Abigail Klein Leichman
December 19, 2021

Noa is a 13-year-old dancer, pianist, and member of the Israeli Scouts. She also has an autoimmune disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Noa’s prescription for life: “Focus on doing what you love.”

Eliran, 15, lives with cystic fibrosis. At home and during his hospitalizations, his dad plays board games with him. His mom helps him with his daily treatments and his siblings and grandparents are always ready with hugs.

Eliran’s prescription for life: “Family being together.”

Prescriptions for Life is a new project of the Israeli nonprofit Haverut organization, founded 14 years ago by family therapist and spiritual care provider Rachel Fox-Ettun to promote the hospital as a space that heals body, spirit and soul.

“We are turning the hospital into an educational setting in a fun and beautiful way — to see the patient as a whole person, to give a set of tools for the chronically ill to become a ‘doctor’ for their own lives and take the lead for their own wellbeing,” she says.

Meet Noa ????✨Age 13, from Jerusalem. Living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.Noa started dancing to help her cope with joint pain and now she attends the prestigious Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance.Her Prescription for Life: “Find something you love and try to focus on that instead of your disease… focus on the things you can control as opposed to the things you can’t.”חברוּת Haverut

Posted by docyourstory on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Prescriptions for Life videos, in Hebrew with English and Arabic subtitles, are to be shown in hospitals wherever chronically ill children are waiting to receive treatments.

“While people are waiting with anxiety, anger, boredom and fear, they will see these short clips and be inspired to reach a better quality of life, hope and wellbeing,” says Fox-Ettun.

The project also has a positive effect on the hospital staff and on the children’s family members, she says.

Meet Eliran ????✨ Age 15 from Modi’in. Living with Cystic Fibrosis. For Eliran, living with CF means spending a lot of time in the hospital. Having been diagnosed at age 4, going to the hospital was a very hard and scary experience for him. But over time it got easier and the staff became like family. And anyone that meets Eliran knows that family means everything to him. He could not get through life without the love, support and help of his entire family (including his dog, Poonch) who have been with him every step of the way. His Prescription for Life: “Be with family, as much as you can (and get a dog because it helps the family bond!).” ????????‍????‍????‍????????חברוּת Haverut

Posted by docyourstory on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Prescriptions for Life involves eight one-on-one sessions culminating in the filming by Tel Aviv-based docyourstory.

Cinematographer Keren Greenberg filming Ofir, a 17-year-old with Crohn’s disease, in Beit Shemesh. Photo courtesy of docyourstory

“We began with creating an inspiring booklet that has different ‘prescriptions for life’ for hospitalized children and their families. Nurses gave the booklet to the patients when they were released from the hospital,” Fox-Ettun tells ISRAEL21c.

“Then it evolved into working deeply one on one, finding what helps the child cope, what gives him or her meaning, strength and happiness. From that, they choose one ‘prescription’ to invest in, with the intention of taking full responsibility for their own lives,” she says.

“It is stepping out of being passive and a victim of circumstances toward being active — not only through taking the meds or doing physical therapy but by doing things from the world of art, music, nature, love, family and friends, dance, writing, gratitude.”

Meet Ofir ????‍????✨ Age 13 from Beit Shemesh. Living with Crohn’s Disease. Ofir had to grow up quickly. She had to transition from a place where her life was just like every other kid to a place where hospitals became a big part of her life. At first she kept her diagnosis a secret because she was afraid of being labeled with a disability. But with time she learned to accept it as part of who she is.Ofir finds that experiencing life – doing things like drawing, hiking and spending time with friends- helps her cope and see that there is more to her than her disease. And she feels that her disease has actually helped her learn more about herself over the years and become a stronger person. Her Prescription for Life: “Know yourself and choose what is right for you.”חברוּת Haverut

Posted by docyourstory on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Haverut received a grant from Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, so the videos will first be screened in the pediatric departments of Hadassah’s two hospitals.

ALYN rehabilitation hospital for children and adolescents, also in Jerusalem, will use the videos to train staff and students in holistic care. Fox-Ettun is working with other hospitals to implement Prescriptions for Life as well.

Holistic approach

She started Haverut 10 years after the death of her daughter Ruth at age 11 from complications of cystic fibrosis.

“I was very grateful to the medical system that helped Ruth survive longer than anyone expected. Yet I felt something crucial was missing: the component of the spirit, a holistic approach. Every person has a healthy core we can connect to and empower,” Fox-Ettun explains.

Haverut began a spiritual care training program, Connect & Create, where Jewish and Arab students bring arts, music and mindfulness to boost the healing process of young Jewish and Arab patients at Hadassah’s Mount Scopus campus and Ziv Medical Center in Safed (Tzfat) every week.

In the pediatric outpatient surgery waiting room at Hadassah Medical Center-Ein Kerem, from left, Haverut Founder & CEO Rachel Fox- Ettun, illustrator and graphic designer Naama Bernhardt, artist Alaa Edris, spiritual caregiver and artist Judy Weingrod, and Haverut educator/project manager Avital Gvaryahu Taf. The wall was a project of Haverut. Photo courtesy of Haverut

Prescriptions for Life, says Fox-Ettun, is a model that her daughter lived by. She was sad to know she was dying but was determined to make the most of each day she had left.

If Ruth could write a Prescription for Life, what might it be?

Her mother thought for a moment. “I believe her message would be to live here and now, fully connected to ourselves and to others and to life.”

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