Posted to Shlichus on

A Time To Build
The Rohr Chabad Jewish Community Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia

It’s a pattern that repeats itself in one community after another: the Chabad House that opened only a few years back soon outgrows the space of its lively storefront upstart, and the search for larger facilities begins. But a review of the construction projects included in this feature suggests an impulse more intriguing than the need for additional space. Judging by the aesthetics and multi-purpose functions of the new buildings—some that include everything from a sanctuary to a sports club, and many of them worthy of architectural reviews—it seems that inside each fabulous exterior of glass, steel and stone, there beats the pulse of a vibrant Jewish community.

The considerable support and resources—hundreds of millions—invested in a project that positions spiritual life at the center of the community, points to a renaissance of Jewish life in places as disparate as Ekaterinburg, Russia and Mason, Ohio. The notion that Judaism belongs in the sanctuary or in the book stacks, is being replaced with a contemporary reality centered around Torah and a wholesome integration of Judaism, relevant to life itself. From Santiago to Shanghai, Melbourne to Montreal, Chabad Shluchim and their community lay leaders are building some of the most dynamic models of Jewish communal life.

The Mikvah at Chabad of Larnaca, Cyprus
The Schneerson Center for Jewish Life – Chabad of the Upper East Side, New York, NY
The Synagogue at the new Rohr Chabad Center in Berlin, Germany
The Synagogue at the new Rohr Chabad Center in Berlin, Germany
The Panikoff Center of Love and Kindness in Running Springs, California
The Panikoff Center of Love and Kindness in Running Springs, California
New staff housing facility at Camp Emunah in the Catskills, New York
Aleph Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chabad at Florida International University Student Center
Chabad House of Randolph, New Jersey
Chabad House of Cleveland, Ohio
Centre Socio Educatif Loubavitch in Marseilles, France
Chabad of Fort Lee, New Jersey
Chabad of Blue Ash, Ohio
The future Chabad Center for Jewish Life, Downtown Chicago
The Sanctuary in the Chabad Center of Boynton Beach, Florida
The Chabad Yeshiva of Safed, Israel
New Chabad Synagogue in Detroit, Michigan



  • 2. Palaces of Yiddishkeit wrote:

    The buildings are certainly beautiful – worthy “keilim” for the Yiddishkeit, and the “maor sheba-Torah, zu hi Toras haChassidus,” disseminated there. But I wonder, based on a Yerushalmi (Shekalim 5:4):

    “R’ Chama bar Chaninah and R’ Hoshaya Rabbah were walking among the shuls of Lod. Said R’ Chama bar Chaninah to R’ Hoshaya: ‘[Look] how much money my ancestors invested here!’ [R’ Hoshaya] replied: ‘How many souls did your ancestors invest here! – Weren’t there people who were studying Torah [and who could have been supported with those funds]?

    ”R’ Avun made gates for the great Beis HaMedrash. When R’ Mana came, [R’ Avun] said, ‘Look at what I’ve done!’ [R’ Mana] replied [quoting a posuk, Hoshea 8:14]: ‘“Yisroel has forgotten its Maker, and built palaces.” – Weren’t there people who were studying Torah?’“

    – how indeed funds should be allocated for buildings vs. for other needs, both of the local community and of the wider Jewish world? (Indeed, Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 249:16 states that ”some say” that tzedakah for children to study Torah, or for sick poor people, takes precedence over the mitzvah of building a shul.)

    Do we know of any directive from the Rebbe on this one way or the other?

  • 3. shluchim supporter spiritualy wrote:

    stop talking so negative its really discusting for people to think that way dont mix 2 diff. things.
    they are both good so don”t take away from one and say that we should think about money for children to study torah for sick people.
    thats a diff. story you have a point over there that we need money for those things but there should be someone elso working on that.
    i strongly beleive that if the if the people running those mosdos would run it in a normal fashion as directed by the rebbe ect. then maybe the lubavitchers that have the funds to give will either start giving or increase they’r current support.
    and to all the shluchim i really encourage you to continue your great work of the rebbe and as well to build the nicest chabad houses(a little competition).
    good luck

  • 4. Palaces of Yiddishkeit wrote:

    “shluchim supporter,” can you pinpoint just what is “negative” or “discusting” (!) about what I wrote? All I’m asking is whether it’s appropriate to spend, say, $2,000,000 on a building, when a $1,000,000 building would serve just as well, thus freeing up funds for other worthy purposes.

    Now, granted, one could argue the opposite: the beauty of the building (and publicity about it) may draw in Jews who otherwise wouldn’t have had any connection to Yiddishkeit, and good results can come from that. That would be a reasonable argument, but I haven’t seen anyone making it. I would certainly think, though, that building more beautiful buildings simply for the sake of “one-upmanship” (or as you put it, “a little competition”) is inappropriate, especially since all Shluchim answer to the same Meshaleiach, and so – far from competing with each other – they should be supporting one another.


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