The Chai Lifeline Annual LH Financial Winter Retreat held this year on December 27-29 at the beautiful Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ, brought together 500 family members, rabbinic figures, mental health experts, volunteers, and staff for an extended weekend of professional and peer support, educational programming, respite and relaxation, and inspiration.
“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
Gala Will Pay Tribute to Guests of Honor Mayer and Chaya Rivka Fischl; Medical Achievement Award Honoree Dr. Charles Schleien; and Camp Simcha Appreciation Award Honorees Dr. Cheryl and Yitzy Book and Nicole Lieberman
Chai Lifeline will celebrate its 2018 Annual Gala on Monday, November 19, at The Grand Hyatt In New York City. Synonymous with providing social, emotional, and financial support to children and families battling pediatric illness, Chai Lifeline offers this vital assistance through its two unique medically-supervised overnight camps, Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special; insurance advocacy; counseling; after-school siblings programs; family retreats; and numerous other services for all family members at absolutely no cost.
Our 2017 Annual Report is more than a summary of numbers. In language and design, the Report clearly and succinctly describes the impact that our programs and services have on more than 5,400 children and families around the world.
Amid 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
In the words of a well-known politician, “It’s going to be HUGE!”
That’s the advance word on this summer at Camp Simcha/Camp Simcha Special, the overnight summer camp designed to meet the medical and social needs of children and teens with a wide variety of serious illnesses. read full story
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.)
When 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
There were latkes and sufganiyot, desserts and delightful gifts at every Chai Lifeline Chanukah event this year. But what people came for – and found in abundance – were the distinctive Chai Lifeline friendship, camaraderie and support that will help them cope with the crises and challenges of living with illness or loss in their homes.
“Chanukah is a joyful season that we all look forward to,” explained Rabbi Simcha Scholar, the organization’s international executive vice president. “Unfortunately, there are myriad situations that affect the joy that families expect to experience. Some children will be in the hospital, which means that their siblings will be forced to celebrate without them. Others will be ill, but at home. Some will be saddened by the illness or loss of a sibling or parent. Our mission this time of year is to make sure that no child is forgotten, and every child’s celebration is enhanced.”
The organization goes all out this time of year. Chai Lifeline offices around the globe put their distinctive spin on the holiday. read full story
The 2017 Annual Gala celebrating the work of Chai Lifeline internationally was an evening of laughter and tears, amazement and awe.
Master Mentalist Lior Suchard astounded us with his abilities. At one point, two members of our audience multiplied several numbers important only to them. When they revealed the number on their cellphone, he revealed the number on a huge scroll. when the scroll was turned upside down, the numbers spelled out “Chai Lifeline.”
We were brought to tears by the hauntingly beautiful “We Are Strong: The Faces of Hope,” written by Malky Storch, Bracha Goldstein and Miriam Storch. They sang the song to their beloved sister, Hudis, as she lay dying. It was sung publicly for the first time by 8th Day at the Gala. read full story