Chanukah is a special time for many of us, and the simchah of these eight days is especially felt in the many Ohel Children’s Home & Family Services residences and programs.
The week before Chanukah started, Ohel’s Sibshops program was already celebrating with a fun pre-Chanukah ice skating trip for siblings of individuals with special needs. The boys and girls, between the ages of 6-11, came from Far Rockaway and Brooklyn, and more than 50 kids and facilitators spent the day at the Aviator, enjoying an afternoon of ice skating, pizza, presents, doughnuts, and Chanukah fun!
Parents have been raving to the Sibshops staff all week about how much fun their children had on the trip. “My daughter had an amazing time; thanks for arranging it all, and she loved the gift!” said one thankful mother. Another said, “Thank you for a super trip. The kids all had a great time!”
Ohel also had a special Chanukah party for families and children in Ohel’s foster care system. It gave a much-appreciated opportunity for parents, families, and children in similar situations to hang out together and enjoy a fun night of food, dancing, doughnuts, as well as an interactive magic show. To top off the fun night, the kids even got to choose from a selection of presents to take home with them!
The Chanukah festivities continued throughout the week, with menorah-lighting and present exchanges in all of Ohel Bais Ezra’s residences.
On the seventh night of Chanukah, Ateres Chaya, a grand simchah hall located in the heart of Brooklyn, hosted the highly anticipated annual Ohel Chanukah party. Every year, Ohel staff, volunteers, individuals, and board members all gather to celebrate together. It was a truly uplifting and inspiring evening, with nachas infused throughout the entire venue.
There were over 700 people who came to the Ohel Chanukah party, graciously sponsored once again by Sammy and Lea Trencher. There were smiles that warmed the heart, dancing, food, and sufganiyot sponsored by another good friend of Ohel’s children.
The incredible party featured all different kinds of entertainers, including magicians, face painters, and balloon sculptors. There were gifts and giveaways on every table, and nobody left the party empty-handed! The Ohel Bais Ezra clients at the party said they look forward to the party all year, and they enjoy having the opportunity to get dressed up and dance.
For over 45 years, Ohel has provided help to individuals with developmental and psychiatric illness, to children abused and neglected, and to families with nowhere else to turn. All of these individuals are part of the Ohel family, and without Ohel they would have nowhere to turn and no place to call home. They all deserve simchah and the ability to celebrate with our community members. v
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments, and international organizations.