Children’s wards in hospitals across Israel reverberated with the joyous sounds of camp this summer, brought by Lev Chabad, a project of Tzeirei Chabad.
The children’s ward in a hospital is a painful place.
Difficult for visitors, heart-wrenching for parents, and agonizing for the patients. Sick children often feel lonely and isolated from their peers.
This sentiment is acutely felt during the summer months when many of the patients’ friends are away in camp and on vacation, two things that the infirm cannot participate in, due to the restrictions and limitations that their illness imposes on them.
Thanks to Lev Chabad, a branch of Chabad Youth Organization of Israel (Tzach), this situation has been turned upside down, and summer vacation is something that the children who find themselves hospitalized during the summer months can now look forward to.
Passing through the corridor and peeking into the rooms will reveal smiling children, their rooms enlivened with balloons, the walls decorated with their artistic masterpieces.
For the past few years, Lev Chabad has provided a full camp experience to children of all ages in various hospitals throughout the country.
“Our objective is plain and simple,” Says Rabbi Levi Mendelson, the director of Lev Chabad. “We hope to turn frowns into smiles and to ease the burdens of worries by providing a much-needed distraction that takes the children out of their current situation, even if only for a few moments.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 brought many technical difficulties and new logistical considerations. The camp was unable to gather the children together for group activities and had various other obstacles to contend with due to strict social distancing regulations that they had to now consider. A group of dedicated volunteers rose to the occasion and worked tirelessly to put together an incredible program, despite the uniquely challenging circumstances.
Determined to create a way for the camp to go on notwithstanding the various restrictions, Tzach produced ‘Camp in a Box’ that was distributed to each child in their respective rooms. The box contained hours of entertaining activities and crafts and came complete with all of the supplies needed, down to the last detail.
Volunteers from Lev Chabad, with masks on their faces, but with their eyes smiling and their hearts overflowing with love, brought the summer joy to hundreds of patients this summer.