More than 1,500 children and families gathered at the Fountain Ballroom in Lakewood this past Motzei Shabbos, December 1, for the annual Chai Lifeline New Jersey Chanukah Chagiga. Described by participants as a party which was “truly out of this world,” the room was decked out with planets and stars created by Bais Shaindel High School students, while lighting by Brighter Events set the tone with stars, glitter, and sparkles.
Mrs. Chavi Chase of Pret-A-Partee lent her decorating expertise to the event as well. She designed a menorah using only Lucite stands and doughnuts, and Camp Simcha girls created a stunning galaxy backdrop under the direction of artist Mrs. Chayala Kipper. Model astronauts floated alongside a realistic looking rocket ship fashioned by a Chai Lifeline child. Mrs. Judy Singer’s gold and silver balloons strategically placed throughout the room completed the party’s overall look.
While the guests feasted on a delicious, milchig buffet and enjoyed soothing dinner music played by Mendy Panski, dozens of children excitedly took their seats around the craft tables and waited their turn to have a personalized, wooden dreidel fashioned by renowned artist and Chai Lifeline art director, Rabbi Braunstein.
The children were absolutely thrilled when Uncle Moshe took the stage to sing his familiar songs, followed by a special appearance from music sensation Shulem Lemmer. The evening’s entertainment concluded with a routine by The Twins From France, who performed unbelievable acrobatic feats which captivated the audience!
No Chai Lifeline Chanukah party would be complete without each family receiving a box loaded with custom toys selected and prepared for every child. In total, Chai Lifeline will distribute more than 50,000 toys to children and families battling pediatric illness around the world this Chanukah.
“The looks of excitement on the children’s faces, and the expressions of gratitude from the parents, makes planning and hosting this event every year completely worth it,” remarked Rabbi Sruli Fried, Chai Lifeline’s NJ/PA Regional Director. “Chanukah is a time of joy and hope, and this annual party provides an outlet for these Chai Lifeline families so they, too, can experience that sense of joy and hope and know they are not alone.”