Jewish 100: Levi & Bassie Shemtov – Innovation
Levi & Bassie Shemtov
Founders, Friendship Circle
This married couple started the innovative Friendship Circle in 1994, having been inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s unconditional love for every human being and his belief that none of us is complete unless all of us are included. When FC began, there was a simple goal: to pair teenagers with special needs children, the idea being that each had much to learn from the other. Eighteen years later, the Friendship Circle has become something of a phenomenon with 79 locations across North America and overseas in countries such as France, Israel and Australia, serving thousands of children and their families.