Friends, Fun, Support at Edison/Highland Park

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Thirty boys living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses shared a magical Shabbos with the residents of Highland Park/Edison last weekend.  The event was part of Chai Lifeline’s Friends ‘n Fun Weekends, a program that links seriously ill youngsters with host communities across the country. The children and teens enjoy a weekend of fun and friendship, and community members are treated to a close-up look at the impact Chai Lifeline has on lives touched by illness.

The twin communities of Edison and Highland Park gave the boys and their counselors the royal treatment from the moment they arrived. Under the leadership of Mrs. Sarita Kohn, and committee members: Mr. and Mrs. Alan Borck, Mr. and Mrs.  Lynn Even-Hen, Mr. and Mrs. Moshe Feuer, Mr. and Mrs. Efrem Gerszberg, Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lutz, Mr. and Mrs. Eli Reinetz, Mr. and Mrs. Psachya Septimus and Mr. and Mrs. David Waizer, the community opened their homes and hearts. The group was hosted by Congregation Ohr Torah, where they were treated as honored guests.

Highland Park/Edison residents were treated to a bit of the enchantment of a Camp Simcha Shabbos during the community wide Oneg Shabbos and Shalosh Seudos. Parents and children were moved by the joyful singing and dancing. Children in wheelchairs propelled themselves within the circles, some on their own and some helped by their counselors. Boys were hoisted onto shoulders of counselors as they laughed. Community members marveled at children whose illnesses too often keep them on the outskirts of the fun; this weekend their laughter could be heard throughout the state.

There was a serious side, too. Hundreds of residents who joined the children for Shalosh Seudos listened attentively as Rabbi Sruli Fried, MSW, Director of Chai Lifeline NJ, described Chai Lifeline’s work and thanked the scores of volunteers and hosts who had made the weekend a success. Danny Ludner, a Chai lifeline client, equated the story of the angels sent to visit Abraham when he was convalescing to the amazing work of Chai Lifeline’s volunteers who go to the hospitals and homes of very ill children to cheer them up and offer them hope.

The fun lasted into the late hours of the night. After Shabbos, the group moved to the gymnasium of Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva, where a wonderful Melave Malka awaited them. The entire community was invited for more singing, dancing, games, and delicious food.

“We’re grateful to all our hosts and to Mrs. Kohn for putting together a Friends ‘n Fun weekend that was filled with both,” said Rabbi Fried.

Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline’s executive vice president, added, “The combination of community, counselors, and children create an environment of pure delight and support that sustains and nurtures the spirits our children, all of whom are fighting the effects of devastating illnesses.”

(YWN Desk – NYC)