Colel Chabad toy delivery
Colel Chabad toy delivery Colel Chabad

During a normal year, the Ramada hotel in Jerusalem would be filled with hundreds of children and their mothers, celebrating the holiday surrounded by those just like them. The annual retreat for widows and their children brings much-needed relaxation and joy for these families that have suffered loss.

When asked how Chanukah will be celebrated this year with all the restrictions, Rabbi Menachem Traxler, director of volunteering for Colel Chabad responded, “Have challenges ever stopped us?”

And so this year is (almost) no different – the retreat has been moved down to the Dead Sea with coronavirus restrictions in place. Participants must present a negative coronavirus test result and adhere to the regulations set by the hotel. While there might not be the usual parties and group activities, the families will still be able to feel the support of Colel Chabad and enjoy the respite from the challenges of daily life with a few days of vacation.

“Seeing and hearing the reactions from the widows and orphans upon arriving at the hotel just goes to show how important these retreats are despite all the challenges in putting it together,” said Rabbi Sholom Duchman, Director of Colel Chabad. “This isn’t a fun vacation but an essential getaway and escape for these incredible families.”

In addition, Colel Chabad’s annual toy drive for hospitalized children received special permission to deliver the toys and gifts. The social workers were suited up head-to-toe in PPE in order to be allowed in to hand-deliver the holiday gifts. What makes this toy drive different is that every gift has been carefully chosen by the recipients' social workers to ensure that they receive something appropriate that suits their needs and interests.

“We don't just give gifts for the sake of giving ; we tailor each gift to the needs of the recipient so they can truly enjoy it!”