Rockland County’s Jewish population is estimated at about 100,000. To Rabbi Avremel Kotlarsky, Chabad’s representative to the region, that suggests endless possibilities for Jewish outreach.
With a $2 million building campaign for new construction now underway, Rockland’s Jewish population will soon enjoy a magnificently enhanced Jewish community center. The original building, says Rabbi Kotlarsky, “gave the community a shul, a school and a pool.” Now, he says, the new, 23,000 square foot facility—being constructed as an extension to the existing structure—“will incorporate a Talmud Torah, Jewish community library/media center, gymnasium, science, computer, music and art labs, a youth hall, and a greenhouse.”
Set on a beautiful four-acre property, the new facility, which in effect triples the size of the existing 9,000 square foot facility built in 1991, will make space for significant expansion of Chabad’s existing programs. Fourteen additional classrooms will allow enrollment at The Hebrew Academy Ohr Menachem Chabad Day School—now at sixty, to reach a capacity of 220. The Gan Israel Day Camp, with a current registration of 113, is expected to grow as well. “Our school has been realizing a 25% annual growth rate,” says Rabbi Kotlarsky. The new facility will also be the impetus for developing a wide range of new educational and social programs to benefit the area’s adults, teens and children.
The new project builds on the foundations laid back in 1982 by Rabbi Mordechai Altein. Then principal of the Achei Temimim Lubavitch school in the Bronx, Rabbi Altein purchased the property in 1982, for the purposes of relocating the school to New City.
The expanded Chabad Jewish Community Center is scheduled to open next spring.