“It is a great privilege for me to be a part of the Israel Trauma Coalition and to have worked with my partners in bringing the coalition to the place it is today.”
by Pamela Deutsch
Talia was born in Switzerland and made aliyah with her family at the age of five. At the age of seven, the family moved to Nigeria, where her father worked for the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva. At the time, there were quite a few Israeli families living in the area, and there was even an Israeli school with two grades per class. Later Talia attended a boarding school in Nigeria; however when the Nigera-Biafra war broke out, in 1967, Talia and her family realized that she would not be able to go back to school in Nigeria and so she attended the Kfar Yarok boarding school in Israel. When her parents moved back to Israel, Talia still had two more years of school and she then finished her high school education in Ramat Gan, graduating from Ohel Shem.
As an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, Talia served in the Intelligence Corp, and during the 1973 war as a casualty officer in her unit. Upon finishing her service, she began to study English and French at Hebrew University, but her studies were interrupted by the needs of her growing family.
While raising her family, Talia held a wide variety of positions including serving as an officer in the Israeli Police Force, a teacher for natural childbirth and breast feeding counselor, directing the track for front desk personnel at a hotel school, and working as a tour guide at Hadassah Hospital. When Talia was pregnant with her third child, she began studying social work at Hebrew University.
Having completed her BSW Talia began working at the National Insurance Institute with widows, widowers and terror victims. Over the next few years, Talia attained a MSW from Bar Ilan University in clinical social work, studied psychotherapy and bibliotherapy, and attained the credentials necessary to become a qualified social work supervisor.
In 1994, she left NII and opened her own private practice specializing in bereavement and family counseling. During those years, she volunteered as an ambulance driver. In 2001 in response to the Versaille disaster, when an events hall collapsed during a wedding, Talia voluntarily created a support group for the bereaved families under the umbrella of the Jerusalem municipality. Other professionals in the field recognized the work Talia did, and she was invited to join a new initiative – the Israel Trauma Coalition.
Initiated at the height of the second intifada, the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), started with the support and through the auspices of the UJA Federation of New York, in partnership Dr, Danny Brom from the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psycho Trauma, had the express goal of bringing together service providers in order to improve services for terror victims.
What began as a small initiative of seven organizations and two projects has turned into a partnership between 40 organizations that together aim to create a continuum of care for victims of trauma and their families. The Coalition concentrates it efforts in three areas – direct care, team training and support, and emergency preparedness for local councils and teams.
To mention just a few important milestones for the ITC – commitment to those living in the Gaza region including the development and implementation of 5 resilience centers; involvement before, during, and after the Gush Katif evacuation; creation in the last two years of regional training centers in order to provide more effective training and services to local councils, as well as the establishment of a regional network of care givers. Overseas, the ITC has been involved in providing solutions, for example, after 9/11 involvement in the bi – national project on early childhood, provision of training for local trainers in Sri Lanka, Beslan and Checnia at the request of UNICEF, post Katrina in Louisiana, and partnering with the JDC in Haiti, Mumbai and Japan.
Talia was invited to the UN to participate in a small group of professionals who are experts in treating victims of terror. The professionals focused on the need to acknowledge the experience of those exposed and the need for long-term treatment.
Today the ITC works with 12 government ministries in Israel and the Home Front Command.
Talia has served as Director of the Israel Trauma Coalition since 2006. “Given the Israeli reality, creating and maintaining such a partnership should not be taken for granted, it is very unique but the results are worth it!” says Talia.
The ITC supports itself through providing services to the government and from donations mainly from federations.
Talia lives with her husband in Jerusalem and is the proud parent of four daughters and the grandparent of two.