Amitsim is an Israeli not-for-profit organization founded in 2017 by Hadass Dissen Glick. Following the sudden death of her young husband in 2001, Hadass’s home, once brimming with energy, warmth, and joy, became heavy and oppressive. Her young children struggled with depression and loneliness. And Hadass carried the heavy burden of putting the pieces of her family back together again with almost no financial or emotional support.
She was completely alone.
But she quickly realized that God had given her a new mission in life.
After being involved in many initiatives to advocate for widowers and widows like herself, she finally established Amitsim, the first Israeli NGO completely dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned families.
But it hasn’t been a smooth ride.
As she planned her first meeting for young widows and widowers, many people told her it just wouldn’t work.
“Nobody will want to come.”
Yet, 50 young widows and 6 widowers showed up.
When she planned her next event with children included, the professionals said—
“Why would they want to bring their children? They’ll be embarrassed.”
Yet, over 50 young widows and widowers showed up at the event with their children, and it was a success.
Next, Hadass planned online support groups for widows and widowers as well as online classes for their children via Zoom! The professionals again said—
“It won’t work. Support groups are not built for online interaction. The Zoom technology is too complicated. They need physical chemistry. They need to get out. They need to see more than heads on a screen.”
But Hadass knew better. She understood that these online meetings would address the difficulties many widows and widowers have leaving home in the evenings. Online classes for children would also provide their kids with the social outlet they so desperately needed.
They signed up. They showed up. And they connected.
In the winter of 2020, during COVID-19, Amitsim volunteers traveled to over 200 cities and towns throughout Israel to deliver special Chanukah packages. But they didn’t simply drop the packages at doors and disappear. They knocked on each door, met the kids, talked with them, and made them laugh at the entryway or inside the house, masks and all.
Incredibly, mothers and fathers reported—
“This is the first time anyone has ever knocked on our door and remembered and acknowledged that there are orphaned children here, a widow, a widower. ”
After volunteers distributed flyers to advertise Amitsim programs, there was no shortage of participants.
As the organization grew, Hadass established drop-in centers for Amitsim families in Jerusalem, Afula, and Petah Tikva (and is now planning ten more across Israel). She instituted national fun days, regional picnics, and home visits from medical clowns.
Amitsim families also gained a direct line to psychological services with an open door policy, an advocacy help hotline, and trained tutors to help Amitsim kids with their school work.
Four years after the birth of Amitsim, Hadass Dissen Glick is going strong, driven by her passionate desire to help others and to empower them with the knowledge and services she could have used years ago when she struggled to support her own young family.
But now, she’s not alone.
With hundreds of volunteers and several paid staff members, Amitsim has evolved into a powerful and empowering organization for young widows, widowers, and their children.
Hadass Dissen Glick is a true testament to the power of one person’s ability to change the world—with God’s help.