Randolph Chabad Connects With Community & Celebrates New Center

By Cheryl Conway 

After 36 years of operating in different locations, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Randolph has a permanent home to celebrate holidays and host events, programs and classes.

It is a double chai celebration! Chai- in Hebrew, is the number 18 and stands for good luck, and stems from the common Jewish toast, ‘l’chaim’ which means “to life.” 

The new center is located at 26 West Hanover Ave. in Randolph. It opened hours before Rosh Hashana in 2022, and its grand opening was held Sunday, April 30. Rabbi Avraham Bekhor is its executive director and spiritual leader, along with and his wife Chava Bekhor.

“The grand opening was a magical day,” says Chava Bekhor, managing director of the Chabad Center For Jewish Life. “Over 200 community people showed up. There wasn’t enough room so people had to leave. The original plan was to do it outdoors but because of the rain it was indoors.”   

The Chabad has been in Randolph for 36 years. It began on Andrews Rd. at the Tilson home, then in 2005 it moved to 48 West Hanover Ave and now in 2023, it moved to its new center.

“The building was a preschool for 27 years and prior to that a Baptist then Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1791,” says Bekhor.

“The building now houses our synagogue which also serves as a multi-purpose room for all of our holiday events, community dinners and large programming. There are two classrooms as well. This building provides the space needed to host all of our events, programs, classes and school.”

With more people joining over the years, the Chabad needed more room to accommodate members.

“We ran out of space and needed a commercial space,” says Bekhor. “We also purchased the property next to the existing building and have plans to build an extension of 10,000 square feet that will house a beautiful social hall, more classrooms, a kitchen and a high-tech teen lounge.”

The permanent space has allowed the Chabad to provide even more to all who participate.

“Chabad has now increased its programming and frequency and is now able to host larger events because of the space,” says Bekhor. 

“We are now reopening our Hebrew School in September, post COVID when we went only virtual,” says Bekhor. “We have reevaluated the needs of our students and their families and are developing new hands-on and stimulating curriculum for the 21st century student. So many things have changed in our society, and we need to adapt to the younger generations’ needs.

Unlike other synagogues, the Chabad does not require membership.

“We service members and the Jewish community at large,” says Bekhor. “We are not structured as a member-only synagogue.” 

Participants can get involved in host of events and programs for teens, women, seniors and men. There are Torah & Tea classes, holiday celebrations, Shabbat services, lifecycle events, mental health support and community outreach with visits to seniors and delivery of holiday packages, challahs and even matzah distribution.

The grand opening in April is a testament to the accomplishment of the center and its years of patience and effort in owning a facility for continued growth.

“We were honored to have Senator Bucco, Sheriff James Gannon and the Randolph Township officials,” describes Bekhor.

“Sen. Bucco presented our community with a legislative proclamation which will be hung in our center,” says Bekhor. “We were recognized for all the services and aid that Chabad has brought in to the community. 

“An award was presented to Darren Carney, zoning officer, for connecting us to the property and seeing its amazing potential to suit our needs.

“It was a celebration of gratitude to all the people who gave the seed money that allowed us to purchase the building,” says Bekhor. “The ribbon was cut by three people — Amir Hadar and his family for donating the initial money to secure the property and for seeing and believing in the vision. Hadar is the seventh generation of direct lineage from the first Chabad rabbi; Devora Tilson, my mother who began the Chabad of Randolph in her home in 1987; and the current Mayor Lou Nisivoccia.”

L’Chaim to the Bekhors and the CCFJL. 

“My reaction is pure joy,” says Bekhor. “My father had a vision when he opened the Chabad of Randolph, that it would move into a beautiful facility so more people can benefit. His dream has now come true. Our community is beyond excited and feels truly connected and united as a result of the new center.

“Our new motto is: Community, Connection and Celebration,” she continues. “We offer unconditional love and acceptance to anyone that walks through our doors. Our community is made up of authentic and warm people from all walks of life, from various backgrounds and consists of all age groups. Our goal is to provide a loving community to all who enter and inspire each person to nourish their soul.

“Rabbi Menachem Schneerson also known as the Rebbe, envisioned a world where everyone would have a place to feel welcome and get connected to their soul,” continues Bekhor. “There are over 5,000 Chabad institutions world-wide that spans all continents and in mostly every country. We feel so honored and humbled to be part of an organization like this. Our own parents’ lives were touched by Chabad years ago and all we want to do is to pay it forward and give others the same opportunity.”

For more information, visit www.ranolphjewish.com.

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