Candles of Hope is deeply saddened to announce that our founder, Rebecca Dreyfus, passed away on April 22, 2021. Rebecca had battled with cancer for many years, and after an amazingly strong fight, her life journey came to an end at 63 years old. Rebecca died in her home in Sydney, Australia, surrounded by her loving and supportive family.
Rebecca leaves behind two children, Elysa & Nathan and her two beloved granddaughters Livi and Emmie. She also leaves a very strong legacy and an organization – Candles of Hope – that will live on to fulfill her passion to ensure that all families in Israel that experience pregnancy and infant loss receive the support services they need.
Rebecca was born in Sydney, Australia in 1957 to Jewish parents. Her father Richard was from Germany, and came to Australia as a young child on a boat of German Jewish boys that managed to leave Germany just before World War II. Rebecca grew up in Sydney and was active in Habonim. After graduating high school, Rebecca went to Israel for a year with Habonim. She loved Israel and was a passionate Zionist. Rebecca returned to Australia to study early childhood education. She went on to be a kindergarten teacher, as well as working in many community services roles including aged care. Rebecca was a brilliant cook and ran her own healthy catering business. She was very involved in Sydney’s Reform Jewish Community, and sang in the Temple’s choir.
Rebecca’s daughter Elysa made Aliyah in 2009 and Rebecca enjoyed many trips to Israel visiting her daughter. In 2016 when Elysa experienced a still birth in Israel, Rebecca was deeply affected by this loss, and saw a need for a national support organization in Israel, like there is in Australia, and other Western countries. Being the go-getter that she was, Rebecca began researching the field in Israel, met with key stakeholders and set out to form a board of directors to establish an organization.
And so Candles of Hope was born. Whilst it took some time to get the organization up and running, Rebecca was always there pushing it forward even from far away in Australia, and encouraging Elysa and the board. Rebecca was instrumental in the organization’s branding process, compiling and writing the text for this website and forming our mission, vision and future work plan.
Although she did not live to be a part of our first annual conference that took place on May 26, 2021, the conference, which was held online, and attended by over 120 people, was a huge success, and was dedicated to Rebecca.
Rebecca’s legacy will live on in the work we conduct at Candles of Hope and may her memory be a blessing and a continued inspiration to us all.
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