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Shavuot – Embracing Inclusion
by Dr. Shana Erenberg, CEO


Megillat Ruth, which we read on Shavuot, is a remarkable story that exemplifies the power of inclusion and the transformative nature of embracing others, regardless of their differences. In this beautiful narrative, we find profound lessons about the value of diversity and the potential for greatness that lies within every individual.

The Megillah begins with Naomi and her family, who leave Bethlehem due to a severe famine and settle in Moab. Tragically, Naomi’s husband and sons pass away, leaving her widowed and with two Moabite daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Naomi, faced with the prospect of returning to Bethlehem alone and destitute, encourages her daughters-in-law to return to their families. Orpah eventually decides to go back, but Ruth, with incredible determination, insists on remaining by Naomi’s side. Ruth declares, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your G-d my G-d” (Ruth 1:16). Despite being a foreigner and facing poverty, exclusion, and discrimination, Ruth embraces the Jewish community as her own. Her determination to remain by Naomi’s side, to support her and be supported in return, exemplifies the importance of building inclusive relationships and embracing one another with compassion and empathy.

Boaz, the noble and righteous man whom Ruth encounters in Bethlehem while gathering grain in his fields, also embodies the spirit of inclusion. Boaz not only welcomes Ruth into his fields but goes above and beyond the requirements of the law to ensure her safety and well-being. Boaz looks beyond Ruth’s differences to see her strengths, integrity, and dedication. He redeems and marries her, leading eventually to the birth of King David. Boaz’s actions demonstrate that true inclusion means seeing beyond societal labels and recognizing the inherent worth and potential in each person.

When we examine the story of Ruth through the lens of inclusion and disabilities, we witness a narrative that inspires us to build a society where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can thrive and fulfill their potential. It teaches us that our responsibility as a community is to create an environment that fosters belonging and ensures that no one feels marginalized or excluded. Just as Ruth found a home and a purpose within the Jewish community, may we strive to be a community that embraces and uplifts individuals with disabilities, cherishing them for who they are, and celebrating their unique abilities and contributions to our world.

Wishing You a Joyous Shavuot!

What’s New at Lev Respite

Lev Respite at Wagner Farm

Lev Respite

With summer approaching, the children, staff, and volunteers of Lev Respite took advantage of the warm weather to visit Wagner Farm. They were excited to pet and feed the animals, and enjoyed playing outside at the park! Our teens and young adults had a blast on the zip line, swings, and equipment at Hamlin Park. They also made beautiful paper flowers for Shavuot and decorated the classrooms with their creations.

Lev Lilah

This past week we were delighted to have a group of children for a Lev Lilah overnight Shabbaton. The children enjoyed delicious food, sang Shabbat songs, went to shul, and had a great time. On Shabbat afternoon they went to the park with our wonderful staff and community volunteers.

Mazel Tov

We are also celebrating a number of happy occasions at Lev. Mazel tov to Baila Kost on her upcoming wedding. We wish you hatzlacha raba on your move to Israel and hope that you will come back to Lev in the future. We also want to wish mazel tov to Chevy Levovitz on her wedding and to Shana Friedman on her engagement! May we celebrate many more happy s’machot together.

Setting the table for Shabbat at Lev Lilah


Shavuot Flower Project!


Save the Date for the Event of the Summer!

The Annual Berkowitz Family Libenu Golf Outing

Monday August 28th, 2023


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