By Clarissa Grunwald ’17
The Lancaster Chabad, a Jewish organization that works with students on campus, is in the process of finishing construction on its new Jewish Student Cultural Center. Chabad hosted an inaugural Shabbat dinner at the center on Friday to celebrate the end of construction and the center’s opening at 1024 Harrisburg Ave, just off campus.
The dinner on Friday was open to students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni. Dan Porterfield, president of the College, attended the dinner, which consisted of Israeli food.
After nearly three years of construction, the first floor — which contains a multi-purpose room, an office, a conference room, bathrooms, and meat and dairy kitchens — has been completed. The second floor, which will function as a four-bedroom suite for visiting alumni, parents, and guest speakers, should be completed before the end of this year.
Prior to construction of the center, many of Chabad’s activities, including Shabbat dinners and other social events, were held in the home of Rabbi Elazar and Shira Green, the club’s spiritual advisors. According to Nathaniel Moldoff ’14, president of Chabad, the new space should make it easier for Chabad to host events like these.
“We no longer have to worry about going past the Green kids’ bedtime,” Moldoff said.
The center also provides additional space for events, as it became difficult to fit all attendees of Chabad events into Green’s home, especially in light of increased attendance at shabbat dinners and other functions.
The center also provides Chabad members with additional opportunities; the space includes study areas, social areas, an office for meeting with Green, and even a place for students to store belongings between semesters.
“It’s another space where students, faculty, and community members will be able to congregate and learn from each other,” Moldoff said.
Furthermore, the facility includes an unfinished basement and small warehouse, which have not yet been designated for use, giving the club even more space to expand into if the need arises.
Green added that uses of the Chabad buildings are, in many ways, up to the students.
“I would like to see what the combined creative energies of the active student board come up with,” he said. “I know it will be different each year. [That] is one of the reasons I love being involved in the Chabad club.”
Funding for the new center came partially out of the money granted to Chabad from F&M’s Club Council. However, the Green family raised most of the money, as Green applied for grants and solicited donations from alumni and community members.
The Greens also contributed greatly to the logistical planning for the center. Shira Green identified the site, and Rabbi Green negotiated with the landowner and hired many of the subcontractors, engineers, architects, and other professionals by himself.
“It was a learning experience for me and I had fun doing it,” Green said.
First-year Clarissa Grunwald is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.