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Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 18 Adar I 5784
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What will the expansion mean?

Dr. Gregory Blimling

What will the expansion mean
for Jewish students at Rutgers?

“ …more room for study, fun, meeting fellow Jews,
and forming stronger Jewish connections.”

According to Dr. Gregory Blimling, Vice President for Student Affairs at Rutgers University, “Chabad House provides many opportunities for Jewish students at Rutgers.” In particular, Dr. Blimling points to the upcoming expansion of the dormitory facilities. “We are pleased that the Chabad House is expanding the availability of special-interest housing in New Brunswick for Jewish undergraduate and graduate students.”

The university has long recognized the Chabad House for providing Jewish students with a rich academic and student-life experience at the university. Therefore, furthering this effort, and no less, “on the doorstep of the College Avenue Campus,” to quote Dr. Blimling, will mean even greater benefits for Jewish students at Rutgers.

Lance Blake, expansion project architect, knows what an expanded Chabad means to Jewish students. “I remember when I was in college; in those days the Jewish student programs were limited to a room somewhere on campus. There wasn’t the pride, strength and solidarity we have today. The Chabad House represents that new pride Jewish students have in this generation. Expanding the Chabad House is a symbol of the growth. It represents our growing community and the identity we have today.”

Today, Jewish students have a good reason to be proud. The aesthetics of the current Chabad House are a source of pride. The highly visible and attractive edifice, which stands prominently along College Avenue, is already widely admired.

The anticipated expansion is sure to raise the profile of Jewish students in a positive, constructive way. “I was just thrilled to bring our plans to the New Brunswick campus planning committee,” says Mr. Blake. “They were so enthusiastic to see the beautiful design we developed. It stands on its own as an architectural highpoint.”

Will the expansion improve
life for Jewish students?

“The expansion is a wonderful sign of Jewish progress
at the Rutgers campus, and well beyond.”

Aesthetics aside, the new expansion will have a considerable impact on the day-to-day existence of Jewish students. “Chabad House occupies a preeminent location on campus,” says Donald Hecht, President of the Rutgers Chabad House. “While the existing Chabad House has laid a strong foundation on which to grow, the newer facility will allow us to achieve even higher goals of providing a full range of services, specifically to provide dormitory space for both male and female students.”

The existing Chabad House only has a residence for women. The expansion will result in 28 additional dormitory rooms, providing complete, separate dormitory space for male students. Also, the current facility will include a Sephardic shul for daily minyanim for Sephardic students enabling every Jewish student the feeling of comfort and familiarity.

By expanding the dining room, including two (meat and dairy) brand new, larger commercial kitchens, more students can be comfortably seated for meals, and more catered events for students can be planned. The dining area will double as a huge multi-purpose area with a stage for performances, concerts, lectures and other student activities.

It goes almost without saying that the new expansion will enable the Chabad House to provide students with an ever-growing range of amenities. From spacious modern dorm rooms (the existing structure will be treated to a full modernization, too) to ample student lounge areas on every floor, the students will have room to spread out and live and study in comfort and peace. The entire building will now have broadband Internet access, WiFi, and every dorm room will have independent control over air conditioning and heat.

Large lobbies inside, luscious landscaping outside, the expanded Chabad House will be a place that is conducive to study, to fun, and spiritual growth-while keeping pace with the growing number of Jewish students seeking to utilize everything the Chabad House has to offer. Above all, with kosher meals, daily minyanim, an expansive library of Judaica books, and the oversight and concern of dedicated staff and knowledgeable rabbis, students can live comfortably as Jewish people, while remaining committed, active participants in their heritage and tradition.


Mr. Danny Kahane

If my children don’t attend Rutgers,
why support the expansion?

“Visit the Chabad House. Get to know Rabbi Carlebach and his staff.
Be inspired by the youthful exuberance for our Jewish community.
Then, step up and support this great institution.”

