Through the power of information, grassroots efforts, technology and partnerships, we empower health professionals to offer comprehensive support services to families before, during and after pregnancy and infant loss.
Despite affecting so many, pregnancy and infant loss is rarely discussed in Israeli society. Too many families find themselves alone and without proper resources, information or frameworks to support them through their unique journey of grief.
Nationally, approximately 6 infants are stillborn per 1000 live births and 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss. Despite these numbers, Israel offers no national pregnancy and infant loss response or support services. What support does exist is underfunded, sporadic and difficult to access. This neglect can have long-term health ramifications for Israeli women and families. For example, according to a 2016 study (the first of its kind in Israel), over a third of women who suffer pregnancy or infant loss in Israel go on to develop full PTSD.
Candles of Hope is a registered non-profit organization (#580676831) founded by a community of families, health professionals, researchers, and policy makers who refuse to accept this status quo any longer. We aim to improve care for bereaved families and break the silence and taboo surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. Candles of Hope provides comprehensive support, information and education services to families and healthcare professionals throughout the country. We are a collection of voices demanding change as well as a resource for support. We are a witness to loss as well as a steadying hand in the dark. Together we work to improve understanding of pregnancy and infant loss while supporting those grieving through the moments that matter most towards a more hopeful future.
In the legitimacy of grief in response to pregnancy and infant loss
That while every person approaches grief in their own unique way, hope is fundamental to healing
That grief and loss require holistic and multifaceted
That achieving effective holistic & multifaceted support services requires a national-level organizational effort
Dr. Glazer Chodick is a social worker. She lectures at Tel Aviv University and is an instructor, therapist and group facilitator in the fields of trauma, sexuality, and LGBT. Her phD research focused on the experience of men after a stillbirth. The experience of men is not recognized from a number of dimensions, both the gender dimension, and because of the nature of the loss and how men cope. Her research has shown that there is a strong desire from men to be partners, to share their experience, and to gain recognition and support, for themselves and for the circles that surround them. Today, Nurit is involved, among other things, in raising awareness of this issue amongst professionals in the field, and in unique support services for men who have experienced the loss of a stillbirth.
Dr. Horesh is a licensed clinical psychologist and senior lecturer and head of the Trauma & Stress Research Lab at Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Psychology. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at New York University’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Horesh is both a practicing clinician and researcher. His research focuses on factors associated with vulnerability and resilience to traumatic stress. Dr. Horesh studies a variety of trauma-exposed populations, including women following childbirth and pregnancy loss, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and PTSD, and spouses of combat veterans. Danny conducts mindfulness-based psychotherapy with many of his patients experiencing stress-related issues. Danny is keen to offer mental health support to families after pregnancy and infant loss.
Yael, married with 3 children, is a bibliotherapist. She has experience treating teenagers and adults with eating disorders, CPTSD, depression, sexual trauma and substance abuse. Yael specializes in individual and group creative writing and poetry-therapy. She works at the Outpatient Psychoanalytic Center for Women with PTSD at Beer-Yaakov. Her practicum experience was in the Eating Disorders Department at Sheba Medical Center and she has also taught creative writing courses for the past 10 years. Previously Yael worked as a lawyer in Commercial Law and non-governmental organisations. Her third baby was stillborn and she did not feel well supported after this devastating experience a number of years ago. She is committed to helping establish this new family support organisation, Candles of Hope.
Rebecca has a professional background in early childhood education and local government community services. She visits Israel regularly to spend time with her daughter Elysa and her two young granddaughters, Livi Lola and Emmie Dora. Rebecca was deeply saddened by the loss of her first granddaughter, born without breath in 2016, in Tel Aviv. She was dismayed by the lack of mental health support services for families after pregnancy and infant loss. Rebecca is committed to fundraising and establishing a comprehensive, national Israeli pregnancy and infant loss support organisation.
Lauren is a qualified therapist, originally from England and has lived in Israel for 13 years. Lauren specialised in trauma/PTSD counselling and has worked with asylum seekers, refugees and youth at risk. After experiencing loss in her personal life, facing possible termination late in her first pregnancy and observing friends and clients affected by pregnancy loss, Lauren is committed to supporting women and families. She is keen to highlight the need for a comprehensive pregnancy and infant loss organisation in Israel across the medical profession as well as the general public.
Joey’s second daughter, May, was stillborn at 30 weeks. Subsequently Joey has been active in promoting the need to establish a specialised Israeli infant loss support organisation. Joey works in hi-tech and offers voluntary assistance to a number of community groups, including Candles of Hope.
Elysa runs her own business consulting company in Tel Aviv where she has lived since 2009. Australian born Elysa has a professional background in international relations, marketing and fundraising for the non profit sector. Elysa sadly gave birth to a stillborn daughter in 2016 and now has 2 healthy little girls, who delight her daily!. Elysa is one of the founders of Candles of Hope, along with her mother Rebecca, who lives in Australia.
Malka is married with three adult children and for the past 32 years she has worked as a midwife at Hadassah Hospital. Her professional duties include organising birth preparation classes and for 13 years she has also operated on a voluntary basis stillbirth support groups for women. Malka is dedicated in her support for women who have experienced infant loss.
In a bid to ensure that no bereaved parent in Israel is left alone and isolated, Candles of Hope has launched our inaugural Strategic Plan: Providing Hope and Understanding to Bereaved Parents in Israel, 2020 – 2025. The plan will guide the next five years and focuses on service development while ensuring support and information is accessible to all bereaved parents in Israel, regardless of their location or cultural background.
Provide accessible information services to guide bereaved parents and their families through the devastating experience of pregnancy loss and baby death in a safe and confidential space.
Improve how bereaved parents and their families are supported and cared for by providing quality support, information and education to healthcare and community services professionals.
Educate the wider community and raise awareness of the issues and feelings surrounding the death of a baby so that bereaved parents feel better placed to talk about their experiences.
Establish diversify and grow our income streams to support the delivery of our mission and vision.
Build a truly national organisation with appropriate infrastructure to reach out to all bereaved parents in Israel.
Elysa Rapoport, an Australian born Israeli, delivers a still born daughter at 30 weeks gestation. Minimal emotional support is offered to Elysa and she had to wait 9 months to join a support group program run by Maccabi social workers.
Rebecca Dreyfus, mother of Elysa, meets Malka Nukrian and Ester Yona, midwives from Hadassah Hospital who have been operating still birth support groups in Jerusalem for approximately 10 years. They discuss the possibility of establishing a national Israeli pregnancy and infant loss support organisation.
Elysa and Rebecca launch “Friends of Still Birth Israel” in Australia, in commemoration of the stillbirth. A fundraising appeal, targeting family and friends provides seed capital to begin a national Israeli pregnancy and infant loss support organisation.
Elysa and Rebecca begin identifying existing infant loss support services and professionals operating in Israel.
Rebecca meets with Danny Horesh and Professor Peri from Bar Ilan Trauma Clinic to discuss collaboration.
Elysa and Rebecca meet with Lauren Isaac, psychologist and Yael Eisenberg, therapist and former Hadassah support group participant, to discuss assistance for establishing new organisation.
Establishment committee meet in Tel Aviv- Elysa Rapoport, Rebecca Dreyfus, Yael Eisenberg, Lauren Isaac, Malka Nukrian, Danny Horesh and Joey Gelpe.
Candles of Hope becomes a registered Israeli not for profit organisation.
“The Expert Collective”, a branding and website design company is chosen.
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