While the practical and medical needs of the refugees from the Ukrainian war have elicited a massive international response, the emotional and mental toll the crisis is taking on refugees—as well as the global community at large—is getting far less attention. In recent days, Chai Lifeline has been working to fill that gap by providing training and resources to Jewish communities and organizations to help people deal with the immense mental traumas that can come with such crises.read full story
For families with children with disabilities, the seemingly simple task of getting around can be a daunting challenge. Day-to-day activities, like getting to therapy and medical appointments, are often overwhelming and require complex planning. The availability and cost of accessible vehicles can also be extremely prohibitive.read full story
Eight years ago on a spring Shabbos morning, my wife said she was not feeling well. An hour later she was in the ICU paralyzed from the neck down. That day turned our world upside down. I was introduced to Chai Lifeline, which I had thought was simply a nice organization that gives sick kids gifts and takes them to Disney World, but over the next few months, I had realized how wrong I was. Chai Lifeline became a huge part of our lives.read full story
On March 6, more than 200 Chai Lifeline families and local community members took part in the Chai Lifeline Southeast annual Purim party in Hollywood, Florida. Led by volunteer Samantha Fischler, the party was held in the Brauser Maimonides Academy. Kids and parents alike enjoyed carnival games, an exciting costume competition, and even a special appearance by Miami Heat mascot Burnie.read full story
After two years of the program being forced to postpone due to COVID-19, a group of childhood cancer survivors are traveling to Israel this week as part of Chai Lifeline’s annual “Wish at the Wall” program. The trip is Chai Lifeline’s celebration of life for those who have completed treatment for cancer. Each participant is invited to share the memorable journey with a parent.read full story
I began working for Chai Lifeline as an administrative assistant when I was 19. One day, a girl receiving dialysis was all alone in the hospital and the regular volunteers who usually spent time with her were not available. I volunteered to go and spent my first two hours with a Chai Lifeline client. I realized then how special Chai Lifeline was and how wonderful it is to be able to give. After getting married, moving, going to school, and moving again, here I am today, working as a case manager for Chai Lifeline Southeast.read full story
I was the first employee of Camp Simcha UK (Chai Lifeline’s United Kingdom affiliate) in 2005. I had been working in the Jewish community in London since the early 1980s and was approached by the founder of Camp Simcha here, Meir Plancey. After meeting Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar and seeing the setup in New York I was hooked and it has dominated me and my family’s lives ever since.
One of the things I love about my job is that no two days are alike. Currently, we still have to work from home here, so I have to pull all the strings of the charity from my kitchen table. I have at least three or four Zoom meetings a day and essentially spend most of my time working with my senior managers and lay leaders. I love working together with some incredible people to make so much difference to the children and their families. The more time I get to spend with people, the better.
Every time I see the difference that on one of our incredible Big Brothers or Sisters make for their Camp Simcha Little Brother or Sister, it makes me feel so very special inside. To play my very small part in making that happen is a tremendous zchus [privilege]. One of our parents at a retreat told me, “Imagine how it made us feel to see our children smiling again.” Whenever I see those children smile, I know I’ve made a difference.
I was drawn to Chai Lifeline because, unlike many organizations that help children with illnesses, Chai Lifeline provides support and services for the entire family. When one person in a family is sick, everyone is affected in different ways. I was the child who was sick. I know how my illness affected me, but, more than that, I know how much of a toll it took on my parents and siblings. Chai Lifeline works with the whole family to make sure every need is met, and every person is cared for. My health issues began when I was 12 and since then I knew I wanted to help children who were affected by illness. I’m trained as a Child Life Specialist and worked at children’s hospitals supporting children and families. My chronic health issues made continuing that role nearly impossible, but I still wanted to do something meaningful for families facing illness. When Chai Lifeline West Coast was hiring a program coordinator for i-Shine, I knew it was the perfect place for me to utilize my experience and channel my passion into helping children.read full story
I started working at Camp Simcha as a counselor in 2004. Those were the greatest summers of my life. I remember walking out of the dining room on my last day there, already engaged to my wife, thinking this would be the last time I would be part of such a magical place. I was wrong! In 2010, I called my role model and mentor, (Camp Simcha Boys Head Counselor) Rabbi Ari Dembitzer and asked if I could come and learn with some of the campers or counselors. He said sure, but we have no room for you to sleep here. I drove 45 minutes every day from my parents’ bungalow for 5 years. One thing led to another, and now, B’H, here I am.read full story
More than 450 runners from across the globe came together in Miami to raise funds in support of kids with life-threatening and lifelong illnesses as part of Team Lifeline, the largest organized team to participate in the February 6 Miami Marathon. Team Lifeline supports Chai Lifeline, the leading Jewish international health support organization that provides medical, social and financial services for children and their families whose lives have been altered by their medical diagnoses.read full story