Childhood Cancer Survivors Journey to Israel on Chai Lifeline Trip of a Lifetime

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.

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Staff Spotlight: Henni Halberstam, Chai Lifeline Southeast Case Manager

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.

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Staff Spotlight : Neville Goldshneider, Chief Executive of Camp Simcha UK

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.

Staff Spotlight: Sheva Katz, Chai Lifeline West Coast Manager of i-Shine & Volunteer Services

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.

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Staff Spotlight: Rabbi Duvy Feiler, Camp Simcha Boys Associate Head Counselor

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.

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Perspiration and Inspiration at Team Lifeline 2022

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.

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Chai Lifeline Staff Spotlight: Rivka Recht, LPC, Chai Lifeline Midwest Case Manager

I joined Chai Lifeline as a case manager, where I spend my time connecting to families, visiting clients in the hospital, counseling, and bringing smiles to dark places. In between all the running around, I’m on my phone, calling families, running our mom’s support group, and juggling meetings with staff. Some of my most meaningful moments happen during times of crisis. G-d gave us each different strengths and staying calm and helping people through the delicate and painful time that a crisis creates, is something that I have been blessed to do well. I am grateful for all the times that I have been able to help families through very challenging times.

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Staff Spotlight: Rabbi Dr. Dovid Fox, Director of Project Chai

Close to 20 years ago, Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar and I developed Project Chai as way to broaden the services of Chai Lifeline to the greater community by providing intervention for crisis and trauma, which went beyond medical conditions. We aimed to provide formal training in the community for committed individuals to serve as first responders in a range of emergency circumstances. Nearly eight years ago, Rabbi Scholar asked me to serve as director of Project Chai.

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Staff Spotlight: Dr. Cheryl Book, Chai Lifeline Director of Clinical & Family Services

I first got involved in Chai Lifeline in 2001 as a camper at Camp Simcha when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. From that first experience, I knew that once I was well, I wanted to give back and help others as I had been helped by Chai Lifeline. A few years later, I became a Camp Simcha counselor and then a division head, and I knew I wanted to incorporate this passion into my career. After graduating with a PhD in psychology, I interned for the Chai Lifeline crisis and bereavement team, and then went on to become the director of clinical & family services for the Chai Lifeline’s Greater New York region.

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Frenkel Family and Toms River Community Welcome Camp Simcha Kids for Chai Lifeline Shabbaton

On January 7-8, Mr. and Mrs. Yechiel Mayer (a.k.a. Franky) Frenkel, along with the Toms River Community hosted an unforgettable Chai Lifeline Shabbaton for 70 Camp Simcha boys and staff.The boys arrived on Friday afternoon to a welcome party where they reminisced about camp, connected with old friends, and received special gift bags full of goodies and toys. The event was fully medically-supervised, with a paramedic, 4 nurses, and 3 Camp Simcha division heads led by Rabbi Duvy Feiler on hand.

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