For Ohel individuals, Chanukah at Ohel is a warm, inviting, and festive time of the year. From toy drives and Chanukah parties to cookies for public-service workers, Ohel staff and individuals of all backgrounds and abilities come together during the Festival of Lights to warm up the lives of hundreds.
This year saw over 65 schools, shuls, and other organizations participate in Ohel’s annual Chanukah Gift Drive, collecting hundreds of toys, games, puzzles, and gifts for hundreds of Ohel children in need–whether for children in domestic-violence shelters or foster homes or adults challenged by disability in Ohel Bais Ezra’s many residential homes. Jennifer Gruenfeld, Ohel coordinator of volunteer services, remarks, “Each year we are enamored by the number of people in the community who show their support and step forward to help the most vulnerable amongst us.”
Ohel foster children enjoyed a warm, happy, and fun-filled annual Chanukah Foster Family Party with the best food, door prizes, and presents raised through Ohel’s Annual Chanukah Gift Drive! Over 60 children and more than 40 foster parents, together with Ohel foster-care staff and their own children, enjoyed the wonderful evening. It was particularly poignant to see some reunifications between the biological children of foster families with former foster children who had previously been in their foster care. We heard over and over again from foster parents how much their own children and their foster children look forward the whole year to this annual Chanukah party event. This Chanukah party would not be possible without the money raised through Ohel’s Simcha Fund, which provides funding for foster children and children with disabilities to enjoy holidays and lifecycle events like bar or bat mitzvahs–just like everyone else in the community!
Throughout Ohel’s many Ohel Mental Health and Ohel Bais Ezra residences, hundreds of Ohel individuals warmly lit Chanukah candles and celebrated festivities with staff, community members, and family members.
Chanukah festivities culminate each year during the annual Ohel Chanukah Party, generously sponsored by Sammy and Lea Trencher, at The Palace in Brooklyn. Hundreds of Ohel individuals from a multitude of programs joined staff, volunteers, board members, and elected officials in celebrating Chanukah together. While Ohel board member Shloime Dachs and his orchestra played lively music, everyone enjoyed delicious food, watched clowns on stilts, made balloon animals, and sang Chanukah songs. Ohel was also pleased to welcome Councilman David Greenfield and Councilman-elect Kalman Yeger, who shared warm words of inspiration and gratitude to the crowd, many of whom are their constituents. Throughout the night there was also enthusiastic dancing with staff and ever engaging and passionate Ohel board members leading the way. A noteworthy highlight of the evening was Sammy Trencher lighting the Chanukah candles together with Naftali, an Ohel individual who happily led everyone in the berachos. Ohel thanks everyone who helped make this evening such a success and looks forward to continuing this beautiful tradition for years to come.