By Tuvia Givre
On 22 Sivan, (June 14), Cheder Chabad of Baltimore celebrated its second siyum Alef Beis, the first in its beautiful new building. With nearly 100 people in attendance, the Cheder kinderlach sang the Alef-Beis song to a hall full of proud parents.
The long journey actually began in Elul 5767 (September 2007) when the Cheder first opened its doors with a class of thirteen kinderlach, ages 3 and four, and operated in the basement of Morah Alisheva Givre’s home. Initially the community was apprehensive about the new Cheder, but once the Morahs posted a large poster of photos of the kinderlach before Rosh HaShanah, the community’s excitement and support grew by leaps and bounds—to the point where the Cheder had more students than space for them.
The school was so successful the first year that the community purchased a beautiful building which will allow the school to expand through Kindergarten. This year Cheder Chabad had two classes with approximately fifteen students in each class.
Over the summer the Morahs, Alisheva Givre and Chanie Adler (Feldman), along with Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon, of Chabad of Park Heights, and a handful of community members worked diligently to prepare the new building so that Cheder Chabad would be fully licensed for opening day. Unfortunately the local neighborhood association as well as the Maryland Department of Education delayed the process considerably by throwing up countless bureaucratic obstacles.
Rabbi Lisbon said: “We faced many obstacles, but we knew that we had the Rebbe’s Brocha and that in the end we would be successful. Baruch Hashem we were!”
Finally, in February the last obstacle was cleared and Cheder Chabad received its official license from the State of Maryland. The Cheder currently has two classes with a total of thirty students.
“Now that the licensing ordeal is behind us, we plan on putting our energy into publicizing the great work in Chinuch that is being done here in Baltimore and b’ezras HaShem attracting more young families to come to our community,” said Rabbi Lisbon.
Cheder Chabad already has attracted students from as far away as Annapolis, MD—nearly a one hour drive each way. Several families have even moved to Baltimore so that their children can attend Cheder Chabad.
“Chinuch is the foundation upon which a community thrives,” said Morah Alisheva Givre, “and we’ve worked very hard over the last two years to solidify that foundation and fill a need in the community for Chassidishe Chinuch following the Rebbe’s teachings.”
The staff of Cheder Chabad isn’t planning on stopping at pre-school. The school founders have already begun to plan next year’s kindergarten class amid plans to renovate the Chabad House to accommodate the growth.