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Chai Lifeline Chanukah Parties Bring Light to Children and Families Battling Pediatric Illness

More than 50,000 toys to be distributed to families worldwide at annual parties and area hospitals

Fifteen-hundred people from the greater New York area gathered to celebrate Chanukah at The Palace in Brooklyn on Tuesday, November 27, at the Chai Lifeline Annual Family Chanukah Party. Upon entering, the guests were transported into a tropical-themed paradise where they feasted on a delicious buffet dinner. The event was sponsored by Cross River Bank.

Photo credit: Shimon Friedman

The children were entertained with many Chanukah crafts projects before enjoying a concert featuring the music of Lipa Schmeltzer, who helped get the crowd into the Chanukah spirit. At the conclusion of the party, each family was given a huge box filled with toys which were selected especially for them and collected as part of the Honey Engel Toy Drive by dedicated Chai Lifeline Toy Drive volunteers. Door prizes, festive foods, cookie-decorating, and the company of beloved volunteers and Big Brothers/Big Sisters also added to the excitement. Chai Lifeline volunteer Laurie Sutton and Floral Art were responsible for the beautiful décor, while Chavie Horn lent her talents as an event planner.

Photo credit: Chani Reichenberg

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Chai Lifeline Pays Tribute to Rabbi Elie Estrin and his Family for Their Service to Our Nation

“I never imagined I would be in the military.”

So began the journey of one Chai Lifeline family – from a devastating diagnosis for their newborn son – to a lifetime of service as a reserve military personnel liaison connecting with Jewish soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines across the world. On this Veterans Day, Chai Lifeline pays tribute to Rabbi Elie Estrin and his family for their service to our nation:

Here, in his own words, is Rabbi Estrin’s story:

“My wife and I have six children. Our youngest son is now almost three-years-old. He was born with complex congenital heart disease as a result of heterotaxy. Despite being born in hospice care with a life expectancy of 4-6 hours, he’s proven all the doctors wrong and has done unbelievably well. read full story

In the Aftermath of The Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre

IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF THE PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE MASSACRE:
ADDRESSING THE HORROR AND TRAGEDY WITH STUDENTS AND CHILDREN

A message from Project Chai, the crisis intervention, trauma and bereavement department of Chai Lifeline

Death, under any circumstance, is a painful and troubling event to face.

When our young people learn about the death of someone whom they knew, particularly if they have not encountered loss before, our task is somewhat clear. We open up a dialogue at an age-appropriate level, we listen to the child’s thoughts and observe their emotional expression, and we validate their personal reaction. Depending upon their age and maturity, and upon the questions which they pose to us, we can offer information, we might correct misunderstandings, we can clarify concepts, and we can offer support that we will continue to be open to them as they struggle to cope. Some of the same messages which we try to give ourselves when faced with tragic loss are given to young people, always at a pace and level which the child or teen can relate to. read full story

Preparing Your Child for a Hospital Stay

The following has been adapted from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) web resource.

Visiting a hospital for any reason can be a scary experience for children of all ages — especially when your child will be in the hospital overnight for what’s called an inpatient stay. These tips can help you prepare your child for his/her visit so that he/she feels more comfortable about their upcoming hospital stay. read full story

Young Artists Ariel and Jacob Horton’s Debut Exhibit to Benefit Chai Lifeline Southeast

Some of South Florida’s youngest artists will make their debut this Sunday, with an exhibition featuring their work at an upscale gallery in Aventura on August 26.

Jacob and Ariel Horton will debut their artwork at Gallery Art in Aventura on August 26.

Meet Jacob and Ariel Horton, two brothers from Boca Raton who have a unique talent for drawing. read full story

Chai Lifeline West Coast Families Have a Ball at Dodgers Game

Children living with serious illnesses, their families, and volunteers from Chai Lifeline West Coast Sohacheski Family Center, a health support network which provides emotional, social, and financial support to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families, enjoyed a day at the ballpark rooting for their hometown LA Dodgers on July 30. Thanks to the generosity of the Dodgers organization, 250 children, family members, volunteers and friends filled an entire section of the stadium as they watched the Dodgers take on the Milwaukee Brewers. read full story

Former and Current Camp Simcha Campers and Staff Celebrate Alumni Day

More than 500 former Camp Simcha campers, counselors and staff, along with their families, celebrated Alumni Day on Sunday, July 29 at Camp Simcha’s Glen Spey, New York campus. Participants enjoyed an array of interactive activities and programming with current campers and staff, as well as the opportunity to catch up with old friends and familiar faces.

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Project CHAI Retreat Gives Families, Volunteers Strength to Go On

bereavement retreatAmid the peace and tranquility of a spring weekend at Camp Simcha, 20 families came together to mourn beloved children and find strength for the days ahead during the Donald Alan Harris Healing Hearts Bereavement Retreat. read full story

Heard From a Client…

The impact of Camp Simcha lasts way beyond the summer.

The impact of Camp Simcha lasts way beyond the summer.

 

Rivky Schwartz, girls head counselor at Camp Simcha/Camp Simcha Special, received this text from a longtime camper. (We’ve changed a few of the details to protect our camper’s privacy.)

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“It Could Happen To Me”: When the Volunteer Becomes the Client

boy 2When Nechama Greenberg* was 13 years old, she began taking care of a young cousin who had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. He lived in her area and Nechama quickly learned all aspects of his medical situation, sometimes sleeping in his room in case of an emergency. It was through him that she first became introduced to Chai Lifeline. She would often shadow him at their events, and constantly met volunteers who would visit while he was in the hospital. Eventually, the summer after seminary, Nechama spent her first of three summers as a Camp Simcha counselor and she became involved through-out the year as well. read full story

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