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Star of David on the door of the Jewish Learning Institute in the new Chabad Lubavitch Centre
All photos by Hart Peikoff.

Mayor Sam Katz and Rabbi Avroham Altein

The sign at the entrance.

The new building


Hart Peikoff


By Hart Peikoff, October 27, 2010

The Chabad Jewish Learning Centre opened its doors to the public for the first time on Sunday, October 17, 2010, giving visitors a sneak peak at the new facility. Sitting on land once crossed by train tracks at 1845 Mathers Avenue, it was designed by Lanny L.M. Silver Architect. The unusual structure radiates spirituality, love, simplicity, wisdom and humility and speaks volumes about what one will experience within its walls.

The building is historic, the first yeshiva created between Vancouver and Toronto, a community centre that aims to be a place where Winnipeg’s Jews can embrace their Judaism. The 17,000-square-foot building will house the Jewish Learning Institute, offer a Yeshiva for adult education, libraries for both adults and children, a synagogue and auditorium, classrooms, Camp Gan Israel facilities, offices, a lounge, kosher kitchens, a mikvah, a large gym, a dormitory, play area and a day-care centre.

It is being built by the Chabad Lubavitch, who have invested more than 35 years in the Winnipeg Jewish community, awakening the souls of Jews not only to religious practice, but by providing teaching and insight into the essence of Judaism from a historic perspective. A wise person once said: “If you do not have a handle on the past, how can you have a hope of understanding the present or even be able to predict with some accuracy the future?”

The front doors greet visitors with a glistening Mogen David, sending a message about what one will experience within — and about what, if you seek involvement, you will discover within yourself.
Chabad’s director, Rabbi Avrohom Altein, as well as Rabbis Shmuly Altein, Boruch Heidensfield, and Yakov Simmonds  welcomed the visitors, who included Mayor Sam Katz, Abe Anhang, David and Gavin Rich, Trevor Kennard, Faye Rosenberg Cohen of the Jewish Federation  of Winnipeg , Al Benarroch of Jewish Child and Family Services, and  Rabbi Ellis, of the Herzlia Adas Yeshurun Synagogue. Also present was the creator of Winnipeg’s “Little Italy,” the Corydon Strip, Joe Bova; Lois and David Wolch, Charles Golfman and Don Aronovitch, among others.

Mayor Katz delivered a speech that emphasized the importance of Chabad’s presence in the community. Joe Bova talked in a tone which eluded to a mindset which states how Winnipeggers live together in peace and harmony even though they have different religious and or cultural views. Others speakers were David Rich, Rabbi Altein and Abe Anhang, men who contributed so much to making this miracle occur I am left wordless to explain more. You all get it though. My most profound respect to the men above.
The centre’s presence will enrich the environment created by Winnipeg’s other religious institutions, providing another home for all Jews in the community — and for others, too.
The grand opening of the centre is scheduled for Sunday, December 5, during Chanukah which will include a ribbon cutting ceremony and if my guess is correct fireworks to boot.

Go forth Chabad and continue to “green the world's desert.”

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