A groundbreaking was celebrated Wednesday for the new Merrin Chabad Center opening near Stony Brook, New York.
The center will serve the needs of the Chabad at Stony Brook congregation, which includes more than 400 families based in and around Stony Brook.
The community, one of the fastest growing Jewish congregations on Long Island, includes many members of the academic and medical staff at the Stony Brook University and Stony Brook University Hospital, as well as about 50 undergraduate and graduate students. The membership in the community is free; members only pay for specific programs in which they participate.
Director and Spiritual Leader of Merrin Chabad Center Rabbi Chaim Grossbaum, New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Stalco Construction Principal Kevin G. Harney and Project Manager John Furey, and Levin/Brown Principal Architect Mark D. Levin led the ceremonies.
“Today’s event fills our hearts with joy and optimism. We look forward to growing the Jewish presence on Long Island and educating many new generations on Jewish religion, culture, history, and values,” said Rabbi Grossbaum. “The long path to today’s celebration began with a fundraising campaign that started in 2001 with a $1-million donation from a congregation member. Our fundraising efforts will continue as the construction progresses,” he added.
The Chabad at Stony Brook congregation is currently using a rented worship and community space in Lake Grove, New York. The community leaders have been planning the construction of its own center for 25 years to accommodate a growing congregation with expanding programs and religious activities.