April 21, 2024
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Local Medical Gemach, Rinat Chaim, Earns 501c3

Teaneck–After the death of Renee Chaya Levy, a”h, of Teaneck last year, her widower Yehiel and son Chaim established a much-needed medical gemach (lending organization) to honor her beloved memory and to give back to the community in a profoundly meaningful way. Now that gemach, called Rinat Chaim, has acquired 501(c)(3) status, an important milestone that incorporates it as a not-for-profit organization, allowing it to utilize tax-deductible monetary donations.

Renee Chaya was born in Cairo and later made aliyah with her parents and siblings. In 1975 she married Yehiel Levy, raising their sons Chaim and Ronnie in Givatayim, where she taught Arabic and French. In 2005 they moved to Teaneck, joining Congregation Beth Aaron. Renee then translated classified documents at a law firm that represents victims of terror attacks in Israel. In December 2007, Renee was diagnosed with cancer and struggled relentlessly, with the unending and loving support of the Teaneck community. She was known for rejoicing in life and treasuring every single moment she had. After she lost her battle, her family wanted to commemorate her joyful spirit by helping those in Bergen County (and beyond) who need it.

The Levy family was deeply moved by the ongoing support from members of their shul, as well as from the broader Teaneck community during the difficult years they spent dealing with serious illness. “While battling her terrible disease, we experienced how hard, time-consuming, and expensive it is to come by the equipment needed to help my wife be more mobile and to function on a daily basis,” said Levy. “I used to scour for these devices and buy more and more as needed. Medical equipment is prohibitively expensive to buy, and even to rent. About four months after she passed on chai Sivan 5773/2013, we decided that the best way to give back would be to help sick and disabled people at a particularly trying time in their lives while honoring our inspiring wife and mother.”

Encouraged and assisted by Rabbi Larry Rothwachs and shul board members Larry Kahn and Micha Kaufman, Levy put all his dedication into the project, dubbed “Rinat Chaim” by Rabbi Rothwachs in honor of Renee’s indomitable spirit. “This mission could not have succeeded without the help of our rabbi and his wife, our caring friends and community, and most recently the invaluable pro bono assistance of lawyer Lewis Karp, who filed the 501(c)(3) paperwork for us and who helps us with other legal issues as they arise,” said Levy. “Their support, coupled with the aid of wonderful volunteers coordinated by Eli Kahn, makes Rinat Chaim possible.”

The gemach collects and lends new and used medical equipment in good condition to those in need for short- or long-term use, including wheelchairs, portable commodes, walkers, shower chairs, bathtub chairs, rollators, crutches, and canes. It is carefully maintained by dedicated Teaneck volunteers from Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) and Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA). Unique to Rinat Chaim, they also pick up and deliver equipment free of charge. In addition to accepting donated medical items and monetary contributions, additional storage space is desperately needed as everything is currently stored in a spare room at the Levy apartment in Teaneck or in donated space of Beth Aaron members. The gemach is seeking volunteers to help them out with garage or basement space as their storage areas are full to capacity.

For more information or to contribute in any way, please visit their website www.rinatchaimgemach.com, created by Moishe Singer.

By Lisa Matkowsky

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