Some thoughts about the wording on this historical 1928 dedication plaque in the entrance lobby of “Sunnyview (which very much lives up to its name!) Rehabilitation Hospital” in Schenectady NY:

I’ve been visiting my father (Rabbi Israel Rubin) who has been in recovery there (may have a strong recovery!) an excellent place for rehab, and everyday on my way in and out, you pass this old historic plaque that is an ode to the building’s earlier use and its dedication in 1928. This isn’t just any old plaque, it says a great deal and there’s so much to learned and inspired by its wording.

First, a bit about the term  “Crippled Children”. There’s been much progress since such negative and limiting labels were common, the Rebbe was very insistent on choosing more positive and uplifting word choices.

Here are two links about Rebbe’s reframing of terms and using more positive word choices: See Rebbe’s rephrasing address to IDF veterans: and this online chapter of the excellent book about Rebbe’s “Positivity Bias”(written by Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson) on reframing words:

What I love most about this plaque is the expression: “MAY THEY BE RESTORED TO THEIR HERITAGE...” today the more commonly used word would be RIGHTS (extremely important in the legal sense) but loving this use of the word heritage, as heritage runs a lot deeper than rights, it stems & springs from within, not bestowed from above or granted by others. A heritage by definition is our own. And heritage belongs to us deeper than any purchased possession or property, it is our because of identity, because of who we are.

RESTORED implies, as Rebbe was so often wont to say about our inner core Jewish heritage, that regardless of externals & despite whatever may or may not be evident on the surface, we already have it (hidden) deep within. It’s not something we have to get or acquire, but instead to discover and reveal that which is within. For example, this story with Mr. Charles Lissner of Chicago about the written vs. engraved letters: >

See to whom this building is dedicated! Often it is in tribute to or in memory of, but this dedication is ERECTED IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY! Broadly inclusive, all-embracing! Reminds of the line of intent towards the beginning of our daily prayers: בשם כל ישראל!

And by whom? PERMANENT FIREMEN OF SCHENECTADY. Don’t know if permanent is still the term in use, but assume it refers to the full-timers. Do firemen (community-minded to be sure) or other workforces still devote themselves to such large-scale civic projects? Quite the testament!

Today, the building/facility is “Sunnyview” a highly regarded & recognized rehabilitation hospital. Name is certainly apt, for its nurses & therapists all have/exhibit a sunny, positive, cheerful & helpful disposition which warms patients & families, & greatly aids in recovery.