Following a lesson about the “Book of Life” theme that is central to Rosh HaShana, the Jewish new year, teens from Chabad 5 Towns CTeen, a local popular club servicing teens in the 5 Towns and surrounding communities, presented personalized journals to children battling cancer so that the children could fill in the pages of their own “books of life.”
In conjunction with Chai Lifeline, an organization that offers assistance to children with cancer and their families, teens were paired with hospitalized children for whom they later designed blank journals, keeping in mind themes and images that would appeal to their partners.
“Most Chai Lifeline children are hospital bound,” explains local CTeen advisor Rabbi Meir Geisinsky. “So the teens wanted to make something to help them battle loneliness and express their feelings like only a child can. We loved the idea of personalizing a blank book for the children to color and write in.”
“The children were so appreciative to see that people were thinking about them and praying on their behalf,” says Faige Yudkovsky, Director of Volunteer Services at Chai Lifeline.
During the time surrounding Rosh HaShanah, prayer books leave their shelves and are embraced by the hands and hearts of Jewish worshippers who are praying that they will be inscribed into the Book of Life yet another year. With this in mind, CTeen teens explored what prayer is all about with an in-depth discussion and interactive activities and games.
After reflecting on things they each pray for, the teens viewed a powerful video by Chai Lifeline that portrayed stories of children in desperate straits for their prayers for recovery to be answered.
“We pray for good grades, for a new car, or for the newest and coolest phone out there,” admits CTeen member Adam Doron, “but when we realize that there are people who are praying for life itself, we focus our prayers outwards – towards others.”
Jason Brodsky from Hewlett High school said, “I’m just happy to be given the opportunity to give back as I know how fortunate we all are not to have to deal with health problems.”
“The teens learned that it is medically proven that hospital patients’ health improves when they know that people are praying for them,” explains Rabbi Meir Geisinsky. “Every teen was determined to show these children that he is pounding on heaven’s doors, beseeching G-d for the speedy recovery of the young cancer fighters.”