By Anash.org reporter
A crowd of close to 3,000 came out to celebrate the grand opening of LifeTown of Livingston’s new facilities. The 53,000 sq. ft. center is a project of the Friendship Circle of New Jersey, under the direction of shluchim Rabbi Zalman and Toba Grossbaum.
The new campus, located on the newly named “Miracle Way”, includes a shul, an aquatic center, a gym, various activity rooms and of course, the magnificent LifeTown Shoppes. During the designing process, special attention was paid to the unique sensitivities of children and adults with autism and various disabilities. Experts in the field were consulted on every decision, from the temperature in the zero-entry pool to the colors of the walls.
The centerpiece of this institution is LifeTown Shoppes, which mimics a downtown complete with streets and transportation, stores, and even a bank. Participants learn skills such as following traffic signs and signals, budgeting, and how to perform tasks at a real life job.
The purpose of LifeTown and the Friendship Cirlce of New Jersey is to give individuals with special needs the skills they need to integrate into society, while providing them with a loving network of friends and supportive volunteers.
In addition, the Grossbaums aim to follow the Rebbe’s directive to give those with special needs the same opportunities to experience Yiddishkeit as any other person has.
At the grand opening on Monday, September 9, singer Yaakov Shwekey performed some of his most popular tunes, including a moving rendition of his song, “I Can Be”. The concert was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony after which attendees were invited to tour the beautiful new campus.