DebbieWinks – Debbie’s Blog from Israel # 6

DebbieWinks — Blog #6 — June, 2023


My last blog posting was about the Israeli invented navigation system of WAZE.

Those of you who follow my blog know that Israel is where I am now located. My internal compass brought me here for varied reasons which I will begin to disclose in this blog.

I am Israeli born. My Israeli mother had emigrated from Israel after marrying my father who came to Israel with an address in his pocket and looking for a wife. At the time, he was a mature bachelor in his mid-thirties and got my mother’s name from friends that he knew in Ottawa. This was an old-fashioned way of meeting up, not like the online navigating sites of today!

My mother gave birth to my older brother in Montreal yet after learning that she was pregnant 3 months later, she planned a trip back to Israel to be with her mother and father. My brother at the ripe age of one year heard my mother call her father ‘Aba’. Consequently, this two-syllable baby friendly sound was soon to be uttered by my brother. Eventually the Hebrew word was applied to the right patriarchal symbol! I really do miss my beloved Aba many of you who knew him and saw him attending many Jewish /Israeli events in Vancouver….. Leon Broitman z”l.

Growing up in Ottawa I was coined ‘a Sabra’. This Hebrew word means cactus and is known to depict the Israeli who has a prickly exterior yet a sweet interior. It could very well be that my internal system was primed for a longing to one day return to Israel.

In the early 80’s I made Aliyah and initially lived with my grandparents in Petah Tikva for a few months and then applied to be a student at Tel Aviv University as part of the Overseas Program. I lived in the dorms and my female roommates were from Argentina, Israel, and Germany.

I loved going to the Israeli dancing program at the University where meeting others while circle dancing is the best dating app that ever was invented! There is where I met my husband Yossi who till this day denies he had his eyes on me! Some men, Israeli or not, have trouble to reveal their true feelings!

I lived in Israel close to 10 years and our oldest son Oz and our identical twin daughters Sivan and Shani were all born Sabras.

In 1991 we thought of leaving Israel to offer Oz who was born with Cerebral Palsy, services that Israel did not have to offer. Consequently the Gulf War was erupting, and its’ circumstances soon ushered us out. On the 10th day of the war and our experiences in the sealed room, my Aba with my sister and brother-in law’s guidance helped purchase one-way tickets to get us to safety.

And now, 32 years later I have chosen to return to Israel. Our twin daughters Sivan and Shani made Aliyah almost 10 years ago. Last year our youngest Canadian born son Ari made Aliyah. Oz our oldest son who is a wheelchair user does not have plans to move to Israel where wheelchair accessibility is nothing near the standard of Vancouver British Columbia!

However, he is planning a visit in the near future.

Yes, we left Israel in 1991 to seek a better future for Oz which he did get, and now my personal WAZE is navigating me back to Israel, a country that I feel extremely connected to.

Yes…There is a very harsh and divisive political reality and a very disturbing social upheaval happening in our Jewish nation to date.

Israel is known as the ‘Start Up Nation ‘and the Jews are regarded as the ‘People of the Book’ and it is here that I want to share this next chapter of my life with our Israeli born grandchildren that are our ‘Start Ups’!!

And alas for health reasons, I am also seeking innovative medical attention for a rare cancer (Clear Cell Sarcoma) that I have been living with since 2016. I have already done a PET scan at Rambam and an MRI and both were indeed different experiences to what I was exposed to at British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA). The degree of collective compassion and cutting-edge chutzpah has been so heartwarming, and this my friends will be a tale to tell you all about in my next blog.

Stay tuned…. Debbie Winks 😊


Debbie Havusha


  1. Maureen Bayless

    Debbie, I am sorry to read about your health issues. It sounds like you are receiving informed and compassionate care, not easy to find many places since the stresses of the pandemic. I came across your post serendipitously, and am glad to read that Oz is doing well.

  2. Debbie, your candid and heartfelt writing is captivating.
    I even got to learn some new things about your biography! Like how your parents met – it’s such a story!
    Thank you for offering your experience and reflections so generously.
    It is our privilege and gain having you here again, with your open heart and vital energy and this special, optimistic way of looking at life and dealing with whatever reality brings you way.

  3. I love your blog, Debbie and I’m looking forward to your next one! Also, your grandkids are super cute.

  4. Robin Friedlander

    Enjoy reading your letters Debbie. Good to see Yossi in Vancouver. Wishing u health and all the best. Robin

  5. Dear Debbie,

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt blog post. It’s evident that your connection to Israel is deeply rooted, and despite the challenges, you feel drawn to return and embrace this next chapter of your life there.

    I was in Israel in July 2022, and loved every minute of my stay.

    It’s wonderful to hear about your children’s journeys of making Aliyah and building their lives in Israel. While wheelchair accessibility may present a challenge for your oldest son, it’s inspiring to know that he is planning a visit to experience the country that holds such significance for your family.

    You also highlighted the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit for which Israel is renowned, and your desire to share this aspect of the country with your Israeli-born grandchildren is touching.

    I empathize with your health journey and the battle against rare cancer. It’s inspiring to hear that you’re seeking innovative medical attention in Israel. The contrasting experiences you’ve had between Rambam and the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) show the unique and compassionate approach offered by Rambam. Your resilience and the collective compassion you’ve encountered will undoubtedly make for a compelling tale in your upcoming blog post.

    Wishing you strength, healing, and a meaningful chapter in Israel filled with precious moments with your family and the embrace of the Israeli culture.

    Next year in Jerusalem!