Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)
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
|500 g||Cream Cheese|
|500 ml||Sour Cream|
|½ tsp.||Lemon zest (optional)|
|400 g||Petite Beurre Biscuits, crushed|
|100 g||Melted Butter|
|½ tsp||Ginger or Cinnamon (optional)|
“The writing was on the wall, in blood”
Ora Korazim, Chairperson of WIZO Israel, in a TV interview with Kan News
Home isolation aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus has triggered a dangerous wave of violence against women. Since the start of Israel’s lockdown, five women have been brutally murdered by their partners. Ora Korazim, Chairperson of WIZO Israel, reflects on the opening of Beit Heuss Emergency Shelter for Women and Children this past week:
I have been privileged to chair WIZO’s Israel Federation for almost a year now. But the last 2 months have been by far the most intense, emotional, challenging and proud months I have experienced in this organization.
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our social efforts were targeted at women living in violence, single mothers, teenage girls and children at risk.
Since the Israeli government imposed a lockdown, 5 women were murdered!
The writing was on the wall, in blood.
We need to speak up and take action!
Hotlines and women’s shelters throughout Israel are reporting a spike in domestic abuse cases and finding it difficult to provide solutions for those women in need.
‘WIZO- doing what matters’ isn’t just a slogan. This is exactly what we do! We are the first and only organization to open a new shelter in Israel in over 15 years.
We have been working 24/7 to urgently get all official approvals from the Ministry of Welfare. We recruited professional staff and luckily received huge support from our professional teams from Ashdod and Jerusalem shelters.
After only 5 days of operating, this life saving shelter is near capacity with 10 women and 19 children.
Upon arriving, one of the women who ran away from the hell of domestic abuse, shared:
“Just being in this beautiful place is a healing experience.”
We are literally saving lives and bringing smiles to children that only a week ago were experiencing the most horrific time of their lives. They are now playing, talking and walking without fear.
They are finally safe.
Dr. Jessica Ross, a fourth year pediatric resident at the Shamir Medical Centre (Assaf Harofeh), shares her journey from New York to Tel Aviv, and why she feels lucky and safer in Israel at the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I always loved Israel and was delighted when I got accepted to The Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. I had a great experience as a student and wanted to stay on after graduation. Israel felt right for me. I also met my husband during my last year of studies. He’s originally from New Zealand and we now live in Tel Aviv with our three-year-old daughter.
I did my residency at different hospitals, including an elective at Shamir Medical Centre (Assaf Harofeh). I grew to love the warm and supportive working environment, especially in Pediatrics. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and seen first-hand how it has transitioned from an old and outdated unit to a state of the art department, thanks to the generous support of CHW.
You can’t compare the old facility with the new Debbie Eisenberg and Gary Levene PICU. The children that arrive can now be treated in separate rooms with dignity, alongside the best medical equipment and care. The feeling you get when you enter the department is incredible. We are all very proud of it. The working environment feels top quality and I believe the quality of care has gone up as well.
The new facility also caters to our needs as a team. We now have a proper space for morning meetings with screens so we can continue to monitor our patients. I feel like many of our worries are gone and we can now focus on what is most important- our patients. When you have a professional and even a beautiful environment, it pushes you to do your best.
Of course, everything has changes since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic! The entire hospital has been preparing for and implementing a massive scale up. All our protocols have changed and our experienced staff are working together with other departments to help fight the virus.
It has been especially difficult to treat children during this period, as they don’t have typical symptoms. In fact, most are asymptomatic. We have to treat all children with a fever as ‘suspected’ Coronavirus cases until we can test and confirm otherwise. We set up a special Pediatric COVID-19 Ward but thankfully the children we have treated have not been critically ill.
The Pediatrics Department is a very special place. I feel very supported by my colleagues- they’re like family. The majority of us are women- a lot of powerful women! Our main challenge is to ensure we’re not all on maternity leave at the same time!
I feel very lucky to be in Israel right now. I think Israel is taking all the necessary precautions to ‘flatten the curve’. It feels much safer here than in America. I’m very worried about my parents and grandparents in New York- the epicenter of the pandemic.
Like many frontline workers, I’m juggling a lot right now. My priority is to stay safe and keep my family safe. My husband is incredibly supportive and busy caring for our daughter who is at home during the lock-down. We also have a strong community of friends around us.
We’re so thankful.”
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
|1 teaspoon||Vanilla Extract|
|½ cup||White Sugar|
|½ cup||Brown Sugar|
|1 cup (6.2 oz)||Bittersweet Chocolate|
|100 grams||Margarine or Butter|
|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)|
Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) – Mount Scopus campus. After a tiring shift, Dr. Momen Abbasi, 29, is working on his latest creation. It’s a cartoon of Little Red Riding Hood staying home, rather than risking infection or infecting her grandma with coronavirus.
“I use my drawings to spruce up what are often dull medical PowerPoint presentations,” says Abbasi from his home in the Beit Tzafafa, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. “They are also useful when showing children and adults parts of their body before a procedure so they know precisely what’s going to happen.”
From an early age, Abbasi was undecided between his passion for art and desire to become a doctor. At Hadassah Hospital, he’s found a home for both his skills.
Abbasi grew up in Silwan, a hillside Arab neighborhood near Jerusalem’s Old City. His father is the managing director of Al-Quds newspaper and his mother – a chemistry teacher. Abbasi loved playing video games and was fascinated by the animations, as he moved his avatars around colorful digital worlds.
“I never studied animation, but started drawing in sixths grade. Using programs like Photoshop and Flash, I gradually learned how to build characters,” he says.
All three of his older siblings went into medicine or dentistry. Abbasi studied medicine in Jordan, and returned in 2015 to work at HMO, where he is an intern with a focus in nephrology.
“My first corona-related drawing was a hat-tip to the medical teams in Hubei, China – a medical knight, fighting the epidemic.”
As the virus came closer to home, so did Abassi’s drawings – trying to advise the public on best practices.
Once we are over the corona crisis, Abbasi hopes to further develop his artistic work to help HMO.
“I love this hospital. Mount Scopus is like one big family. What I’m considering doing with my artwork down the road is to use it with Hadassah medical students – for example by creating flashcards to make nephrology study a little less dry. I also want to deepen the use of drawings with patients. You can see it helps put them at ease.”