Chai Lifeline is an international non-profit organization that helps seriously ill children and their families in a variety of incredible ways.
Camp Simcha is a camp for children with cancer and other serious illnesses. This two-week camp is one of the only camps that accepts children on active treatment. Designed to meet the social and medical needs of children, Camp Simcha gives its 400 campers a vacation from illness each summer.
One of Chai Lifeline’s guiding principles is to support families who have children struggling with a serious disease. In addition to supporting the ill child, family members are also supported with services ranging from counseling, mentoring programs, and family retreats and vacations.
Chai Lifeline provides tutoring services so ill children can keep up with their schoolwork. They also offer transportation services to help children get to and from doctors appointments.
All of Chai Lifeline’s programs and services are free of charge.
Chai Lifeline is “dedicated to meeting the non-medical needs of seriously ill children, their families, and communities”—truly an amazing organization!
Mazon is an organization that’s been working for more than 30 years to end hunger.
This Jewish organization advocates and develops policies to end hunger. They legislate and educate tirelessly to help the 1 in 8 Americans who live in poverty and struggle with hunger.
Tomchei Shabbos is another national organization that provides food for needy families. The organization has individual branches in several cities. Each branch is staffed by volunteers who package food and distribute the packages weekly.
For families that keep kosher, specific food banks that serve kosher food are available. Kosher food banks are often a collaborative effort of both synagogues and volunteers. One example is the Intersynagogue Food Bank in Toronto, a food bank that was formed when seven synagogues banded together.
By combining advocacy, legislation, and food distribution, people struggling with hunger will be supported.
In 1959, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg created a charitable foundation that is now valued at over 2 billion dollars.
The foundation distributes grants to the poor, focusing primarily on the areas of housing, health, jobs, education and community services.
Harry Weinberg arrived in America as a 10-year-old immigrant who spoke only Yiddish. Despite leaving school at the age of 12, Harry became a successful entrepreneur. Using several years, Harry built up his business which ranged from property purchases, stock ownership and transit operations. His specialty was real estate purchases, primarily in Hawaii.
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg dedicated their considerable fortune to their foundation. Their philanthropy benefits needy individuals who face poverty.
Evelyn Lauder was the catalyst that caused her mother-in-law’s company, Estee Lauder, to become an international success.
Evelyn was born to Jewish parents in Vienna, Austria in 1936. After fleeing from Nazis with her family, she arrived in New York in 1940. She married her husband, Lenonard Lauder, in 1959 and joined her mother-in-law’s small cosmetics company several years later.
At first, Estee Lauder was such a small cosmetics company that Evelyn would answer the phone using different voices, so clients would assume the company had several departments. With Evelyn’s help, the company expanded and created the Clinique brand name as well as perfume products. The Estee Lauder company and brand grew from a company that sold only four products to a billion dollar business.
Evelyn Lauder’s philanthropy was as impressive as the financial success she achieved. She personally raised most of the 13 million dollars for the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She is also credited with creating the “pink ribbon campaign,” a movement that uses the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer awareness.
The pink ribbon symbol is now an internationally recognized symbol and has been used to raise money for breast cancer research.
Edith Flagg was a philanthropist who accomplished a tremendous amount despite a challenging background.
Born as Edith Feuerstein in 1919 in Austria, Edith fled to the Netherlands to avoid the Nazis. Once there, she married Hans Stein and later gave birth to a son, Michael. Edith hid her son in a sanitarium and posed as a nurse to visit him. Unfortunately, her husband was captured by the Germans and killed in 1944.
Edith then joined the Dutch Underground Resistance. She acted as a spy and reportedly killed two Nazis. After the war, Edith remarried Eric Flagg– another member of the Dutch Underground Resistance– and moved to the United States.
In the US, Edith worked as a seamstress, eventually becoming a clothing designer. She began her own line of clothing and was the first person to import polyester to the United States. Edith Flagg eventually grew her company to a net worth of 100 million dollars.
Edith Flagg was a philanthropist who donated money to the United Jewish Welfare Fund as well as City of Hope, a private hospital in California, among other causes.
Edith is an inspiration whose resilience, courage and generosity transformed her life as well as the lives of many others.
Vidal Sassoon is a name associated with haircuts and hair products and just as importantly– philanthropy.
Vidal Sassoon was born in 1928 to Jewish parents. He grew up in extreme poverty and was raised in an orphanage for seven years. Sassoon left school at the age of 14 to work. He held several jobs, including working as a messenger.
In 1948, Vidal Sassoon joined the Haganah and fought in the 1948 war, an experience which he later described as “the best year of my life,” adding, “When you think of 2,000 years of being put down and suddenly you are a nation rising, it was a wonderful feeling. There were only 600,000 people defending the country against five armies, so everyone had something to do.”
Sassoon opened his first hair salon in 1954. His innovate, simply styled haircuts quickly revolutionized the field of hair design. Sassoon branched out to selling hair care products in 1973 and was very successful.
Sassoon soon directed his wealth towards philanthropic causes. He started the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Located at Hebrew University, this organization gathers information in an effort to eradicate anti-Semitism.
Sassoon also supported the Boys Club of America, the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles as well as relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.
Zahava Burack was a philanthropist who contributed to many American and Israeli causes. She supported causes in Westchester, NY including the Mental Health Association of Westchester County and the Boy Scouts of Putnam-Westchester County.
Incredibly, Mrs. Burack achieved this level of success and generosity despite her horrific experiences during the Holocaust. As a child during WWII, Zahava spent two and a half years hidden in a five-foot crawlspace with other family members. The family was hidden by Stephania and Jozef Macugowski, Polish friends.
When the war ended, Zahava and her family exited their hiding place, barely able to walk and speak because their muscles had atrophied from disuse. Zahava, then 12 years old, was smuggled to Israel. She later moved to the United States.
In 1986, Zahava and her family were re-united with Stephania and Jozef Macugowski.
The legacy of Zahava Burack is one of courage, resilience and generosity.