"Twenty-five years ago, we couldn’t get a minyan on campus. Forget about celebrating Shabbat together with a room filled with Jewish students," recalls Mr. Danny Kahane, Chairman of the Board of Rutgers Chabad House and its builder. Mr. Kahane remembers the 1980s, when efforts to get a minyan often included heading to local bars to see if any of the patrons were Jewish. Now, there could easily be up to 400 Jewish students at a Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Back then there was no facility on the College Avenue campus devoted to Jewish students. There was no place for students to eat kosher food, to live in a dorm with other Jewish students, to belong to a Jewish club. Now, he says, "More than a place to pray together and get meals, students have public areas for studying and socializing in a Jewish atmosphere."

As a result of the efforts made by supporters of the Chabad House, Rutgers has seen a steady influx of Jewish students on campus, with more youths choosing to stay closer to home in New Jersey over other, farther away schools. "They know there’s a place for Jewish students to be among their fellow Jewish students,"

Mr. Kahane explains. "They can feel like that there’s a place for them away from home." Mr. Kahane explains why he put his support behind Chabad House. "As the parent of a child who did not have a Chabad House when he went to university, I know firsthand how valuable it is," he says. "Chabad House has all the ingredients for a Jewish student—a place to learn, a home to eat, to daven and celebrate the chagim. The expansion will add even more."

For Jewish students who are unaffiliated with their heritage, Chabad House is an opportunity to reconnect to Judaism in a safe, caring environment. With the expansion, Rutgers can remain at the forefront of Jewish campus life in the United States, serving as a model for more colleges and universities to emulate in the coming years.

Mr. Kahane describes how the “Jewish domino effect" will yield stronger, more involved Jews for generations to come. "With an even greater Jewish presence on the Rutgers campus, and other college campuses who follow their lead, many more Jews will become more involved with other Jews.

"It’s important for the students to remain connected with their tradition. Many of the students get married because they met at the Rutgers Chabad House. Instead of college students assimilating away from Jewish life, students will get a deeper attachment to their heritage."

Rabbi Yosef Carlebach

Rabbi Boruch Goodman

Rabbi Shraga Crombie

Rabbi Mendy Carlebach

Amenities of the new dormitory
and the existing building

“[Chabad House] is fully loaded; a state-of-the-art facility
where students have the best amenities.”

The new extension will make a great location even greater. The Chabad House is located on College Avenue, at the edge of a massive pedestrian thoroughfare in the heart of the Rutgers University New Brunswick campus. Recently, the university announced plans to create a student-pedestrian mall.

When completed, the mall will pass directly in front of the Chabad House. Meanwhile, all local public transportation, the main library and university gym, and many other university resources are in the immediate surrounding vicinity.

A state-of-the-art fire and security system, means the new building will be very safe and secure. Upgraded technology in both buildings will give every room cable-TV, and WiFi broadband Internet access. With the expansion, there will be room for a separate gym and work out area for male and female students.

The expansion will give ample room for a student office, a modernized laundry room, a soundproofed music room for students to practice or perform, a coffee house, art studio, and large communal and private study areas.

Aside from fully modernizing of the current complex, a total of 55,000 sq. ft. with three new floors, plus a basement will be added for a total of 90,000 sq. ft. This space includes 28 new dormitory rooms on the second and third floors. The current synagogue will double in size, and a new synagogue for Sephardic students will be built.

The new extension is designed with a 7,500 sq. ft. dining area, which will have a stage and double as an auditorium, and is large enough to seat 700 students. Two new kitchens and an expansive area to store food and supplies, a combined footprint of 4,000 sq. ft., will make it possible to hold large catered events at the Chabad House. A loading dock, to facilitate safe and efficient delivery of supplies and food, is also part of the plans.

The second and third floors will have student lounges, dorm rooms, each with individually controlled heating and air conditioning and a private shower and bathroom.

The expansion will fully incorporate the same façade as the original, which is modeled after the Rebbe’s home in Brooklyn at 770 Eastern Parkway, making the Rutgers Chabad House one of the most accurate recreations of the world famous 770 Eastern Parkway address.

The Rutgers Chabad House is currently the largest Jewish Student center on any public university campusin the country.



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