Chabad Jewish Center at UCF finds permanent home
After nine years of serving the Jewish students and faculty at UCF, as well as at Valencia and Rollins Colleges, Chabad at University of Central Florida will have a permanent home near the UCF campus.
Rabbi Chaim and Rivkie Lipskier, who live in Oviedo with their five children aged 8, 7, 6, 3, and 1 month, serve as co-directors of Chabad at UCF. They purchased a two-acre lot on Alafaya Trail, next door to University House. The couple plans to build a nearly 15,000 square-foot new home for the Chabad on Campus Center that will serve UCF's 6,000 Jewish students, and replace the current one at 600 Oak Circle, where hundreds of students spill out of the outgrown facilitates during Shabbat dinners and other events.
This dream of finding a permanent home became a reality through a lead grant from philanthropist Morris and Lilain Tabacinic, which was secured with the assistance of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, chairman of the Chabad on Campus International. Additionally, hundreds of donations of all sizes were made by alumni, parents, and community members and the Jewish Capital Alliance provide a generous loan.
Chabad will now be kicking off a three-million dollar building campaign, with plans for a 3,000 square-foot auditorium, student lounges, a library, an industrial kitchen, overnight suites, a synagogue, and other general purpose spaces.
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement is an organization dedicated to serving the needs of Jews around the world. Chabad of UCF is one of the 230 existing Chabad on Campus as part of the largest network of full-time professionally staffed Jewish campus centers in the world.
Chabad of UCF's impact has long been felt on campus. The center connects with 1300 students and faculty a year 150 to 200 students attend weekly Shabbat meals, 150 a year go to Israel on Chabad's Birthright program, 50 students participate in Sinai Scholars, and advanced Torah study program and a 100 students join the weekly kosher BBQ.
Rachel Altfield a junior from Miami expressed excitement about the new Chabad on Campus Center: "Since I came to UCF, Chabad has been my home away from home. In this community, I have found acceptance, love, and a strong sense of family. I am confident that the new property will give Chabad the ability to reach out to UCF's Jewish community on a larger scale, and to provide them with the same amazing experiences that have made my time at UCF so incredible. I can't wait for the property to be finished!"
"We would like to first of all thank G-d on this momentous occasion," said Rabbi Chaim Lipskier. "The purchase of the property is the first step in a new wonderful chapter of Jewish life at UCF. We outgrew our current location years ago and the new center will allow us to provide expanded programming to reach even more students."
"The Chabad on Campus Center is a place where every single Jewish student can feel at home," said Rivkie Lipskier. "Whether they are coming for a meal or for an advanced Jewish studies class, for services or just to hang out. We look forward to welcoming each student as a member of our family, as we have done for the past nine years."
To learn more about Chabad at UCF please visit http://www.jewishucf.com. To get involved with this project or for a list of dedication opportunities and sponsorship, contact Rabbi Chaim Lipskier at 407-949-8838 X1 or by email email@example.com.