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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Friendship Circle welcomes new director

The Friendship Circle of the Conejo Valley has announced the appointment of Rabbi Eli Laber of Chicago, Ill., as its new full-time director. Laber's wife, Rochel (nee Bryski), will assist in program development for the children and teenage volunteers.
Laber and his wife have served as teachers and directors of major school and summer programs in California, Texas and New York. The couple is expected to move to the area in mid-August.
The Friendship Circle, founded in 2002, is a program that pairs children that have special needs with teenagers for social and recreational activities under the guidance of qualified counselors and staff members. Nearly 200 children are visited by teenage volunteers and participate in special activities on a weekly basis.
"The need for the Friendship Circle to engage a strong, capable, dynamic, fulltime, longterm leader and director to bring the program to a new level has been apparent for quite some time" said Rabbi Yisroel Levine of the Friendship Circle. "Given their respective and complementary talents, Eli and Rochel seem to offer just the right people for the right job at the right time."
In addition to strengthening the Friendship Circle's existing programs, Laber will focus on drawing in more teenage volunteers, introducing new programs for the children and their families, broadening fundraising efforts and creating a stronger program infrastructure.
As a member of the rabbinical staff of Chabad of the Conejo, he will also offer spiritual guidance to the families and teens involved with the program and introduce new programming, including Shabbat services and bar/bat mitzvah preparations for program families.

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