Being Jewish is such an integral part of my existence I don’t even think of it as a separate identity.
In last week’s blog post, we saw an interview featuring Taylor Hogg, a volunteer at CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village, who made beautiful jewelry for the dormitory students to wear at their Bat Mitzvah ceremony. After much planning and preparation, we are pleased to announce that the ceremony took place last week and the children had an absolute blast!
The children who live in the dormitories at CHW Hadassim enjoyed an evening filled with dancing, laughter and sweets, as well as special performances by CHW Hadassim’s Choir and Steel Drum group. Each child received a special gift, a handmade book with their pictures inside that included personal messages from friends, family members and teachers; all of whom were invited to celebrate this important milestone. The children were delighted with this party, and so happy to be the centre of attention. Everyone had a great time, including Michelle (pictured with cake), who shared that “This was the best night of my life!”.
This is a photo of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah children saying thank you.
Students play the steel drums.
More steel drums!
Michelle, one of the Bat Mitzvah girls.
A proud mother hugs her son.
The signing books that were made for the children.
The choir performs.
Taylor Hogg, who made earrings for the Bat Mitzvah girls, poses with a student.
The teachers speak to the children, praising them for their hard work and for achieving this milestone.
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
I am always impressed at the new ventures that our CHW projects embark on. Recently, a new initiative was spearheaded by CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village that focuses on merging their students with Arab students from a neighbouring community.
After much planning between teachers from both schools, grade 10 students joined together for a day filled with events aimed at bringing them together.
Students participated in activities that allowed both the Israeli and Arab children insight into one another’s lives and gave them the opportunity to get to know one another. They shared stories about what they like to do for fun, the types of sports they play, and many other topics that helped them to discover each other.
This was a very successful day and the first of what will be many future meetings together. New friends were certainly made and the goal of bridging the relationship in a positive environment was definitely reached. At the end of the visit, students exchanged Facebook information and telephone numbers in order to keep in touch with their new friends.
Ever since introducing its new healthy living initiative to the Ramat Gan neighborhood of Tel Aviv, many new faces have been spotted gracing the halls of the Rose Kanee Community Centre. With the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles within the community, the Centre has introduced a variety of fitness classes from people of all ages.
A dance class held at the Centre, catering specifically to the elderly.
From dance and gymnastics to karate and Pilates classes, Centre members from around the neighborhood have been more than grateful for the opportunity to participate in a variety of fitness options. The Centre took special care in providing a diversity of classes to meet the varying interests of the community.
This is a photo of the gymnastics class at the Centre.
Many residents of the Ramat Gan neighborhood come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and cannot afford gym memberships and professional nutrition services. As such, the new initiative represents an exciting opportunity to impact community health at large.
Everybody was kung-fu fighting!
Taking care of ourselves, whether it is through eating right or excising, is something that many of us take pride in. It is good for our minds, bodies, and souls.
Pilates class - look at those planks!
I always enjoy visiting the CHW Fertility Unit at Hadassah Hospital and hearing stories about those whose lived we have impacted. CHW has played a critical role in giving hope to so many women and families, allowing them a real chance at having children.
On my most recent visit to the hospital I heard a story about Rachel, who sought treatment at the CHW Fertility Unit with the hope that her dream of having a family would become a reality. Her story is so moving that I felt inspired to share it with you all.
Today, Rachel is a healthy 36 year old, but this wasn’t always the case. Eleven years ago, at the age of 25, Rachel was diagnosed with cancer. She was told that he treatment she would be receiving would greatly diminish her chances of becoming pregnant, a reality that saddened her as she always dreamed of having a large family.
Prior to beginning her treatment, Rachel’s oncologists, Dr. Dina Ben Yehuda and Dr. Ariel Revel, approached her and offered what was considered a radical procedure at the time: to remove one of her ovaries and have it frozen with the hopes that when she was ready, this ovary would be healthy and enable her to become pregnant. She agreed. Rachel underwent her treatment, to which she responded positively.
A few years later, Rachel met her future husband. After being married for several years, they decided they were ready to start a family. Rachel explains, “I went to the doctor to see if the ovary that had not been removed was healthy and we found out that my previous cancer treatment has negatively affected this ovary. So my husband and I went back to Hadassah Hospital. It had been so many years but my doctors remembered me and I had my other ovary implanted back into my body.”
Shortly after the procedure, Rachel became pregnant and returned to Hadassah Hospital to deliver her baby. Rachel gave birth to a healthy baby girl!
What a remarkable story! This is one of many unique and powerful stories on how the CHW IVF Unit has helped numerous women like Rachel.
This is a photo of a woman after delivering her baby that was conceived through IVF at Hadassah Hospital.
Please note that this is not Rachel, she did not give a photo for confidentiality reasons.
I always love visiting CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village. With each visit, I get to meet new students and learn about new activities that are taking place, and this past week was no exception.
I was immediately drawn to the new trees and vines that I saw in the front yard of the school. When I looked closer, I saw signs on each of the vines that read different type of grapes.
Ze’ev, the director of the youth village, explained to me that as part of the school’s and students environmentally friendly efforts, they decided to plant grapes!
The students loved planting the vines and learning about how the process worked. Ze’ev further explained that the students are responsible for taking care of these newly planted vines.
I look forward to returning to Hadassim shortly to see the progress and how much they have grown!
Two students from the CHW Hadassim dormitories were celebrated for their outstanding performance through scholarships raised by the women of WIZO Ra’anana. I was honoured to be invited to the ceremony in which these students received these scholarships. Hosted by WIZO Ra’anana, the ceremony included the awarding of the scholarships as well as a musical performance by Hadassim students.
I met with Sarit, 16, and Koren, 17, the scholarship recipients, who grew up at Hadassim. During our talk, I learned that both are determined students who excel both academically and socially. Based on their successes and commitment to school, they were selected as the recipients of the Fanny Eisenberg Scholarship.
Hadassim scholarship recipients receiving their award.
During the ceremony, Dr. Carmela Dekel spoke about Hadassim and the wonderful work being done there. She acknowledged CHW’s critical role and unwavering support of Hadassim; I was so proud to be present on CHW’s behalf. We are very proud of our dormitory students and their outstanding achievements, and greatly appreciate the support from WIZO Ra’anana.
It is always a special experience meeting students from Hadassim and our other CHW projects. If you’re in Israel, it would be my pleasure to accompany you to meet our students!
Hadassim students perform at the ceremony.