(lubavitch.com) Bradenton’s Jewish community will finally enjoy a permanent address and a new, comprehensive facility that will allow it to grow and enjoy greater programming and services provided by Chabad.
Rabbi Mendy and Chani Bukiet, directors of Chabad in Bradenton, confirmed that they have completed the purchase of five acres of land last Friday–the first step towards their building project, made possible with a generous grant by Mr. Moshe Tabicinic facilitated by Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky of Lubavitch Headquarters. The community center will house a sanctuary, social hall, mikvah, commercial kitchen, Hebrew school classrooms, and a library.
Renovating te the 2,300 square foot building currently on the site, to be used in the interim until the new building is completed says Rabbi Bukiet, will in fact reduce his budget in this tough economy.
“By purchasing the land we can now eliminate rent and tighten our belt, and make our services more affordable,” he says.
For Jewish community members, the news translates into permanence and stability for Jewish life in Brandenton, which has shown steady growth since Chabad opened its doors in 2004. Dr. Jonas Weingarten, who attends one of the daily classes at Chabad, says the new building will mean that locals can now rely on Chabad as a permanent fixture of Jewish life.
“Since I became religious after meeting the Bukiets, I haven’t been able to attend services on Shabbat because I live thirty minutes away from Chabad,” says Weingarten, whose grandchildren attend the Hebrew school. “But now that we know Chabad has a permanent home, we’ll be moving in to the area. Things will evolve and grow, as people see that Chabad finally has a proper home.”
According to Jacque Cohen, Jewish residents of Bradenton are becoming increasingly active at Chabad, which is the only Orthodox organization in the community and has some 40 children presently enrolled in its Hebrew School.
“Some people are reluctant about attending a very orthodox synagogue where the men and women are separate. But most importantly, Chabad for me is a sense of community where everyone feels welcome.”
“Once people come inside, they usually stay because of the welcoming feeling and togetherness,” Cohen says.