VIDEOS & PHOTOS: Chai Lifeline Lights Up the Chanukah of Thousands Across New Jersey and Pennsylvania

clParties and events brighten the Chanukah of thousands of children and family members. Chanukah is one of the most joyous and anticipated times of the year for Jewish children worldwide. Chai Lifeline Lakewood made sure that illness didn’t stop any from having a time to remember.

Starting with the Toy Drive, over fifty schools and offices participated in collecting toys that were distributed to Chai Lifeline families over Chanukah. In addition to the usual drop off boxes, the new option to “Adopt-a-Family” provided a unique component to this year’s toy drive. Community members were able to meet the specific requests of their unkown adopted family which created a feeling of achdus for all the participants.

Over one thousands of people attended the Pre-Chanukah party in Ateres Reva and were captivated by the glow in the dark effect as soon as they entered the room. The event featured a concert by Music Stars, Yitzi Henken and Simcha Leiner. Other highlights of the night included a wide variety of arts and crafts, a delicious buffet provided by Dalgar Caters, a spinning dreidel ride, and a pogo stick show which had both children and adults thoroughly entertained! The evening ended with every family going home with a box full of assorted toys specially crafted to match their specific requests.

The party in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was one that all the patients were able enjoy and partake in their own way. The party consisted of different Chanukah themed crafts as well as an original comedy skit performed by two of Camp Simcha’s Alumni. The main event took place in the Hospital’s Atrium and those who were unable to attend the affair were able to watch the live broadcasting on all the monitors in the patients’ rooms. Patients were able to select from a wide array of presents donated through the Toy Drive. The event concluded with lighting the menorah which was led by Rabbi Sruli Fried and accompanied by the accapella student group from University of Pennsylvania. – Menorah Lighting – Comedy Skit

The Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick was abuzz with children and their families over the course of Chanukah. Everyone enjoyed donuts, crafts, and a thrilling magic show by the incredible RJ Lewis. The hospital staff reported that the excitement was palpable and the children’s smiles lasted through the next day as they reminisced about the Chanukah party and the amazing time they had!

Chai Lifeline and the Jewish Family & Children’s Services collaborated to create a memorable party in Cherry Hill, NJ. Families came from all over South Jersey including Morristown and Philadelphia. The crowd filled up the hall as they enjoyed a dairy buffet, unique crafts and a unique photo booth! An exciting magic show by the renowned Chad Juros stunned all in attendance was a highlight to the party. Everyone left in high spirits and were sent home with an individually wrapped Chanukah gift.

In preparation for Chanukah and the Toy Drive, Rabbi Fried spoke to the students at Bais Kaila High School and the 8th Grade Class at Bais Faiga. He spoke of the importance of chessed and stressed the significance of giving to others and how everyone has the ability to positively impact the lives of others.

Additionally, Chai Lifeline, in conjunction with the Hillel at University of Pennsylvania, threw an event for Jewish Penn students leading up to Chanukah. The participants took the time to prepare art packages for the patients in CHOP, as well as signed up for new ways to volunteer and give back to the community.

Another initiative launched in Lakewood this Chanukah was the Lights4Chai campaign. Participating stores offered shoppers the opportunity to purchase and display a colorful Chai Lifeline flame on a designated area. Messages of hope and Yom Tov wishes were plastered all around the city, bringing happiness to not only Chai Lifeline families, but to the entire community at large.

In Baltimore, Chai Lifeline partygoers were joined by Governor Larry Hogan. The party was extra special for the Governor, who battled cancer while in office and still carries the “scar,” a bald head. “These children are inspiring,” he marveled as he spoke to the youngsters and their parents. “They’ve gone through so much more than I.”

Chai Lifeline warrior, Coby, wished to light the menorah this Chanukah but faced the challenge of being in a hospital room over Yom Tov. To help him fulfill his dream, Chai Lifeline volunteers set up a menorah outside to accommodate hospital regulations. Coby and the volunteers danced hand in hand around the lit menorah as the joy Chanukah penetrated the air.

“It’s important to provide experiences and time where illness can recede and families can enjoy a day together,” explained Rabbi Mordechai Gobioff, Chai Lifeline’s director of client services. “This is particularly important when children are hospitalized, so our staff and volunteers around the world bring the holiday to them through cooperative ventures with hospitals around the world.”

Rabbi Scholar estimates that Chai Lifeline’s holiday effort, which began before the first candle was lit on December 6 and will continue for another week, will reach 50,000 children and adults impacted by illness or loss in their homes.

“Our mission is to enable children and their families to thrive through the pain, isolation, and hardship of illness. We gave 50,000 people the ability to do that this holiday season. It’s the best present we could ever want.”


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  1. Rabbi Fried is the best. May he continue to have strength in all the wonderful work he does for Chai Lifeline. It’s my favorite……. hope it’s yours.

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