It was a short 16 months ago that the news broke of the dwindling Anshe Sholom Congregation of Kew Gardens, NY partnering with Chabad of the Gardens to try to work on building up the center once again.
Today it was announced that the official vote of the Board of trustees and the membership is to ultimately change their center to a Chabad house – for good, by accepting the official name Anshe Sholom Chabad Jewish Community Center.
Included in the terms of the new constitution, the shliach, Rabbi Mordechai Z. Hecht will have tenure as Rabbi of the congregation, which means he holds the position of “Rabbi for life.”
Additionally he will hold the position of Executive Director of the corporation until the next set of elections – in 18 years. Alongside the Rabbi – Exec. Dir. the board will consist of Rebbetzin Sara Hecht, Co-Director, and 5 additional members of the Board of Trustees chosen by the Rabbi and accepted by the members who are loyal to the vision of Chabad Outreach.
“This is a monumental stride in the best direction for the Center. Chabad works – it’s that simple,” said Jerry Gaeta – the Shul’s President.
Over the months since the inception of the limited partnership the membership has grown by 30 percent and the overall attendance has grown by more than 300%. Tens of thousands of dollars were invested in the building itself and into the platform for future growth.
Anshe Sholom Chabad JCC is housed in the most extraordinary 15,000 sq ft. facility, which will continue to host a full time shul, simcha hall, the ever-expanding Gutnick Jewish Public Library, Chabad Hebrew Academy of the Arts, winter camp and Machne Yisrael day camp, and many more teen and adult education programs.
This arrangement could not have been made possible without the understanding, patience, devotion and love of the entire associated community, the President and all the board members and membership, as well as the legal and financial assistance of the NCFJE and their Board of Directors whose invaluable patience and expertise proved to be most productive.
“Today, we give thanks to the Rebbe, our guiding light and source of inspiration, for enabling us to make him proud and do the work we were meant to do on our shlichus,” says Rabbi Hecht.
“The irony of all this is, my wife Sarah and I wondered upon on our return to Queens, my hometown, 3 years ago,”Can we really make big strides in such a metropolitan city as New York – where Judaism is so established?”
“Yet, here we are,” continues Hecht, “and with a great sense of humility that we open a whole new chapter in our lives.”