Dr. Harry Maisel of West Bloomfield is making an impactful gift for those in need for the Lighthouse Dancing with the Detroit Stars event.

Featured photo courtesy SOS

The men, women, children and families who walk through the doors of South Oakland Shelter (SOS) in Lathrup Village are often facing dark times. The emergency shelter program, which merged with Pontiac-based Lighthouse earlier this year, provides housing and support services to those who are homeless — in part, through a network of local congregations that host the shelter each week.

Just inside the entrance to SOS, there is a bright image — a donor wall in the shape of the sun, in memory of Dr. Harry Maisel’s late wife, Rachel, and late son, Hillel. Maisel of West Bloomfield is the former chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Wayne State University and was a faculty member there for more than 50 years.

“Dr. Maisel reached out looking to make an impactful gift to support our work and memorialize his wife and son. Rachel Maisel was a longstanding volunteer at Adat Shalom supporting our SOS rotating emergency shelter program. Hillel was also involved in community work,” said Ryan Hertz, CEO of Lighthouse.

“We decided to place the donor wall inside SOS so their memories would inspire others.”

Now, Maisel is increasing his support and encouraging others to do the same. He will match up to $25,000 in donations at Lighthouse’s Dancing With the Detroit Stars event Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

“Through my Jewish upbringing, rabbis have taught that feeding the hungry and sheltering people in need is an essential part of Jewish life,” Maisel said. “My wife would have wanted me to continue to help and I have the means to do it, so why not?”

Rachel was born in England and was a child in the 1940s during the Nazi Blitz in London. She was evacuated to safe havens to escape the German bombing campaign. The kindness that strangers showed her as a child stayed with her and led to her desire to help others. She passed away in 2014.

“Every human being is born with a light,” said Adat Shalom rabbi and event participant Rachel Shere. “Each time people donate to Lighthouse or purchase a ray for the memorial wall, Rachel’s light endures.”

To contribute to Dr. Harry Maisel’s match, visit lighthousemi.org.

For tickets or info about Dancing With the Detroit Stars, visit https://my.lighthousemi.org/dancing.

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