Libeinu Foundation Opens Chicago Home for Jewish Adults with Special Needs
The Jewish community turned out in force on April 22nd to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Libenu Home of west Rogers Park, and to show support for independence and inclusion for Jewish adults with special needs. Despite the crisp weather, over 200 people were in attendance as leaders of the community welcomed the Libenu residents and praised the efforts of the organization. The Groundbreaking Ceremony represented a true spirit of “achdus” or unity for the Jewish community, as supporters from all walks of Jewish life were in attendance.
The program included Divrei Torah and Bracha (Words of Torah and Blessing) from prominent Rabbis in the community. Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik of Congregation Beth Shalom Ahavas Achim, addressed the gathering, noting that “We are not simply breaking ground for a house, but for a true ‘home’ in which we welcome the Libenu residents as equals and important members of our community.” Rabbi Efraim Twerski of Khal Chasidim, described the event not as “Groundbreaking, but as Earth-Shattering.” Rabbi Gedaliah Dov Schwartz, Av Bet Den of the Chicago Rabbinical Council was not able to attend in person, but sent a letter in which he stated, “May Hashem bless all of those who have spared no effort to make this project feasible for our community, and may it be an outstanding recognition to create such a facility which gives credit to the Torah values by which it will be operated.” Rabbi Leonard Matanky of Congregation K.I.N.S. also wrote, “The Libenu Foundation is responding to a critical need by providing opportunities for Jewish adults to live independently, in kosher homes that adhere to Torah values, as fully included and valued members of the Jewish community.”
The Libenu Foundation was honored to have many of its supporters don “Libenu” hard-hats, grab shovels, and participate in groundbreaking. Undoubtedly the most touching moment of the ceremony was when the Libenu residents and their friends came up to participate. Baruch Schur, Vice President of the Libenu Foundation and parent of resident Josh, commented, “The involvement of the Libenu residents, current and future, in the groundbreaking for their own home, is a symbol of hope for the future for all parents of children with special needs.”
Alderman Debra Silverstein, co-founder of the Libenu foundation, spoke about the organization’s remarkable achievements over the past two and one half years. Silverstein spoke about Libenu’s plans for the future, which include a home for women that will be a first in the Chicago Jewish community. Dr. Shana Erenberg, co-founder and President of Libenu, discussed the
ongoing needs and Libenu’s growing waiting list. Erenberg stated, “Thank G-d, Libenu has been able to accomplish a great deal in a relatively short period of time, but there is still much to be done. Together, as a community, we can enable Jewish adults with special needs to live independently, with dignity and respect.”
For more information about the Libenu Foundation and to find out how you can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.982.0340 ext. 227.