Chai Lifeline Celebrates Chanukah with over 7000 around the World
Great presents, delicious food, and special time with one’s family: what’s not to love about Chanukah? Unfortunately, for the families of seriously ill children, Chanukah does not always translate into family fun. The stress of medical appointments and treatments, coupled with anxiety about ill children and overscheduled, hectic routines can keep families from enjoying the holiday. Thanks to Chai Lifeline, more than 7000 seriously ill children, their siblings, and their parents celebrated Chanukah with simcha at family parties, carnivals, and hospital celebrations across the U.S. and in Israel, England, and Canada.
“Chai Lifeline is there for its families in the bad times and the good times,” explained Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president, Chai Lifeline. “Our worldwide Chanukah celebrations make the good times a little sweeter, offering a stress-free way for our families to enjoy the holiday. We’ve reached more families than ever before this Chanukah, with events across the country and around the world that replaced anxiety and worry with friendship and celebration.”
Chai Lifeline’s New York Chanukah celebrations brought smiles and laughter to over 1800 in the week leading up to Chanukah. The Annual Chanukah Family Party, always a larger than life extravaganza, didn’t disappoint this year, and hundreds turned out despite the snowy day. A star-studded lineup of entertainers, organized by Gershy Moscowitz, including Sruli Williger, Michoel Pruzansky, Sruli Werdyger, Yossi Rosenberg, Benny Amar, and Yumi Lowey, helped the crowd get into Chanukah mode. Door prizes, festive food, a fantastic magic show, and the company of beloved Big Brothers and Big Sisters kept the party hopping. Each child left the party with an enormous Chanukah gift box in tow, thanks to the Honey Engel Toy Drive and the dedicated Traube family, who coordinates the drive and its army of volunteers.
“The party was wonderful,” declared one Chai Lifeline mother. “My daughter was so excited to see her friends from camp, and my other children really loved the entertainers. My husband and I loved their smiles!”
Parties in Boro Park and Monroe meant that Chai Lifeline’s Chassidic families enjoyed holiday celebrations close to home, with lively music and dancing, holiday treats, enthralling magicians, and, of course, exciting Chanukah gifts for each child.
Chai Lifeline’s Food-Free Party, held at the Young Israel of Midwood, ensured that children with severe allergies weren’t left out of the fun. More than 120 Chai Lifeline kids and enthusiastic volunteers from Torah Academy for Girls proved that a party without food isn’t a party without fun! The music of Ari Elbogen, dancing, a fantastic magic show, exciting gifts, and innovative games created by the girls of TAG made the party unforgettable.
Hospital parties at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Hassenfeld Children’s Center, NYU Medical Center; Schneider Children’s Hospital, Long Island Jewish Center; Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian; Columbia University Medical Center; Maimonides Medical Center; and Tisch Hospital, NYU Medical Center brought holiday simcha to children relegated to the hospital this Chanukah.
Chanukah across the world
Family holiday parties in Baltimore, Maryland; Miami, Florida; Lakewood, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; London, England; Toronto, Canada; and Jerusalem, Israel brought Chanukah simcha to hundreds of Chai Lifeline children, their siblings, and their parents, while hospital parties across the U.S. and in Israel brought smiles, laughter, and cheer to patients. Festive music, delicious food, exciting entertainers, and tons of Chanukah gifts made each event memorable.
“Each region plans events best suited for their families,” explained Faige Yudkovsky, Chai Lifeline’s director of volunteers. “But each of Chai Lifeline’s Chanukah celebrations shared one thing in common: stress-free afternoons, full of fun and friendship, that helped our families get into the Chanukah spirit.”