Includes a synagogue, 3,000-book library and garden for outdoor events
The Rohr Chabad Center at Dartmouth, which has been serving Jewish students on campus since 2003, officially opened the doors of the new Hilary Chana Chabad House on Oct. 14 with a dedication ceremony for more than 100 guests.
The 9,000-square-foot hub on Allen Street, just two blocks from the Dartmouth Green, marks a significant increase in provisions for the 500-plus Jewish students who attend Dartmouth. The house was extensively renovated to make it suitable for its new purpose.
Sophomore Jacob Swenberg said “Chabad is the only place at Dartmouth where I can connect with my religious roots and still enjoy the company of friends. The new house is a physical location to support this community, whether studying with friends in the downstairs lounge or praying in the beautiful library.”
The facilities include a 1,400-square-foot dining room that doubles as a social space, a large kosher kitchen for catering events, a 3,000-book library and a student lounge.
The building, which also has a two-bedroom guest suite, serves as the residence of Rabbi Moshe and Chani Gray, co-directors of Chabad at Dartmouth, and their five children. The house sits on a two-acre plot with a large garden for hosting outdoor events, such as kosher barbecues and the annual bonfire for Lag BaOmer.
The purchase and renovation, which cost $3.2 million, was funded by gifts from the parents of students, Dartmouth alumni, and friends and family. Financial supporters of the new center house include American Jewish philanthropists George Rohr; Sue Ann Arnall, and her daughter, Hilary Chana; and Robert and Debbie Ezrapour.
Nina Vogel spoke about the impact Chabad has had on her, saying, “I knew Judaism defined a piece of me, but it wasn’t until I moved away [from home] that I felt the weight it carried in my cultural identity. Chabad at Dartmouth has given me a home away from home where I feel supported as a family member and enriched as a student in the Jewish community.”
The dedication ceremony featured speeches by Daveen Litwin, dean of religious life at Dartmouth College; and Rabbi Levi Krinsky of Chabad of New Hampshire in Manchester. Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin also attended. The event culminated when a mezuzah was affixed to the door of the Chabad House, followed by a ribbon cutting.
Chani Gray, who served as emcee for the festivities, said, “we realized that our old space was just too small to host all the events that we wanted to run. We just weren’t able to expand our activities to match the demand,” adding that the new facility has remedied that concern.
Her husband agreed. Rabbi Moshe Gray said “the college’s focus on improving campus diversity and inclusivity has led to a growing Jewish student community. The new Dartmouth Chabad House is, in a way, a natural development to respond to the number of students. We’re proud to be able to provide a hub for Jewish students, where they can feel welcomed and comfortable.”
By: Chabad Staff
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