Hadassim Youth Village was conceived and planned by the members of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO during the Second World War. In December 1944, the first furrow was plowed on a Jewish National Fund tract close to malaria-infested swampland near Natanya in the Sharon region. A master architectural plan was prepared in that year, and three years later during the 1947-48 school year, a residential education centre opened for children orphaned or left homeless during the Holocaust.
Fifty Hungarian and Polish orphans were soon joined by fifty “Sabra” children, for even then, the goal was to integrate as well as educate. From the beginning, Hadassim’s philosophy has been to serve children who are in distress or underachievers, because of family disfunction, behavioral, or cultural issues. Many pupils are new immigrants from such countries as the former Soviet Union, Iran, and Ethiopia.
Four dormitories, a dining hall, and kitchen were the first buildings constructed, and an Arab orange grove was acquired as the first agricultural property. Through the years, the campus of one hundred acres has grown to include primary, junior and senior high schools with upwards of one thousand day students, five hundred residential students, and a staff of over two hundred. There are a dozen student dormitories, housing units for employees and their families, an amphitheatre and performance hall, a synagogue, medical facilities, technical workshops, gymnasium, swimming pool, offices, and many other facilities.The management of the village is directed by the Schools Department of World WIZO, with the involvement of the Israel Ministry of Education and the Youth Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency.
In order to maximize the use of facilities, the village operates summer camp programs for the children of wounded soldiers, children in distress or from large families, and students visiting from Jewish schools in the diaspora.
In the 1970s, Hadassim and WIZO Baby Services extended their mandate to build crèches (day care centres) for children from one month to four years. These facilities are located in all areas of Israel.
In 1994 Hadassim and Day Care Centres campaign became known as WIZO Services.This “umbrella” of projects includes the Hadassim Children and Youth Village, other schools, day care centres, women and youth clubs, and “Women for Women” services for battered women.
Other Village initiatives include guest accommodations, and special programs for underprivileged or academically-challenged children from the local area. A proactive public relations campaign attracts much media attention and visitors to Hadassim. Canadian chapters of Hadassah –WIZO continue to provide major funding for the village.
Scope and Content
The series consists of 1 photograph and textual records, documenting the history of Hadassim Youth Village and Hadassim and WIZO Baby Services in Israel (now known as WIZO Services) from the 1950s to1999.
Included are executive and committee lists, executive and donor correspondence, press clippings, reports, histories, flyers, case histories of students, as well as information about “Women for Women” and Baby Creche and Kindergarten Services.
Major fund raising initiatives such as raffle draws, auction and party events (1970-1989), Famous People Players,and "Lend Your Heart to Hadassim" are documented by invitations, programs, tickets, and publicity.
The records are arranged by function, such as the history of Hadassim, publicity, correspondence, committee lists, and documentation of fund raising activities.