Chabad expansion: ‘Quantum leap’ for Jewish community

When one door closes, another opens for South Brevard’s Jewish faithful.

Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts is branching out from its Satellite Beach location into a building in Viera that it has purchased from Temple Israel of Brevard, as the temple plans to move into a brand-new synagogue.

When construction of the 8,500-square-foot Temple Israel building is complete next year, the two congregations will be next-door neighbors.

Chabad Rabbi Zvi Konikov said acquiring and renovating the new location in Viera will increase Chabad activities and programs for the growing Jewish community in Viera and provide a convenient access point off I-95 for those living in the north or south part of the county.

Moreover, the project with the Reform Jewish congregation Temple Israel of Brevard, founded in Merritt Island in 1997, will unite the overall Jewish community as all involved work together. The goal? To provide every Jew in Brevard and Indian River counties, regardless of affiliation, level of observance or background, a positive experience in Judaism, he said.

This multi-faceted expansion plans will bring the dream “to make Judaism accessible and practical for every single Jew wherever they are into reality, and will be a quantum leap for the growth of Brevard’s Jewish community,’’ he said.

The Chabad center, 1190 State Road A1A, Satellite Beach, will continue to service the beachside areas with its complete synagogue activities including Hebrew School, adult education and its continuous synagogue programs, he said. Chabad plans for its Viera location will nearly double the size of its current community center with additional classrooms, an enlarged sanctuary and social hall, and most importantly a Mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath for women.

Some 7,500 Jews live in Brevard and Indian River counties, with the closest Mikvah 90 miles to the north or some 120 miles south, making its practice extremely difficult for the local Jewish women, according to the Chabad website. The Viera facility will provide local Jewish women the first opportunity to observe the mitzvah of Taharat Hamishpacha, family purity, within a reasonable distance of their homes.

The new Temple Israel of Brevard facility, being built next to the existing structure now owned by Chabad of Space and Treasure Coasts, is expected to be completed by the summer of 2020.

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