Jewish Resurgence in Sleepy Kingston Pennsylvania

In a small quiet area of Northeastern Pennsylvania in the Wyoming Valley of the Pocono Mountains lies the once thriving Jewish community of Kingston. Dozens of Orthodox shuls, schools, and community centers are all a distant memory in the hearts and minds of the Observant Jews who have remained. Recently this all began to change with the arrival of young Lubavitch families who brought with them a new vitality and chayus. This quiet town was quickly transformed to a center of Torah and Yiras Shomayim.

At the beginning of the community growth spurt, approximately 4 years ago, a shul building was purchased and renovated to accommodate the growing community. With the addition of the Bais Tzvi Yosef (Kotlarsky) shul, more young families moved to town, all seeking a tranquil and chassidishe environment in which to raise their families. Due to this growth, the 5778 school year would begin with the community Cheder bursting at its seams. A new building was vital.

In the summer of 5777, a two and a half acre lot with a 17,000 square foot building was purchased. The building contained a large commercial kitchen, and three catering halls to accommodate 500 people. Some of this dining space was converted to 5 classrooms. An additional 5000 square foot building was added which contains nine more classrooms.

These facilities originally used as a catering hall and community center has been transformed to a state of the art home for Cheder Menachem.

The Moshe and Devorah Hershkop campus is almost complete. In just a few weeks time the children will move in to their bright new facility, and the schools goal is to create an environment where students have no worries other than their learning and Yiras Shomayim.

“We currently have 150 students but the new buildings are built to accommodate up to 300 in its 15 classrooms,” said Mendel Hershkop. “The older boys still learn in the Shul, and we currently have just over 50 families in our [budding] community.”

On Yud Tes Kislev an inaugural farbrengen was held at the new building where the community gathered for a beautifully catered seudah. The guest speakers were Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky and Rabbi Shmuel Heber.

Rabbi Bogomilsky opened the event by talking about the amazing growth he’s seen in the community over the past few years, and expressed his hope that the community continues to grow and turn the spiritual dessert of North East Pennsylvania into a metropolis of Torah and Chassidus.

“That is the mission statement of the community” says Mendy P. a local businessman and community activist. “We are B”H fulfilling the Rebbe’s wish for Crown Heights here in middle of PA. We have affordable housing, affordable chassidishe chinuch, a true chassidishe atmosphere, a kosher pizza shop – all only two and a half hours from crown heights and the Ohel. What more can we ask for?!”

The momentum of the community has been increasing from day to day. With many events and shiurim on the roster, there are daily opportunities for spiritual growth. A Chanukas Habayis for the new building is planned for after Pesach iyh.

You can contribute and assist in this endeavor by donating to the Bais Tzvi Yosef – Cheder Building Fund, by clicking here.

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20 Comments

  • 1. chaim wrote:

    “We are B”H fulfilling the Rebbes wish for a Crown Heights in middle of PA” As far as I remember the Rebbe want us to stay in Crown Heights, unless we go on Shlichus.

    Reply
    • 2. Z. wrote:

      The rebbe also didn’t want Jewish frum landlords to be greedy and make CH impossible to afford thus forcing young families out.
      I myself took my family and moved to kingston a year ago and never looked back, was B”H the best decision we ever made. And encourage other young families to follow. How about you come down for a shabbos and experience this beautiful community and Chassidshe atmosphere? Trust me your attitude will change.

  • 4. To chaim wrote:

    U sure? The Rebbe also wanted ppl to buy a house and the most importantly. Serve Hashem with Simcha. I was in kingston. Best pizza and donuts. Go from strength to strength.

    Reply
  • 6. www wrote:

    #3, thankyou.
    and also #4, well said.
    lets all be normal and fair and lets focus on what the Rebbe wants for us all.

    Reply
  • 7. Anonymous wrote:

    Can Somone post info on how one can go about checking out the place
    Somewhere to stay for a shaboss
    And info on housing and jobs etc who to talk to???
    Would love to check this place out and know many others that would
    Sounds really awesome

    Reply
  • 8. Kingston dweller wrote:

    Once we moved there I keep saying we should have moved sooner. If you need the city noise this may not be for you, but it’s no farming area either. A nice, quiet, safe and affordable city.

    Reply
  • 9. yankel wrote:

    “We are B”H fulfilling the Rebbes wish for a Crown Heights in middle of PA”. When did the Rebbe say that? How do you know that is the Rebbes wish?

    Reply
    • 10. David wrote:

      Read it with the grammer. We are fulfilling the Rebbe’s wish for crown heights, coma. in Pennsylvania.

  • 11. Rochie wrote:

    To Yankel
    The Rebbe did say not to leave crown heights and כאן ציווה השם את הברכה. It was when the other yidden ran away from crown heights. However, right now bh crown heights is expanding into east Flatbush and north of crown heights. The community grew and it became a case where young families have no place where to live. But the reason for it is. Unaffordable housing. The frum developers some from crown heights and some out of the neighborhood created for personal gain. So this families have no choice but go somewhere else and build new communities. They are building beautiful chasidishe communities. I have seen several of them, including Kingston. I am sure the Rebbe looks on and is proud of them.

    Reply
  • 13. Anonymous wrote:

    Just hope the floods stay away from the area! I am from NE Pennsylvania and I remember growing up there were some very bad floods.

    Reply
  • 14. Amy P. Jacobson wrote:

    I am curious as to what jobs are in demand in that area and if local businesses are accommodating to Shomer Shabbos workers’ needs. What type of jobs are the Lubavitchers engaged in?

    Reply
  • 15. To Anonymous wrote:

    We have a levee system in place that holds 42 feet of water! Bh we are well protected here!

    Reply
  • 16. Anonymous wrote:

    To #15 I’m glad to hear that. I moved from the area about 40 years ago. I remember houses floating down the river.

    Reply
  • 17. to # 15 wrote:

    Even with the new levee system, last year the water was 6″ from the top, the city had a mandatory evacuation order foe everyone.

    Reply
  • 19. To #17 wrote:

    That was 2011. That was the first time the levee system has been tested it’s 40 years. The flood from Agnes is a once-in-a-lifetime flood. The likelihood of that of it happening again is very slim

    Reply
  • 20. Old timer wrote:

    Had to chuckle reading this. Been living here long before 4 years ago with many other Lubavitchers in peace and harmony, with a growing cheder, yeshivah, minyanim, gan yisroel, mikvah before the new wave of people with their own agenda…thinking they invented something new.

    Reply

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