ChaiSpotlight: Rabbi Mordechai Rothman

One of the main reasons Chai Lifeline Canada started a blog is to take the expertise that exists within our organization and make it relevant to the general community. With that in mind I would like to share an idea that I think is profound and is directly related to my responsibilities as executive director.

Lately, most of my responsibilities have been around the implementation of our annual Sing for the Children concert. The concert was held this past Thursday and one of the themes of was celebrating Chai Lifeline Canada’s tenth year. The event was beautiful and raised both the necessary funds needed for our 25 year round programs as well as the much needed general awareness in the community.

It’s incredible to think that just ten years ago families suffering from serious pediatric illness had no place to turn. There was undoubtedly a need for Chai Lifeline, and the amazing growth we have had in our first decade exhibits how great that need was.

One of my philosophies in both my work and home life is to try and empower people to use their own creative ideas and run with a project. This isn’t just happenstance…When Chai Lifeline Canada first opened Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline International’s Executive Vice President had the foresight to create an environment where he gave me the opportunity to create my own ideas and run with them. His philosophy was integral and has been a defining force in many of Chai Lifeline’s biggest projects world-wide.

When people feel that they can be creative and implement something that is creating a real impact; they will often surprise even themselves as to what they can accomplish. Not only will people feel that their ideas are heard and validated but they will also grow from the belief that they know that management believes in them and trusts them to implement the project as well.

This is something that Rabbi Scholar continuously creates within the community of Chai Lifeline International, ensuring that Chai Lifeline is always on the forefront of creative programming for our children and families. I also am convinced that it is this spirit that gave us the ability to create and develop the Sing for the Child
ren concerts as well as many of our other programs and services. This year’s concert held many new elements, but at least two of the best ideas came about as a direct result of this philosophy.

Firstly, we created a Chai Lifeline Canada Haggadah that was sold to attendees . When Ms. Orly Davis came up with the idea I knew it was an extremely ambitious one with a timeline of only seven weeks from conception to distribution. That said, I knew she was passionate about the project as well. Orly assembled her own team and literally ran the project from beginning to end. Needless to say the project came together beautifully and resulted in a gorgeous Haggada that can be purchased from our offices and used for year’s to come.

The other project was our Healing Hearts display that Ms. Sara Blum came up with. The idea was to use our Shining Stars after school program and have the children create various different themed hearts and display them at the concert. Sara worked hard to find a mold and put the kids to task. I must admit, on this project I was a bit more skeptical. I was unsure that people might actually be interested in a children’s arts and crafts project; but I had faith in Ms. Blum. During the concert the hearts were displayed beautifully with the help of the Petroff Gallery and placed in a silent auction. The project was a huge hit and helped us raise some extra funds the night of the show. Many attendees of the show commented to me and other staff members how much they actually enjoyed seeing the work that the children (or artists inspired by Chai Lifeline) made, regardless of whether they had bid on them or not.

It is my belief that this type of thinking can be used by anyone in their own business or even at home among family. When people feel comfortable to come up with new ideas and know that they will be given the opportunity to actually implement them …there is no stopping them. When Chai Lifeline Canada started ten years ago helping just eighteen families, Rabbi Scholar knew this to be true and acted upon his belief. His actions have resulted in the amazing organization that Chai Lifeline Canada has grown into in ten short years.

Today Chai Lifeline Canada has offices in two cities and helps 600 families annually. For myself and every staff member, knowing that we are able to develop ideas and implement them, is just one of the many reasons we have accomplished so much in our short existence.

Try this in your own life…perhaps you will be surprised by the results.

Wishing you and your family a meaningful Passover

Mordechai Rothman

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