The landscape of the east side has changed from an empty parking area to a building site, and the noise of construction has accompanied daily life at the center for the past month. We officially marked the beginning of the construction of the new Puppy Training and Development Center on Thursday, December 22nd with a festive and moving cornerstone laying ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by over 80 staff members, graduates, volunteers, supporters, and officials. Noach opened the ceremony by noting the significance of the date, which is adjacent to the first night of Chanukah when he first met Norman Leventhal, co-founder of the center in 1986, thirty years ago. The main speaker at the ceremony was Shmuel Weinglass, Director of the National Insurance Institute Fund for the Development of Services for Persons with Disabilities that pledged financial support for the construction of the new campus. Michael Leventhal, Executive Director of the Friends Organization in the U.S. spoke on behalf of our Friends organizations abroad, and Haim Shwartz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IGDCB spoke on behalf of the Board and Guide Dog users. Among the many VIP's that attended were: Martin Segal, Executive Director of the UK Friends, Guy Simchi, Director of Disability Services for the Histadrut Labor Union, Michael Segal, Chairman of Eliya, Amos Beer, Director of the Central Library for the Blind, and Gila Zaidel from Ofek Liyladen. After the speeches and a short musical interlude guests lined up to sign the two scrolls – one of which was buried in the concrete foundations of the new building and the other which will be hung in the building upon its completion.
It was a happy, emotional, and exciting day for everyone, and we are now looking forward to the day approximately a year from now when we cut the ribbon and dedicate the new campus!