chai means life.in hebrew chai is spelled with two letters /numbers: yud (10) & chet (8). it’s supposed to be a lucky number.
every year before rosh hoshannah,the jewish new year,my father would go buy kosher hot dogs and everything,take this to the synagogague and have a cook out for men who would donate money to run the synagogue and buy aliyahs for the new year.these honors were taking out,reading and dressing the torah…..
it’s a custom of jewish people to make these donations in multples of 18.in sunday or religious school ,when i was little you could buy a tree in isreal make a donation for 18.00 in honor or memory of someone.i had a chai necklace, actually two…we had a tree of life on the wall ,when you walk into the hall of the synagogue with gold leaves and my father bought many of these leaves in multiples of 18 , in memory of relatives…my parents 41 and 45 years older than me and both of the largest jewish families in my s.c. town….so there were many leaves…somewhere on a wet moving truck in maryland ,i have a picture with my father and a shovel at the groundbreaking of the new synagogue, when i was one year old.
my father had donated in multiples of 18 , doors for sunday school rooms- 1800, 3600, stained glass windows in the sanctuary, the rabbi’s study, the hall of the sanctuary and yizkor tablets 40,000 to purchase and plaques for relatives, friends, in multiples of 18 again and many of these things my father would donate from his sisters who were widows for their husbands…. the first tablet was for my mother’s mother who died at 88 when i was 17. grandmothers die at that age.
two months later ,when i was 18 , my mother died, and half of my heart.when i was 36, my father and the rest of my heart.