Remembering Michoeli Grinblatt, z’l,
Who Brought Joy and Love Into Our Lives
This Shabbat marks the first yahrzeit for our beloved Michoeli Grinblatt, z’l, Michoel Shalom Chaim ben Dovid v’ Bryna Eta. Michoeli was a precious gift to all of us at Libenu and it was our honor and great privilege to care for him for ten years. Not a day goes by that we do not think of Michoeli and remember his pure soul and his radiant smile.
Michoeli lived a life that was a testament to the power of hope, faith, and love, fully embraced by his dedicated parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended family. Michoeli’s unique gift was that he greeted everyone with a “sever panim yafot”, a cheerful face and a loving personality. His smile filled any room with sunshine as he engaged those around him – housemates, staff, volunteers, visitors, and community members. His exuberance showed in his entire being and let us know he was happy to see us – and we, in turn, were always delighted to see him.
Michoeli was also deeply spiritual and connected to Judaism. He enjoyed celebrating Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, especially Sukkot as he loved to be outside. He embraced the opportunity to put on tefillin each day with community volunteers – jumping to get his tefillin bag when they came in – exemplifying the the precept of “hevei ratz l’mitzvah” – running to do a mitzvah. In his memory, Libenu partnered with the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign for the Michoeli Grinblatt z’l Tefillin Project, where community volunteers come to the Libenu homes daily to help our men put on tefillin and recite the bracha.
This past week, Libenu clients learned Torah with Rabbi Joe Ozarowski from the JCFS Chaplains and volunteered at the Ark in Michoeli’s memory, giving back to the community that has embraced them. His friends shared warm memories of Michoeli and talked about how much he meant to them and how much he is missed. As one of his housemates stated, “Michoeli was always so happy and sweet. I really miss my friend.”
Michoeli had a profound impact on those around him, creating a bond of love that will not be forgotten. He brought out the best in everyone who knew him. Michoeli inspired us to look beyond his disability and to value the unique strengths that were his true essence. His smiling face and pure neshama will forever accompany us in our work to ensure that people with developmental disabilities have opportunities to live rich, meaningful lives.
May Michoeli’s neshama (soul) be bound up in the chain of life, and may his memory always be for a blessing and an inspiration.
(Photo: Michoeli z’l with his Libenu friends and housemates.)
(Photo: Libenu clients volunteer at The Ark in memory of Michoeli, z’l.)
(Photo: The Michoeli Grinblatt z’l Tefillin Project with CMC.)