Since 2001 Shifra Zeiler has volunteered as the head of the pottery workshop in Chai Lifeline’s flagship summer sessions, Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special. “Once you step foot inside that camp, you don’t ever want to leave,” Zeiler stated as the thesis of her backstory. She had been asked by head counselor Rivky Schwartz, who had seen her work, to run the activity, and fell in love with the camp.
Tour De Simcha is known to be “the world’s greatest finish line.” The cycling event entails trekking for one hundred miles starting from Woodbridge, New Jersey, to reach Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, New York. The journey is arduous but worth every second when the exuberance of the campers is larger than the campus itself.
Zeiler began participating in this event to give campers a reason to be excited and so they know someone riding. This past ride was her fifth Tour De Simcha ride and in those years she has raised over $100,00 for an organization to which she has become attached. This year the heat was blazing but it didn’t stop Zeiler. She trains all year and puts her workshop in the hands of her staff so that she is able to dedicate her time to partaking in this fabulous event.
There is not a sound that is more satisfying than the roaring cheers of elated campers. They are overcome with joy to celebrate the milestone that Zeiler has reached and are impressed by her constant drive to ride. Zeiler will begin to train and raise money immediately because even though the event just took place, she will stop at no lengths to support her kids at Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special.
By Racheli Herzfeld
Racheli Herzfeld, a Jewish Link summer intern, has known Shifra Zeiler for nine years and interviewed her prior to Zeiler embarking on her annual ride.