The sensory-friendly Sukkot celebration enabled Friendship Circle participants and members of the larger community to come together for the Sukkot event.
Silverstein Kramer relates that she helped start the Chicago Friendship Circle, then called Friendship Circle, as soon as she returned to Milwaukee eight years ago, and “we haven’t stopped since.” She is impressed at how well the Steins listen to parental concerns and input. She is especially pleased that the adult division is “quite active.”
And she loved this year’s sensory-friendly sukkah event. “It was so different from anything we’ve had before. It was amazing, fun, joyous, all-inclusive—with older and younger participants and caregivers and parents.” She described a disco ball hung at eye level, the many different colors and the headphones. “It makes a lot of sense. Some people can’t handle a lot of noise, big crowds and strangers. It was a fantastic idea. I am all for doing it again!”
The Steins were pleased as well. “It was incredible to see people with all abilities coming together and feeling like they had a place … Everybody felt included and had a great time.” Given the number of special days on the Jewish calendar, the Steins and the headphone company are likely to find ways to continue their wonderful partnership.
Sukkah guests could enjoy the party from outside on the street or inside the Lubavitch House.
“When I called the headphone company, they said they never thought of the special-education aspect. I think it is a game-changer for them; they may have found a new market.” Stein rented 40 sets of headphones that light up in a range of colors.