Father and son enjoying the Lipa Schmeltzer concert at Chai Lifeline Chanukah Party. Credit: Shimon Friedman
Lipa Schmeltzer performs at Chai Lifeline’s New York Chanukah Party. Photo Credit: Shimon Friedman

Fifteen-hundred people from the greater New York area gathered to celebrate Chanukah at The Palace in Brooklyn on Tuesday, November 27, at the Chai Lifeline annual Family Chanukah Party. Upon entering, the guests were transported into a tropical-themed paradise where they feasted on a delicious buffet dinner. The event was sponsored by Cross River Bank.

Chai lifeline staff and clients celebrating. Photo Credit: Shimon Friedman

The children were entertained with many Chanukah craft projects before enjoying a concert featuring the music of Lipa Schmeltzer, who helped get the crowd into the Chanukah spirit. At the conclusion of the party, each family was given a huge box filled with toys which were selected especially for them and collected as part of the Honey Engel Toy Drive by dedicated Chai Lifeline Toy Drive volunteers. Door prizes, festive foods, cookie-decorating, and the company of beloved volunteers and Big Brothers/Big Sisters also added to the excitement. Chai Lifeline volunteer Laurie Sutton and Floral Art were responsible for the beautiful décor, while Chavie Horn lent her talents as an event planner.

“The story of Chanukah is a tale about how a small group of people overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to battle a powerful enemy,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline’s chief executive officer. “It is a story of dispelling darkness and bringing forth light. I think the story of Chanukah is quite like the mission of Chai Lifeline. Our incredibly devoted staff and volunteers do everything they can to bring light to lives which have been darkened by the presence of illness or loss, and to help banish the darkness.”

Chai Lifeline family receives their box of Chanukah toys. Photo Credit: Shimon Friedman

This year, Chai Lifeline Chanukah parties and gift distributions will be held for hospitalized children in six major New York-based medical institutions, including Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital (NYU Langone Medical Center); Maimonides Medical Center; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Cohen Children’s Medical Center at Long Island Jewish Campus; New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (Columbia); and NYU-Tisch.

Chanukah parties will also take place across Chai Lifeline’s various U.S. and international regions, including: New Jersey/Pennsylvania, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, West Coast, and Midwest, as well as Canada, England, Belgium, and Israel. In total, more than 50,000 toys will be distributed to Chai Lifeline children and families around the world this Chanukah season.

Chai Lifeline is the international children’s health support network, providing emotional, social, and financial support to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and to their families. To learn more about Chai Lifeline and its services, please visit ChaiLifeline.org.

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