In today’s busy society, much of our family bonding time takes place on Shabbos. It’s the day that we switch off and unplug, leaving the distractions of everyday life to focus on our loved ones.
At Chai Lifeline, some of our most powerful family moments and memories are created on community-shared Shabbatons. As Lakewood’s population grows and diversifies at unprecedented rates, we adjust our programs and retreats to appeal to as many people as possible. Two of this year’s highlights were the newly-introduced Achim B’Yachad Shabbaton and the annual Chestnut Shabbaton.
The annual Chestnut retreat has become a highly- anticipated event for residents and visitors alike. Spearheaded by Mr. and Mrs. Yechiel Frankel, the community Shabbaton is a highlight of the year for Chai Lifeline families. The visiting children are enthusiastically welcomed into Chestnut homes and treated to music and entertainment before and after an action-packed Shabbos.
The families of the Chestnut community are equally passionate about the event. Both visiting and host children spend the weekend getting to know each other, playing together, and sharing an elaborate oneg Shabbos, developing a deep sense of family in a short amount of time. “The children of Chai Lifeline give us more than we give to them,” declared Mr. Frankel. “The Shabbaton allows us to show our children how wonderful it can be to do chesed, and everyone enjoys the Shabbos to its fullest; it’s a Shabbos that we look forward to all year!”
Achim B’Yachad, Chai Lifeline’s Chassidic division, has recently established a presence in Lakewood to better serve the distinctive needs of the growing chassidish kehilla. Under the direction and supervision of Hershey Katz, Achim B’Yachad responds to the specific preferences and characteristics of Lakewood’s chassidish patients, sending volunteers regularly to CHOP and to homes to offer their assistance.
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer Fischl of Brookhill Estates, known for their devotion to various chesed organizations in town, reserve a special place in their hearts for the children of Chai Lifeline. They open their home regularly to Kids Konnect and Tween Scene, hosting Sunday clubs for siblings of seriously ill children; this year, they welcomed dozens of chassidish children and their families into their home for an unforgettable Shabbaton with a special Chassidishe ta’am.