wheat pita. Sami had never baked before joining the program. Born in Israel to newly immigrated parents from Ethiopia, Sami grew up with many hardships.  School was tough and Sami never had much confidence or self-esteem.  He developed unhealthy habits and filled much of the void in his life by eating junk food. 

A few months ago, Sami decided it was time for change. He slowly discovered his talents and a passion for baking. He felt supported and ready to step out of the shadows. Understanding that change begins from within, Sami adopted a healthier lifestyle and diet that included daily exercise. The more he challenged himself the more his confidence grew. He even lost 60 pounds and has never felt better! 

Sami’s professional baking and carefully crafted pastries reveals a patient, precise and professional master of his trade. His impeccable skills were not honed over years or perfected in the luxury of home.  But his new found talent, success and self-confidence are sure to guide him towards a very bright future.

Looking back at all the impressive displays around the room, one would never guess the incredible back story of each finished product. A story of trial and error, love and loss, but also of happy endings.  

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 on your remarkable achievements!

 

 

CHW Netanya Technological High School Festive Lemon Zest Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  500 g Cream Cheese
  500 ml Sour Cream
  ½ cup Sugar
  2 Tbsps. Flour
  1 tsp. Vanilla
  ½ tsp. Lemon zest (optional)
  2 Eggs
Crust
  400 g Petite Beurre Biscuits, crushed
  100 g Melted Butter
  ½ tsp Ginger or Cinnamon (optional)

 

Instructions:

Crust:

  1. In a blender, crush Petit Beurre Biscuits
  2. Add melted butter to crushed biscuits and mix well
  3. Flatten into circular pie dish and leave in fridge for 20 minutes before adding topping

Filling:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 160 degrees
  2. Beat first 6 ingredients in a large bowl until blended
  3. Add eggs and continue mixing until just blended
  4. Pour into crust
  5. Bake 40 minutes
  6. Cool and refrigerate 3 hours until firm
  7. Add lemon zest and/or seasonal berries on top (optional)

Enjoy!

Bake the World a Better Place!

Despite the full lock down in Israel, CHW Netanya Technological High School is in full swing, running sessions for students through distance learning over ZOOM.

Eyal Levy, Head of the Patisserie Program, shares his secret Passover Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies with CHW.

“Baking brings people together. During challenging times like these, it’s important to keep busy and stay positive. I hope our CHW friends across Canada will find as much comfort and joy in baking as we do here!”

CHW Netanya Technological High School

 Kosher for Passover Recipe: 

Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
  2 Eggs
  1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  ½ cup White Sugar
  ½ cup Brown Sugar
     
Chocolate Ganache
  1 cup (6.2 oz) Bittersweet Chocolate
  100 grams Margarine or Butter
     
Dry Ingredients
  ½ cup Matzo Cake Meal
  2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  1 teaspoon Baking Powder
    Pinch of Salt
  2/3 cup Pecans (coarsely chopped)
  1 cup Chocolate Chips
  ½ cup White Chocolate (coarsely chopped)

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 170 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat together eggs, vanilla extract, white sugar and brown sugar until mixture is thick and consistent
  3. Melt chocolate and butter/margarine over a double boiler. Stir occasionally until ganache is smooth
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa)
  5. In a separate bowl, mix chocolate chips, pecans and white chocolate
  6. Add ganache into the egg mixture and slowly add the dry ingredients in 2 batches
  7. Add the chocolate chips, pecan and white chocolate until batter is consistent
  8. Cool batter
  9. Scoop 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of batter and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to leave space between each cookie.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes until surface looks dry/cracked
  11. Let the cookies cool off completely before removing from baking sheet

Enjoy!