Lobbying for Love
Steven, Valerie & Eliot Stein with Chacham Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron
Steven and Valerie Stein first visited Aleh Jerusalem in 2009 with Rabbi Naftali Besser of Yeshiva of Flatbush. Deeply impressed by the care and dedication of the staff on behalf of these most vulnerable children, they have returned to visit Aleh every year since. During last year’s visit, Steven inquired about the renovations project that was just beginning in the facility. Dov Hirth of Aleh explained that in addition to the new high-dependency wing, Aleh was also renovating its main floor and residential units to create a more home-like, independent style living.
At that point Steven told Dov that he would like to take part in this project by sponsoring the entrance lobby’s renovations. The lobby serves as the connection between one section of the main floor to the next as well as a waiting area for the elevators which take the wheelchair-bound children to the various floors of the facility. At the time, the lobby was crowded and uncomfortable. Following the renovations, the lobby has become bigger, brighter and airy.
Steven and Valerie took the opportunity to hold their Entrance Lobby Dedication Ceremony this past week, in the presence of their entire family who were in Israel to celebrate their son Eliot’s Bar Mitzvah. The family was greeted by Aleh staff and residents and ushered into the Stein Family Lobby. The ceremony was graced by Chacham Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites and Aleh Board member.
Director of Aleh Jerusalem Shlomit Grayevsky and Rabbi Rabinowitz both spoke about the importance of impacting upon one’s children and stressed that the greatest impact Steven and Valerie could possibly make on their children is by showing them how to help those who can’t help themselves. Rabbi Rabinowitz stressed his appreciation of the Stein family’s modesty, giving their charity in a quiet and dignified manner without fanfare.
Eliot’s inspiring speech echoed the values that his parents had instilled in the entire family. He demonstrated caring, compassion and the ability to look beyond the disability to the child within. All assembled were impressed with his explanation that when he played and laughed together with special needs children, he gained more from the experience than they did! (to read Eliot’s full speech click here)
After enjoying a special brunch reception the family took a grand tour of the expanded Aleh Facility, and then spent over an hour volunteering in various classrooms. The staff was inspired by the warmth, care and devotion each member of the Stein family gave to the children.
The Stein family left Aleh with the wonderful feeling of knowing that their contribution to Aleh will help hundreds of children every day of their lives.
On behalf of the staff, parents and most of all the children of Aleh Jerusalem, we thank Steven, Valerie and family for their dedication and love.