Nov 12, 2012
Forward Names Bassie Shemtov
Bassie Shemtov, co-founder of the Friendship Circle organization

The Jewish Daily Forward has included Friendship Circle founder Bassie Shemtov as the first Lubavitch woman in their annual list of top 50 influential Jewish individuals.

The Jewish Daily Forward has included Shlucha Bassie Shemtov of Detroit, Michigan in their annual list of influential Jewish individuals.

Shemtov was chosen in the "Community" section of the list of "The New Faces of Jewish Power," 50 individuals who have had a "most significant impact on the news in the past year."

Shemtov was chosen for her work with special needs children, as the co-founder of the flagship Friendship Circle organization, which has been replicated around the world.

Shemtov is the first Lubavitch woman to be named in the Forward's annual list, past lists have included Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky and Rabbi Shlomo Cunin.

The Forward 50

Bassie Shemtov

When Bassie Shemtov co-founded the Friendship Circle with her husband, Levi, in 1994, her aim was simple: to pair teenagers and special needs children, the idea being that each had much to learn from the other. Eighteen years later, Shemtov, now 40, has given rise to an international phenomenon, with 79 Friendship Circles across North America and overseas in countries such as France, Israel and Australia.

Not only has the Friendship Circle philosophy proved wildly successful, but the state-of-the-art center that Shemtov pioneered is also being replicated. The $5 million Friendship Circle flagship, in West Bloomfield, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, boasts impressive facilities, including a gym, an art space and a multisensory room with soothing fiberoptic lights and bubble tubes.

The real attraction, though, is Weinberg Village, a 5,000-square-foot working replica of a town center, complete with pavement, pedestrian crossings and a range of stores — including a bank, a movie theater, a hair salon and a library. It is here — and in replica villages in New Jersey and Ohio — that special needs children learn to navigate real-life scenarios, such as crossing the road and paying for goods and services. Schools for special needs children travel to West Bloomfield from across the Detroit metropolitan area to take advantage of such rare facilities. And, when the village is not used by children, the Shemtovs open it up to adults recovering from brain trauma to help them practice real-world skills too.

Read more here.

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Opinions and Comments
wow, kol hakavod!
very well deserved honor!
(11/12/2012 12:08:20 PM)
Kiddush Lubavitch
Go Bassie! Impressive recognition from such a Liberal paper! Proud of you. Broch
(11/12/2012 1:57:44 PM)
Zolin Aleh Soinem Platzen....
you know who you are...
(11/12/2012 2:22:25 PM)
well deserved, my friend!
and what makes you especially special is that you are right there in the ball pit, saddle, water slide, skating aint hiding behind a desk on the 28th floor of a building downtown! go from strength to strength. you are awesome! CP
(11/12/2012 3:02:05 PM)
You deserve it!! kol hakovod...such a Kiddush Hashem and Kiddush Lubavitch
(11/12/2012 4:33:42 PM)
You go,girl!
I agree with CP....You're right there with the people...Slurpees and all!Wishing you only blessings and prosperity.You rock!CK
(11/12/2012 4:58:52 PM)
go bassie!
(11/12/2012 7:17:36 PM)
just remember
Just remember, a Yid and a chossid don't (or, at least, shouldn't) need the approval of the outside world to be proud of our identity. They--the not-yet-frum community--need to recognize that chassidim are their true leaders, so they'll be proud of their true identity--our timeless Torah, which is what chassidim have devoted their lives to spread, with the help of Hashem.
(11/12/2012 7:19:22 PM)
Bassie is incredible! and deserves every single ounce of recognition for the help that she devotes and the lives she's changed/touched! Bassie, you are a true inspiration!
(11/12/2012 9:05:22 PM)
To #8 Just remember
The reason bassie was recognized is precisely because she leads that kind of life, she exemplifies a life seeking recognition and grandor from the higher ups of the social laddr and the kudos of govement money and recognition..GO BASSIE!!
(11/12/2012 9:59:44 PM)
To # 10
Your comment is laughable to ANYONE who knows Bassie.

I guarantee you that Bassie doesn't recognize one other name on the list and didn't know that the forward existed.

Bassie is only concerned with her shlichus and may have gone along with someone's idea of pursuing an honor only because it may help her shlichus.

I don't know if your comment is generated by jealousy or hate but I can tell you that Bassie is never jealous and never hates
(11/12/2012 10:54:29 PM)
Get loving or get busy
Commentator number ten-Lubavitch is the city of brotherly love Please respect our background and keep your negative comments to yourself.Healthy people don't bash others.Go do a mitzvah and get busy and be proactive.
(11/12/2012 11:11:55 PM)
To 11
I agree with your comment but I know for a fact that this honor was not pursued at all.
(11/13/2012 6:26:19 AM)
Wow! What a great honor - well deserved.
The Friendship Circle is a great to new program that now benefits so many people around the wrold. Bassie is always helpful to any FC who needs advice or help.

To number 10, please see number 3
(11/13/2012 6:55:31 AM)
think again, 10
commenter 10-- you spelled 'grandor' and 'laddr' incorrectly. please get both your spelling and your current events facts straight before you launch missiles. G-d bless.
(11/13/2012 1:39:50 PM)
goooooooo mushkyyyy
best counsler evaaaaa
ur bestest camper
(11/13/2012 3:17:29 PM)
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