In 1920, the famous Brooklyn Jewish Center on Eastern Parkway, opened its doors to cater to all aspects of Jewish Life. During this time, Crown Heights was one of the most exclusive Jewish communities in New York, and many prominent doctors, lawyers and politicians in the community were amongst the founding members of the Center.
Of its many facilities, the Brooklyn Jewish Center boasted a wedding hall, gym, sauna, swimming pool and a large Hebrew Academy. What was most unique however, was the tremendous devotion, energy and resources that its members invested in their Center.
It was largely due to their devotion that the stronghold of remaining members and Board of Trustees first rented the facilities to the Educational Institute Oholei Torah, to ensure that the building stay part of the Jewish Community. Some years later, the building was sold to Oholei Torah where is has continued to flourish and expand. The Brooklyn Jewish Center is one of the few synagogues that has remained a part of the Jewish Community in the entire area.
It is interesting to note that the Rebbe appointed Rabbi Hirschel Chitrik to oversee the acquiring of the BJC building for Oholei Torah, many, many years before the actual transfer took place.
Today, the anchor building of the Oholei Torah Campus is familiar to all members of the Chabad community worldwide, as well as to the thousands of guests who attend the myriad of simchas and functions that take place in Crown Heights. Just next week, the 90 year old edifice will host over 4000 Chabad emissaries coming to NY for the Annual Shluchim Convention.
Throughout the years, a warm friendship has been maintained between the administration of Oholei Torah and the former members of the Brooklyn Jewish Center. The members have joined in and taken pride in several momentous events at Oholei Torah and have participated in various yeshiva building campaigns and annual dinners.
In a show of appreciation and ahavas yisroel, a reunion celebration is being planned for those who were associated with the center. This celebration will culminate the current faחade restoration project and commemorate the 90th year of the founding of the Brooklyn Jewish Center.
The Oholei Torah administration is actively seeking people who were connected in any way to the Brooklyn Jewish Center, whether they celebrated a milestone such as a bar mitzvah or wedding at the center or if their parents of grandparents were associated with the center.
If you know anyone who was once connected to the Brooklyn Jewish Center, or if you have archives of pictures of the Center, please contact Rabbi Nosson Blumes, coordinator of this project at 718-483-9000, or via email at [email protected]