Chabad of Palo Alto Showcases $6 Million Expansion


by Mendy Rimler - Palo Alto, CA

November 14, 2011

Chabad-Lubavitch of the Greater South Bay area kicked off a $6 million building project with a celebration concert last week at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. Piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick headlined the concert.

Chabad representatives Rabbi Yosef and Dena Levin honored the Saal Family for their contributions to the broader Jewish community in Palo Alto.

"We chose to honor the Saal Family because of their long-time support of Chabad and their support of many organizations in the community. Carol Saal, the honorary lifetime director at the Oshman Family JCC, recently led a successful $140 million capital campaign to build the Oshman Family JCC."

Harry Saal lauded Chabad for their innovative work and cohesive intercommunity relations with other Jewish organizations.

The Levins, serving the Greater South Bay Jewish community since 1980, have developed a wide range of social, educational and religious activities, and have recruited more Chabad representatives to open additional centers in the area.

Today, there are seven Chabad families serving at five Chabad centers in the area, among them Chabad of Stanford University, Chabad of Sunnyvale and Los Altos. And the Levins are showing no signs of slowing down.

"The new building will allow for the expansion of our programs, and further cement the vibrant Jewish community in Palo Alto," said Levin.

The 10,000 square foot building on a 27,000 square foot property will feature a beautifully designed outreach center and synagogue, a social hall, offices, preschool, classrooms and a commercial kitchen. The existing mikvah will be updated and incorporated into the new structure.

The idea is to create a beautiful space "where anyone will feel safe and comfortable to explore their Jewish heritage by taking advantage of the many possibilities for studying and socializing in a warm, inviting environment," Rabbi Levin told lubavitch.com

With $2 million already secured, Chabad hopes to break ground on the new building project in early 2013 and expects it to be completed by 2014.

Guests at the concert reflected the diverse demographic served by Chabad of Greater South Bay. Silicon Valley techies, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs joined artists, wage-earners and stay-at-home-parents to celebrate the rich Jewish life experience that Chabad has brought to the area.

"People appreciate that Chabad is an inclusive organization that works to reach out to every Jew, irrespective of affiliation or background," said Levin at the conclusion of a successful, joyful concert.

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