Chabad House demolished to make way for bigger one
By Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort
CARLSBAD, California –On Tuesday, June 26, ’12 Chabad at La Costa took the next major step towards dedicating its new complex as the old Chabad Center was demolished. Many of the community participants turned out to witness this event, which they almost uniformly described as ‘bittersweet.’ Bitter in the sense that there have been so many events in the old building over the past twenty years, yet sweet in that it marks a new beginning in the Chabad House’s growth and development.
The old building was a mere 1,600 square feet and was built in the early ‘60’s as a ‘temporary’ outbuilding for the neighboring La Costa Resort and Spa. Since that time it has served as church offices, landscaping offices, a preschool, and was vacant for a few years until Chabad moved in, in ’92. Since that time the community invested in the building trying to make it as welcoming as possible. A new roof, new kitchen, new floors, new paneling, new paint, new air conditioning, and many other items were added over the years. Nonetheless, the building was inadequate for the community and its growing needs.
Finally, approximately three and a half years ago the landlord finally agreed to sell the building and the land around it to the community. Shortly thereafter a building campaign began in earnest. After more than two years of planning, led by countless hours of meticulous work by Dr. Michael Galperin, Chairman of the Building Committee, the building project is ready to get rolling with construction beginning this summer. The new complex will have over 9,000 square feet of usable space on two floors, with a full, commercial-grade kitchen, social hall able to accommodate weddings, a pre school, a senior center, a library with a media center, an outdoor patio overlooking the nearby lagoon, offices, and classrooms.
The project’s architect, Robert Richardson, exclaimed to me, “Rabbi, you have put 20 pounds of groceries into a 5 pound bag.” At the beginning of the project before the initial meetings with the City of Carlsbad, the architect and the civil engineer expressed grave doubts as to being able to accommodate the community’s ambitious plans. Rabbi Eilfort told his professionals that he wanted them to approach the City with confidence telling them that this is not just another building, but instead is the Rebbe’s, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s, institution. The Rabbi assured them if they were confident in the righteousness of the endeavor they would certainly feel the blessings of the Almighty and the City would respond in a positive fashion. Sure enough, after emerging from their first meetings with the City they told the Rabbi that they had never received such a positive welcome and encouragement despite having worked in the City 50 years between the two of them.
Although the project began with modest goals and a modest budget it has grown exponentially in size, scope, and budget, which has now reached nearly $2 million. I can report proudly that the community has responded generously and so the majority needed to complete the building has been raised or pledged so it appears at this point that no loans will be necessary to complete the building, which should be done within the next six months.
“The Rebbe’s blessings have been felt every step of the way,” explained Rebbetzin Nechama Eilfort, “And we are confident that when the new complex is open Chabad at La Costa will be able to touch even more lives around this area!”
Rabbi Eilfort is spiritual leader of Chabad of La Costa. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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