First Posted: 6/23/2014
Mazel-Tov! Chabad of the Abingtons, a local Jewish organization, had a ground-breaking ceremony for an upcoming new Jewish discovery center on June 22.
Approximately 60 people of Jewish faith gathered around the property of 216 Miller Road in Waverly - the future location for the new facility - to witness the ceremony.
The ceremony started with a speech from Rabbi Benny Rapaport, co-chair of the Chabad of the Abingtons. He spoke about the history of the Jewish vibrancy’s rebuilding 2,000 years ago and during the Holocaust.
“Today, we are building a living memorial,” Rapaport said. “A place where not only do we remember the Jewish lives that have been lived of past generations but where it lives on today.”
Rapaport acknowledged others who have contributed to the project .
“This facility with the help of Rabbi Benny and Chany (Benny’s wife) will inspire us all for the years to come, to light our own candle so that we too may fulfill our purpose in the world,” said Erick Goldberg, Waverly resident who was the first to give Rapaport a check to start the new discovery center.
“It (the new discovery center) will be a place for people to be inspired and for people of all faiths to be able to pull together,” said artist/home designer Tom Campbell. “That’s been my inspiration with Benny.”
Campbell said he hopes the building becomes filled with love and future growth in the community.
The ceremony continued with children beginning Phase 1 of the project by grabbing a hard hat from a table and burying a cornerstone with a little shovel. The cornerstone had a Hebrew inscription which read “Home of Chabad.” The children were given balloon animals by Lollipop Party Servicesof Scranton.
The purpose of the new discovery center is to provide a facility for not just people of the Jewish faith, but for people from all faiths and walks of life. Chabad of the Abingtons was formerly housed in a building located on Northern Boulevard in Clarks Summit.
Rabbi Benny Rapaport and Chany wanted to build a bigger place to house more programs such as concerts, sports events, educational workshops, arts & crafts, and a gymnasium. Rapaport said Phase 2 of the project will feature healthy cooking and farming, in which they now have the land for it. Rapaport hopes to show people how to get food from the farm to the table.
The new discovery center is estimated to be completed in six to 10 months. The community has been currently contributing and is still accepting more contributors to make the new facility possible.
“I think it’s going to be a beautiful space,” Rapaport said. “It will be comfortable and homey (not like an institution). A place for educational programs, cultural programs, and speakers from around the world.”