On Sunday, June 22, rabbis, lay leaders and community members gathered to dedicate New England’s largest Chabad center in honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Beth Menachem — Chabad of Newton’s sprawling $5 million new community center — boasts over 15,000 square feet and includes a beautiful synagogue sanctuary and function hall, library, men and women’s mikvaot (ritual baths) and a large number of classrooms.
Building Chairman Fred Chanowski marveled at the determination of Rabbi Chaim and Nechama Prus, directors of Chabad of Eastern Massachusetts, to build the beautiful Jewish center despite many challenges over the years.
World-renowned Jewish singer Avraham Fried entertained the crowd of more than 200. Many participants were moved to tears during his special tribute to the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped 11 days earlier.
Back in 2000, Rabbi Prus established a Chabad presence in south Newton, but quickly outgrew the facilities. The growing Chabad faculty now includes Rabbi Shalom Ber and Itty Prus, who have successfully directed many of the educational and social activities including Cteen, Chabad Teen Network, and the Jewish Learning Institute.
Rabbi Prus thanked dinner honoree, philanthropist and longtime supporter of Chabad, James Gould. Rabbi Prus spoke movingly about how the Rebbe’s blessings at a meeting back in 1991 were “prophetic and instrumental” in completing this beautiful Chabad center. The Rebbe gave Fred Chanowski an unexpected blessing “success in building a shul” some 10 years before the idea of creating the synagogue and Jewish center in Newton was even conceived!
Finally, Richard Slifka, chairman of the dinner and chairman of Global Partners LLC, thanked the participants. Having known Rabbi Prus for some 35 years, he spoke of “the amazing work he has done for Jewish life while leading Chabad in Eastern Massachusetts and the wonderful work he will continue to do.”