by Matt Cosentino – NJ.com
Persistent, driven and tenacious were just a few of the words used to describe Rabbi Avi Richler on Sunday afternoon.
Those qualities helped Richler and the area’s Jewish community come together in celebration of a major milestone years in the making.
The official groundbreaking for the Chabad of Gloucester County Center for Jewish Life was held in Harrison Township in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. The vision of Richler and his wife, Mina, since they arrived in South Jersey in 2007, the center aims to give local Jews a gathering place for not just worship but education, socialization and much more.
“Ever since we moved here, this has been a labor of love, and this is just one step,” Richler said. “There are more steps ahead. But this is our home. We’ve been wandering as a community from place to place, never having enough space. We finally have a place to set down our roots.
“We got this property four years ago and it’s been a long journey to get to this point. We look forward to what the future brings.”
The community center, expected to be completed in 18 months, will be 11,500 square feet on 10 acres and include a synagogue, Chabad Hebrew School, youth programs, adult education, senior programs and space for major events like bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings. All of the costs were raised by the organization.
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