A Proven Recipe for Inclusive Employment
Season 2 Episode 2
August 4, 2021
Podcast: A Proven Recipe for Inclusive Employment
Rabbi Levi Shemtov is the Executive Director of The Friendship Circle. Rabbi Shemtov and his wife Bassie are the founders of The Friendship Circle. The Friendship Circle of Michigan is a non-profit organization affiliated with Lubavitch of Michigan, and its goal is to provide every individual with special needs the support friendship and inclusion that they deserve. The Friendship Circle provides assistance and support toover 3,000 individuals with special needs and their families by providing much needed recreational, social, educational and vocational programming both in person and online. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle enriches its vast network of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving. In this episode, Andy Jacob, CEO of DotCom Magazine, and a supporter of the Friendship Circle, interviews Rabbi Shemtov regarding entrepreneurship for non-profits, and how the Friendship Circle was able to make a remarkable pivot into amazing online programming during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Friendship Circle offers virtual programming with other Friendship Circles participating, which has expanded their footprint, and has allowed the Friendship Circle to continue its mission of providing pure love and friendship for individuals with special needs. For more information about the friendship circle, https://www.friendshipcircle.org/ For more information about virtual programming check out FC Goes Virtual
Bassie and Rabbi Levi Shemtov are the founders and co-directors of Friendship Circle in West Bloomfield. The nonprofit organization they started in 1994 provides assistance and life-changing support to 3,000 individuals with special needs and their families through recreational, social, educational and vocational programming.
The couple dedicated their lives to making the world a better place after growing up under the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Their family history with the Rebbe goes back even further.
In 1958, Rabbi Schneerson himself dispatched Bassie’s parents, Rabbi Berel and Batsheva Shemtov, to Michigan as his first U.S. emissaries with the mission to spread Judaism to every corner of the world. Today, Chabad centers can be found in thousands of locations worldwide.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov Biography
Rabbi Levi Shemtov is the founder and spiritual leader of TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital. TheSHUL offers a unique place for Jewish life, regardless of formal affiliation, children’s programs, Torah study programs and celebrations of Shabbat and Jewish holidays. He has been dubbed “the rabbi of Capitol Hill”.
Rabbi Shemtov is also the Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) and serves the daily governmental and diplomatic needs of the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement, the world’s largest and fastest growing Jewish network of educational and social service institutions, with over 3,500 centers in 49 states and over 80 countries. He maintains close relationships with numerous members of the United States Congress, senior Administration officials and leaders in the international community, including a number of heads of state and government. Rabbi Shemtov chairs the organizing committee of the International Chabad-Lubavitch Conference – Living Legacy, which facilitates high-level interaction between rabbis and communal leadership from around the globe and prominent US and international figures in the arenas of government, diplomacy, academia and the arts.
Programs he organizes include several signature events such as the annual lighting ceremony of the National Chanukah Menorah drawing thousands to The Ellipse (across from the White House) every year, and seen by millions more via various media and the internet. In addition, he founded and directs the Capitol Jewish Forum, which is the largest (apolitical) Jewish group on Capitol Hill, designed to “create and enhance a sense of identity and community among Jewish Congressional staffers and members of Congress” and which enjoys strong support of the Leadership and members of both parties in the US Senate and House of Representatives. Rabbi Shemtov is often at the White House, Pentagon, United States Department of State and other venues in official Washington, seen by many as an effective, bipartisan unifier and premier Jewish resource. He has overseen the koshering of the White House for the celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month and Chanukah in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
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