One of South Florida’s oldest Jewish institutions is on the verge of disappearing; regions Bank is foreclosing on the Lubavitch Education Center.
The school is responsible for educating hundreds of children, as well as rabbis, often for free. Tuesday night the school’s director told CBS4’s David Sutta they will not go down without a fight.
The Lubavitch Education Center director Rabbi Benzion Korf said, “the word threaten to disappear, I would disagree because god willing we will never disappear.”
Rabbi Korf is doing all he can to save the institution. His program, more than 40-years-old, was South Florida’s first foundation for aspiring rabbis. From the rabbinical school on Miami Beach, to a new Miami Gardens Complex acquired in 2003, they now serve some 800 children. From preschool to 12th grade, approximately 90% of the students are on scholarships.
“Many of them are underprivileged, special needs, or from low income, very low income families. We really provide a service for the community,” said Rabbi Korf.
Largely funded by donations, the school has seen a tremendous drop off in operating funds. They are now overwhelmed by bills. Rabbi Korf said, “We had some parents who used to pay some tuition and now we are providing them with food. You would think that you would get some more sympathy, more understanding, and try to work things out where as that hasn’t been the case.”
Rabbi Korf believes Regions Bank has been unwilling to help thus far. Friday he received foreclosure papers. The Rabbi is shocked he’s the latest to be hit by this epidemic.
“It’s even more difficult and astonishing when you hear a lender say callously to you ‘just give us the building and close down.’ What happens with all those student that were serving that have no where to go?” he said.
The foreclosure process will take months, possibly years. He is hoping they can work something out. In the meantime, the Lubavitch Center plans to continue to stay open–as they have since 1968.
“We have a God who has helped us through many a difficult situation and he will definitely help us through this one as well,” said Rabbi Korf.