The Chai Initiative
What is the Chai Initiative?
IVF1 offers several charitable programs. We consider this a fulfillment of our religious obligations. (Read more below if you are interested.) The Chai Initiative is another of our charitable programs which offer free new patient consultations for couples suffering from infertility and who would not otherwise have the financial means to afford those consultations.
Who is eligible?
- Any couple with infertility
- Does not have insurance that covers a consultation for infertility
How does it work?
On the 18th of each month, if our office is open and we are performing consultations, we will offer couples without insurance a free consultation with a physician or nurse practitioner. All you have to do is mention that you would like a consultation under the Chai Initiative when scheduling your appointment. (See below for an explanation of the significance of “18”).
What does Chai mean?
The word “chai’ translated from Hebrew to English means “life.” Within the Jewish faith, the word “chai” possesses both numerical and symbolic meaning. The Hebrew word consists of two letters in the alphabet: Chet (ח) and Yud (י).
The Numerical Meaning of Chai
The two Hebrew letters that make up the word chai are the eighth and tenth letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Added together, they equal 18. One of the most important prayers in Judaism is called the Amidah. The Amidah has 18 parts and is commonly referred to as “Shmoneh Esreh” which translates to “the 18”. Thus, the word chai represents a number which in turn is deeply connected to Judaism itself.
The Symbolic Meaning of Chai
As noted above, the translation of the word “Chai” mean “life”. Anyone who has seen the play or movie “Fiddler on the Roof” may remember the song about a Jewish toast which goes “To life, to life, l’chaim”. Individuals who observe Judaism are guided by its basic principals of life which include characteristics such as kindness, thoughtfulness and selflessness. It is our duty as moral, ethical humans to repair the world. This is the Jewish concept known as “tikkun olam”. I would say it is the very essence of Judaism. It is considered a “mitzvah” or good deed to perform acts that help other people. To have a good life or Chai, one must help repair the world by performing good deeds.
In Judaism, it is common to give and receive gifts in multiples of $18. The act of giving, gifting or donating $18 or a multiples thereof is commonly referred to as “giving chai” or “gifts of chai”. Symbolically, these gestures are representative of giving a gift of “life”.
At IVF1, we have put our own twist on the tradition by performing charitable services on the 18th of each month. Of course, the entire focus of IVF1 is to help couples give birth to healthy new life so Chai takes on an even more special meaning for us.