PHOTO CREDITS DF Studios, Langsom Photography, Yossi Kohn, David Spinrad

By Esther Glick

“When I got Misameach’s invitation in the e-mail, I knew it was the answer to my question! If there was one thing at which Misameach excelled, it was at bringing smiles to the faces of every single member of my family. If they were arranging a midwinter vacation activity, every one of my children would have a phenomenal time!” These were the words of Mrs. Gold* when describing how Misameach helps bring joy and laughter to her children despite the specter of serious illness that has been hanging over their heads.

Another mother explained, “My son was in critical condition in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My heart was in my throat as I tried to juggle his medical treatment, another child’s dentist appointment, a third child’s ear infection, and the myriad other obligations of a mother that had to happen despite my absence. And then, midwinter vacation! What could I do?

“How could I make it special for my kids who were at home? And then, I received the phone call, ‘Hi! This is Misameach calling. Did you get our invitation to join us on Thursday, January 21 at the American Dream Amusement Park?’ At that moment, a sense of calm settled over me. Hashem had heard my unspoken worry and sent Misameach to make my children’s midwinter vacation one they would remember for a long, long time!”

For any family that has ever been thrown into the dark, terrifying world of illness, the name Misameach, as its name implies, is one that brings smiles, laughter, and joy into their world.

From musicians, clowns, and singers visiting patients in the hospital or at home to their family entertainment center where families can play together, relax together, and even have parties together, Misameach’s mission is to offer an island of fun to families struggling with illness.

This past January 21, 2021, in honor of midwinter vacation, Misameach rented out the American Dream Amusement Park for one reason—to remove the worry, pain, tension, and fear permeating the hearts of families dealing with serious illness and provide four hours of COVID-compliant, wholesome fun, with memories that will last a lifetime. The hours and hours of thought and detail that went into planning every jam-packed moment of the event was clearly evident and made the night thoroughly enjoyable by the nearly 1,500 people who participated. From the truckloads of sound systems that were transported from Lakewood, set up and maintained throughout the evening, all free of charge by Moshe Zuckerman and Stellar Productions, to top names in the Jewish music industry who donated their time, including Levi Falkowitz, Simcha Leiner, Uncle Moishy, Nechemia Katz, Yidi Bialostotsky accompanied by Mendy Panski Productions, Motty Feldman, Chesky Schwartz, and Yidel Friedman; from the enthusiastic, lively emcee Donny and his crew, the Shnitzel Guys, to Marc Garfinkel who wowed the audience with his magnificent magic tricks; from the jugglers and clowns who were circulating throughout the massive venue, providing on-the-spot, individualized juggling and clown acts, to Yossi Rosenthal and Magnet Memory who took individualized family pictures of all the nearly 200 families and distributed the personal family magnets for each family to bring home; and finally, last but certainly not least, from the magnificent gift packages presented to each family offering take-home entertainment for the rest of midwinter vacation to the delectable hot fleishig buffet sponsored by Volvie Brown and donated in part by Greenwald’s Catering and Epstein’s Meat.

Everything possible was done to bring smiles to sad faces and to lighten hearts burdened by illness. The event itself was lovingly sponsored by Chavi and Chuni Herzka in memory of Mrs. Bistritzky and by Friendly Urgent Care and Modway.

The e-mail received by Misameach just prior to the event encapsulates the feeling of so many of the attendees, “This was such a welcome invitation and truly the biggest chesed. My children are having such a hard time dealing with our recent tragic circumstances. My older kids are not coping well with the added stresses of our special-needs son (especially with their Tatty not around). This is such an exciting thing for them to anticipate! Not only that, but when they hear about it, they will see it as another berachah from Hashem… For this I am even more grateful!

“Please thank the sponsors as such an invite will really be mechazek us all in more ways than they can imagine! It is something amazing to look forward to! We would love to attend the event at American Dream! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” 

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