On Sunday a crowd of about 300 gathered outside in the sunshine to celebrate the grand opening of the Igor Tulchinsky Chabad Center for Jewish Life in downtown Greenwich.
Rabbi Yisrael Deren, regional director of Chabad and senior rabbi of Chabad in Stamford, and father Rabbi Yossi Deren led the group in the chapter 122 of Psalms, honoring the 121st birthday of the Rebbe.
Maryashie Deren said the road to 38 Field Point Road was a long one that started 16 years earlier when she and Rabbi Yossi Deren first met Tony Dorazio, a board member in the Lutheran congregation in Greenwich.
“We met in 2007. We were interested in buying this building. We walked out so optimistic because, what a special date, the day of the Rebbe’s birthday, the 11th of Nissan, three days before Passover. We were sure this would work out. We were optimistic.”
“But we didn’t know we were going to be wandering a bit like the Jews in the desert,” she recalled. “What we thought would happen right away, happened exactly 16 years later. We are so thankful that we can open the Chabad Center right in the center of Greenwich.”
She said the facility would be home to synagogue programs including Adult Education, Chabad Hebrew School, Mommy and Me program, and members milestones, including bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs and weddings.
“We are so happy to share this home with you,” she said, going on to thank all donors, especially George and Pamela Rohr, and Igor Tulchinsky for making the dream a reality.
Only in America
Among the speakers was US Senator Richard Blumenthal, who said it was the perseverance, courage, and faith of Rabbi Deren that led to Sunday’s celebration.
“To my friend Igor Tulchinsky whose generosity is boundless. His magnificent gift, I know marks his sincerity and dedication to Chabad,” he added.
Senator Blumenthal said his wife Cynthia grew up in Greenwich and he followed her here from his hometown of Stamford.
“I don’t think that when she was growing up here this scene would have been imaginable to her. To have Chabad just a block from town hall, which was the high school, here in the middle of Greenwich, with this milestone would have been unthinkable for her when she was growing up. But it is really a mark of progress for Greenwich, for Connecticut, for America.”
“And I will say as I walked into this building and looked around I thought to myself, only in America could Igor Tulchinsky be a benefactor and builder of this great new edifice for Chabad in Greenwich, Connecticut on this beautiful day,” Blumenthal said. “At a time when in my world there is a lot of disappointment, frustration and division, I take tremendous inspiration from this moment.”
Greenwich First Selectmen designated April 2 as Education and Sharing Day. He shared a proclamation that noted that the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, was a global spiritual leader and leading advocate for the advancement of education. Rabbi Schneerson, who was an Orthodox rabbi and the most recent Rebbe of the Lubavitch Hasidic dynasty, is considered one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century.
“A global spiritual leader and leading advocate for the advancement of education, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, stressed that a moral and ethical education empowers every individual to develop their full potential in making the world a better place… Education & Sharing Day is observed each year on the Rebbe’s birthday in recognition of his outstanding and lasting contributions toward the improvement of education, morality, and acts of charity around the world; a day to pause and reflect on our responsibility to ensure our youth have the foundation necessary to lead lives rich in purpose and fulfillment through service and good works.”
The proclamation noted that April 2, 2023 marked 121 years since the Rebbe’s birth, capping a year in which thousands of new institutions and initiatives were launched throughout the world in tribute to this celebration.
This year has an added significance as a year of Hakhel, a biblical event of unity, education and spiritual growth emphasizing how every person is crucial to perfecting the world.
State Senator Ryan Fazio said the beautiful spring day appropriately represented a new beginning for the Chabad community. On behalf of the CT state government Fazio presented an official citation.
“In offering our sincerest congratulations to the Igor Tulchinsky Chabad Center for Jewish Life in recognition of your grand opening, your commitment to growth, happiness and the well being of our community, the entire membership hereby extends its very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses hope for continued success.”