JWA financed the renovation of the playground at the WIZO Boris Green Day Care Center
Excerpts from the lives of two women in the Wizo Shelter:
Vicky was born in Ethiopia in 1985. In 2004 she made aliah with her husband and small son. The family arrived at the Merkaz Olim (New Immigrant’s Center) in Kiryat Gat and later moved to Holon where the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption helped them buy a small apartment. Not long after Vicky had a second child.
Vicky was very afraid of her husband. He was very violent toward her and abused her financially and sexually. She said her husband would work in the morning, but after work he would get drunk. He would come home, wake her and accuse her of cheating on him while beating her. Often he would wake her in the middle of the night, expecting her to serve him.
Two years ago Vicky’s family, including her parents and 8 younger siblings, immigrated to Israel. Merkaz Olim took them in. After learning of Vicky’s abuse, the family encouraged her to speak to a social worker.
One evening, the story of an Ethiopian woman who was murdered by her husband was on the news. Vicky’s husband turned to her and said he should have done the same. The following morning Vicky told her story to a social worker.
Vicky was sent to a shelter where she stayed for a year. During her stay, she received individual therapy as well as group parental guidance. She grew strong and with the help of the center’s lawyer she demanded alimony from her husband.
The Ministry of Construction and Housing also provided aid so Vicky was able to rent an apartment in Ashdod. Vicky’s children got integrated into a kindergarten, and she started working several hours a day looking after old people.
Yael was born in Ramle in 1979. At a young age her parents divorced. Her mother and older brother were very violent and Yael had to be treated by the Department of Social Services. As a teenager she was taken from her home and placed in a shelter.
When she left the shelter, Yael met her soon to be husband, Ram, a Muslim Arab from Lod. Yael felt alone and with no real means of support she decided to marry Ran. The ceremony took place at a lawyer’s office and Yael later converted to Islam.
After their marriage Ram did not allow Yael to study or work. She kept herself busy raising their children and taking care of their household. For a few years the couple’s relationship was good, until they moved in with his family.
Yael refused to wear the traditional Muslim clothing and Ram’s family constantly harassed her. Initially they would just curse and tease her, but later on they turned Ram against her and they would control all her movements.
Ram announced he wanted to marry another woman, but Yael objected. This is when the violence escalated. Yael was taken to the hospital a few times. She was hit and was sexually abused by her own husband.
The cycle of violence then spread. Yael started yelling and hitting her children. Her older daughter reported this at the school and Yael’s children were taken away to a shelter at the recommendation of Social Services.
At the police station Yael complained about her husband’s violent behaviour and Ram was arrested. Yael was offered a place at a battered women’s shelter with the condition that she go through therapy and rehabilitation in order to see her children again.
Yael agreed and worked hard to get her children back. During the first few weeks Yael met with her children in the presence of a social worker, and after 20 days they were brought to the shelter to live with her. Yael and her children received individual and group therapy.
Yael turned her life around. She returned to Judaism, divorced Ram and after 10 months at the shelter she was ready to leave. She rented an apartment and remained close with different social service organizations.
Today Yael is working and supporting her family with dignity and without violence.
JWA is a proud sponsor of WIZO’s Shelter for Battered Woman.
WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization, is dedicated to the advancement of the status of women, the provision for the welfare of all sectors of Israeli society, and the encouragement of Jewish education in Israel and the Diaspora.
From the Far East to the Middle East
“When I look at all the little faces and see how much they are loved, it touches my heart.” Ana Scherer, Chairwoman of the Jewish Women’s Association of Hong Kong (JWA) was practically beside herself with joy.
Three young professionals visited the Boris Green WIZO Day Care Center (DCC) in the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood of Tel Aviv. The three visitors – Ana Scherer, Shani Brownstein and Ofira Gutman-Berrebi – are young leaders of the JWA, and they came to express their commitment to the State of Israel – and specifically to this Center. Having provided the funding for one classroom in the past and the renovation of one playground two years ago, the JWA has decided to step up and provide sponsorship for the entire DCC.
Shani went to great lengths to say how this Center could be a focal point for ongoing involvement of the Hong Kong Jewish community in Israel. “If they can come and see the kids, and actually contribute of their time to the Center, I know their hearts will be here.”
Ana played with the DCC children and – despite a lack of Hebrew – was very capable in making the children all smile. “We are all working women, so we highly appreciate the fact that this facility enables women to go out and have jobs. These beautiful children have where to grow, and their parents know that they are taken care of. It is wonderful what you do here.”
The group was met by Esther Mor, Chairperson of WIZO’s Fundraising Division, Joe Brown Leer, the Division’s Director, Early Age Inspector Lisa Obligenarz and the DCC Director Sigal Haglili. Walking around together in the DCC, the women learned of the special programs the DCC offers in the summer – from movement and music classes to water activities and arts & crafts. They also learned of the struggles local women face in returning to the workplace after they have given birth – and of how WIZO has stepped up to provides these women with the safety and security their children must have, to allow them to do so.
WIZO congratulates the JWA on choosing to sponsor the Boris Green DCC and thanks these Zionist women for their ongoing commitment.
WIZO was created in 1920 in England and presently numbers over a quarter of a million volunteers in 50 federations throughout the world.
- The JWA has been supporting the shelter for several years.
- The shelter provides a temporary home to 12 women and their children for a period of 6-12 months.
- During that time WIZO assists women to sort their legal position, find a job and build a new home away from their partners.
- Women come from all parts of the country as well as different origins –Jews, non Jews, usually with small kids and a very low self-esteem.
WIZO’s goals are:
- to provide for the welfare of infants, children, youth, women and the elderly;
- to advance the status of women in Israel;
- to strengthen the bond between world Jewry and the State of Israel;
- to support the absorption of new immigrants.
The JWA is involved in 2 main projects for WIZO:
- A day care center in Yad Eliyahu, Tel Aviv. Through its donation, the JWA is helping this Organization to renovate the premise and build a new playground and do needed toilet and bathroom renovations.
- Day care for children of mid -low hard working parents and single mothers in a rough neighborhood.
- Center receives a longtime support from the HK community.
- This year’s donation will pay for renovation of the toilets and bathrooms.
- A shelter for battered women in Ashdod. For many years the maintainance of the venue is sponsored by the JWA.
- This year the JWA purchased new furniture for the rooms at the Shelter