by Menachem Posner – Chabad.org
Located just across the tracks from the traditionally Jewish Montreal neighborhood of Côte des Neiges, the Town of Mount Royal seems light years away. It features single-family homes, tidy lawns and a quaint shopping district with a distinctly old-world flavor.
The town (known locally as TMR) is completely surrounded by the City of Montreal, and features suburban living with quick access to downtown and other amenities.
When Rabbi Moshe and Dina Krasnanski opened a small Chabad centerthere in 2003, they worked hard to create connections in the community. The rabbi would frequently stand outside, searching for a 10th Jewish man to complete the quorum for Shabbat services. In time, they added regular prayer services, holiday celebrations, an array of educational opportunities for children and adults, and more.
With the addition of a burgeoning Gan Israelday camp, popular communal events and a roster of even more classes, it was soon clear that extra space was needed. What began as a place with just enough room now had no room to spare. Chabad of the Town’s Beit Ezra Community Center was completed in 2008, and dedicated by Chella and the late Moise Safra of Brazil and New York.
But sure enough, even that 5,000-square-foot facility became too small.
So Chabad of the Town more than doubled, expanding into a 13,000-square-foot center that includes a synagogue with seating for 300, a social hall for 275, classrooms, a library, commercial kosher kitchens and a comfortable lounge. The newly expanded center was completed in late 2016.
The rabbi estimates that 20 percent of the town’s total population of nearly 20,000 is Jewish.
“Even as we grow larger—with as many as 150 people coming to classes here on a weekly basis—we remain an individual-based Chabad House,” notes the rabbi, “working with every single person, helping them advance in the way best suited for them.”