(lubavitch.com) A newly renovated Chabad center in Palermo Soho, a popular bohemian neighborhood of Buenos Aires's Palermo Viejo area, drew several hundred locals to the building's formal dedication last Thursday.
The dedication comes after several years during which Chabad representatives Rabbi Tzvi and Rivka Lipinski have been reaching out with educational and social programming to the area's local Jewish community.
Several thousand Jews make up this fashionable, upper-middle class Jewish community, popular among tourists as well as young Argentines. Traditionalist in terms of Jewish orientation, the area's professional Jews have expressed interest and enthusiasm in expanding and deepening their Jewish experience through Chabad, says Lipinski.
With the new facility, says Lipinski, Chabad of Palermo Soho will continue to reach out to the entire spectrum of the Jewish community, with an emphasis on youth. "The area is highly populated with young professional families. Their children are the future of the community."
Indeed, over the past three years, the number of children enrolled in Chabad's summer and winter day camps in Palermo Soho has grown steadily. As well, the neighborhood's two central Jewish (secular) schools have happily integrated several hours weekly of Jewish educational classes in their curriculum, led by Chabad representatives.
Rabbi Lipinski says the purchase of the new building during the economic recession, is thanks to the Rebbe's blessings and Divine Providence. Another bidder competing for the property, explains Lipinski, failed to comply with the original agreement, clearing the way for Chabad to make the purchase in very short order. Funding was secured with pledges by many community members, Lipinski notes.
The facade of the beautiful property fits right in with the art galleries, boutiques and cafes that line Palermo Soho's streets. Inside, guests toured a thoughtfully designed comprehensive facility that includes a multi-lingual library, a synagogue, social hall, student lounge, a fully equipped kosher kitchen where hot meals will be prepared for delivery to the area's elderly, and an outdoor area for children. A women's mikveh is under construction as well.
The new Chabad center brings the number of Chabad houses in Buenos Aires to 22. Argentina-wide, says director of Chabad of Argentina, Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt, there are 33 Chabad centers serving Jews living in nine of Argentina's main cities.