The children at ALEH’s residential facility in Jerusalem were treated to a soulful and stirring musical performance by the United Kingdom’s Shabbaton Choir, a special event planned to mark Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Led by Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld, senior Rabbi of the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, the 25-man choir put on a sensational show for the ALEH residents, staff and volunteers in the facility’s parking lot. Accompanied by their own keyboard player, the Shabbaton Choir mesmerized the crowd with new compositions and old favorites. The ALEH residents listened with rapt attention, enjoying the melodious vocals and soaring harmonies. Slowly but surely, the concert transformed into a musical celebration, as those in attendance began to dance and sing along. The joyful atmosphere attracted the attention of ALEH’s neighbors, Jerusalem residents and business owners, who hurried to ALEH to join the festivities.
“This was an incredibly moving experience for all of us, and one that our ALEH residents won’t soon forget,” said Rabbi Yehuda Marmostein, Director General of the ALEH Centers. “Their spirited song touched our souls and lifted our spirits. But more than anything, our ALEH residents will remember that a professional choir flew all the way from London just to perform for them. This was more than concert – it was a statement that they matter.”
After the concert, Shlomit Grayevsky, the director of ALEH Jerusalem, took the members of the Shabbaton Choir on a tour of the facility, pointing out the specially-designed living quarters, high-tech special education classrooms and top-of-the-line rehabilitation rooms, as well as all of the other tools used to provide the residents with a continuum of loving care from infancy and childhood through adulthood. Throughout the tour, Rabbi Rosenfeld and the other members of the choir noted how impressed they were with the attention given to each child by ALEH’s dedicated staff and volunteers as well as the pioneering rehabilitative and special education techniques developed by the organization to aid and care for Israel’s disability community.
“What you have given us today is so very special – it has rejuvenated our staff and the families of our children. With your beautiful music in their hearts, they will find new strength to tackle their daily struggles,” said Grayevsky, a longtime friend of the Rosenfeld family, when addressing the choir following the tour. “The sights and sounds of your amazing musical performance will stay with us for a long time. We can’t thank you enough for your warmth and for sharing your talents with us.”