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Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 19 Tishrei 5782
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Construction begins for the largest Chabad Center worldwide
It was an event which saw the mergence of opposites, on the one hand it was a moment which carried incredible historical weight, but at the same time, it was held in modest fashion. This milestone moment began a process which will change the lives of hundreds of Jewish students who attend Rutgers University each year. Despite the significance of the moment, the event was held modestly with a small attendance, which arrived Tuesday morning at the line of buildings behind the massive Chabad House situated in the center of the university. Undoubtedly, these lucky individuals who merited attending the event deeply felt the significance of the moment.

The event was the demolition of the three buildings which stand in the area which will soon be part of the largest Chabad Center in the world. The new extension will add 55,000 square feet to the already massive building, which will total 90,000 square feet, well beyond the size of any single Chabad center anywhere on the globe. Upon completion, the building will boast a huge ballroom with a capacity of 750, a men's dormitory (which will be added to the existing woman's dormitory), and the first Sephardic synagogue on a U.S. college campus.
Attendees were greeted by a huge bulldozer, and a table laden with refreshments and some "Lechaim" of course.  After the audience got comfortably seated on the rows of seats arranged in the shadows of the mammoth bulldozer, Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, director of Chabad of Central New Jersey opened the event. Rabbi Carlebach, visibly moved, made the traditional 'Shecheyanu' blessing, to thank G-d for allowing him to be present at this special moment, a moment which will revolutionize the future of tomorrow's Jewish nation.

Rabbi Baruch Goodman, campus rabbi, was then invited to deliver a few words. Rabbi Goodman, loved by all and famous for his tireless efforts on behalf of the students, them led a prayer for the messianic redemption, "instead of witnessing the construction of this Chabad center here in New Brunswick, may we all merit seeing the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem" prayed Rabbi Goodman.

Following the prayers Rabbi Carlebach related the history of the center to the enthralled crowd, which he started as a young rabbi and continues to lead until this historical day. "There was a time when we would rent a small room in one of the student center, where we would hold impromptu shabbat services, and some other activities, from there we moved to a larger Chabad House which served our needs until we were able to build our current Chabad House in the epic center of Rutgers university. When we finished building the center we currently call home, we were confident that its immense size would suffice, but that presumption quickly became fantasy as the dining room was filled beyond capacity each Friday night, with over 350 students attending weekly Shabbat services. Thus began the journey of Chabad of Rutgers, a journey you are all now a component of" concluded the Rabbi.  


The audience, still under the spell of Rabbi Carlebachs moving words then heard the Chabad House Chairman Mr. Danny Kahane. Danny, a developer, and long time supporter of the Chabad House, directed the construction of the current building, and now he is witnessing the second construction project, as chairmen. Kahane shared warm warm words regarding the extensive activities hosted year round by the Chabad House. But as a developer, Danny said, words aren't vital, action is! And he sees the bulldozer driver sitting restlessly in his cockpit, waiting for the signal to start the demolition, therefore advised Kahane to the surprised crowd, "Let's all step away and begin what we came here for". 


The crowd stood on their feet as the eager Chairman, ascends the rungs on the side of the tractor and to the sound of the crowds' applause, revs the engine, raises the plow and hurls head on into the building. 


That's it, from here on there's no turning back, now the only option is to build. Danny Kahane exits the bulldozer, clearing the seat for the driver, who within several short hours, will completely demolish the three buildings right down to the foundation, clearing space for the legendary building to be erected.


Now that the formal part of the event was through, the entire crowd spontaneously approached Rabbi Carlebach and Danny Kahane and the Building Committee, Mr. Jeffrey Greenberg, Mrs. Lita Greenberg, Mr. Jon Kushner and Mr. Donald Epstein, to wish them Mazal Tov. Rabbi Carlebach pours the well wishers a bit of whisky and everyone raises their glasses to toast Chabad of Rutgers, Lechaim!


Crowd of Chabad supporters and friends at foot of giant crane before the demolition begins

Chairman of the Board Danny Kahane
speaking at "Demolition Ceremony"

Enjoying "Lchaim" and refreshments at Demolition Ceremony

Future Chabad Shliach Mendy Crombie at Ceremony





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