A “game-changing” new special education school and children’s rehabilitation centre in Israel has been dedicated in honour of a late Jewish couple from London.
ALEH’s new Bet Chayil Centre in Bnei Brak was dedicated in honour of Salomon and Ruchi Noé, parents of philanthropist Leo Noé, in a ceremony involving former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks last week.
The state-of-the-art centre will support 350 children and young adults with special needs, with a variety of services such as early intervention programmes, pre-schools and individual therapies.
It will also feature a dental clinic, an ‘assistive devices’ workshop, an animal-assisted therapy centre, a rehabilitative sensory park and Olympic-sized hydrotherapy pool.
Joining Noé at the ceremony was his wife Susan and their extended family for festivities presided over by Sacks and ALEH director-general Rabbi Yehuda Marmostein, who inaugurated a specially-commissioned Sefer Torah.
“It is thrilling to see our dream become a reality,” said Marmorstein, after Sacks placed a mezuzah on the building.
“I remember sitting with Leo and Susan in their home 18 years ago, discussing how a special education school and rehabilitative centre of this size and scope could totally transform disability care in Israel,” said Marmorstein. “It is time to usher in a new era for Israel’s disability community.”
Sacks, a close family friend, said: “I was moved to tears as we all danced together with the Sefer Torah outside ALEH… All my encounters with ALEH have been redemptive. Everyone who enters finds themselves surrounded by angels. It is a place of pure chesed, true kindness and compassion.”
Noé found his success in real estate, and Sacks referenced this in his statement, saying: “As true builders, Leo and Susan have never forgotten where they come from, and part of that is remembering that they are not alone, that they have a responsibility to others.”
Noé said his parents were “very modest people who would have been overwhelmed by the fanfare of this beautiful event,” but who “focused on productivity and would want to see this building be productive in caring for our neediest children and providing employment to so many, the fulfilment of people’s potential at every level”.