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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Chabad to move into the newly constructed Lubeck Center for Jewish Life

To accommodate recent growth, Chabad will move into the Lubeck Center for Jewish Life, the construction of which began three years ago.
Gabe Loewenson
Lubeck Center for Jewish Life as photographed on May 8, 2024. (Hustler Staff/Gabe Loewenson)

Vanderbilt Chabad will move into the new Lubeck Center for Jewish Life this summer. Construction on the center began three years ago. According to Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein, director of Vanderbilt Chabad, the leading motivation for Chabad’s relocation was a desire for a building with a larger capacity. 

While the new building was under construction, Chabad occupied space in the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life. According to Rothstein, students will be informally invited to visit the Lubeck Center over the summer, but the building will not formally open until closer to the fall. Rothstein said a grand opening ceremony will be held around Parents Weekend.

“We are very close now, there are only a few last things done before we move in,” Rothstein said. “With God’s help, we will move in over the summer and be up and running for the fall semester.”  

Rothstein said Chabad started in a smaller building on campus in November of 2007 but quickly grew too large to remain there. Chabad purchased a new building that served as the Chabad House from 2012 until 2021. Rothstein said Chabad outgrew that location as well, at which point it was knocked down to make space for the Lubeck Center. 

“I remember the Friday night in 2018 when the house was packed with about 80 students, and a guy came running down the block, ‘Rabbi! I’ve convinced my whole fraternity to come. They are on their way!’” Rothstein said. “There was no room. I had to turn them away. That was hard and a turning moment.”

Rothstein mentioned several key amenities the new Chabad House will have, including cooking and worship spaces.  

“Logistically, there will be a commercial kitchen, proper storage and prep space — which enables us to be more efficient and do much more,” Rothstein said. “There will be a shul, a Jewish sanctuary, with an Ark and Torah for prayer services, Torah classes, discussions and for students to use a sacred space as they wish. There will be a beautiful multi-purpose space for much larger Shabbat and holidays celebrations, social events, and study space.”

Rothstein said he was grateful to the Lubeck family and other donors for making the new house’s construction possible.

“The new Chabad House building will be named The Lubeck Center for Jewish Life at Vanderbilt University in honor of the lead donors who have generously invested their care, time, and dollars to build the new center and are true partners in all our work,” Rothstein said.  “I would also like to give a heartfelt thank you to the many parents of students, alumni, and friends who have given so generously to make this center a reality. This is a true community project that took many people coming together to make happen.”

Chabad Co-President and senior Joshua Weingarten said he believes the new Chabad House will cultivate community among Jewish students. 

“It is nice to have a space for Jewish students where we can hang out, learn and participate in Jewish activities with other students who share a similar religious and cultural background,” Weingarten said. 

Weingarten expressed excitement at the prospect of the house’s completion but noted that it may take students time to adjust to the new building. 

“The most challenging part will probably be getting everyone accustomed to being in a new location because they are used to not being there,” Weingarten said. “It will take time to establish that as the new home for Chabad, but I am confident that at the start of the new year everyone will feel comfortable in the new house.”

Chabad executive board member and sophomore Lexi Schachter also expressed enthusiasm about the opening of the new Chabad House.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for Chabad to expand our reach and accommodate more students for all of our events from weekly Shabbat dinners to our lecture series to large Passover seders,” Schachter said. “I am most looking forward to having a large kosher kitchen to help cook for Shabbat and other weekly events.”

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About the Contributor
Gabe Loewenson
Gabe Loewenson, Staff Writer
Gabe Loewenson ('24) is majoring in economics and history in the College of Arts and Science. He is from Marlboro, New Jersey. In his spare time, Gabe likes playing the piano, chatting with friends and keeping up with news about events in the world.
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