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Libenu – Sharing Ahavat Chinam
by Dr. Shana Erenberg, CEO


Tisha B’Av is a day of remembrance and mourning, observed to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Beit Hamikdash (Temples) in Jerusalem. Both of these devastating events took place on the same date, centuries apart. The First Beit Hamikdash, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. One of the main reasons given for the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash is Sinat Chinam, baseless hatred and animosity towards one another within the community. This destructive behavior led to divisiveness that caused struggle and strife. The harmful consequences of baseless hatred and disunity continue to be significant our lives today.

We can combat Sinat Chinam with Ahavat Chinam – showing love and compassion without any ulterior motives or conditions. Perhaps the best examples of Ahavat Chinam can be found in our Libenu residents and participants in our Lev Respite programs. Despite facing significant disabilities, they display remarkable empathy, compassion, and understanding towards their peers and the community at large. Their love is unconditional, extending beyond any preconceived notions and demonstrating a genuine care and acceptance for everyone they encounter. In their daily lives, they embrace others for who they are, emphasizing the inherent worth and dignity of each individual.

We can learn Ahavat Chinam from them and for them. We can embrace and celebrate individual differences and value the unique strengths and contributions that each person has to offer. We can practice profound empathy and compassion towards others. We can provide support, kindness, and friendship. We can foster inclusion, belonging, and connections that empower us to build a more caring community.

Ahavat Chinam is powerful and transformational. It is capable of transcending boundaries and igniting positive change within individuals and communities. When we practice Ahavat Chinam, we experience a profound shift in our perspectives, choosing compassion over judgment and unity over division. This transformational love has the power to mend broken relationships, bridge cultural divides, and promote a more inclusive society where people are valued for their inherent worth and unique contributions. As Ahavat Chinam spreads through acts of kindness and selflessness, it ripples outward, touching hearts and inspiring others to make the world a better place.

On behalf of all of us at Libenu, we wish you a meaningful day and the blessings of Ahavat Chinam.

Shana Erenberg, Ph.D.  – Libenu CEO


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