First build the community, now building that community a home

Monroe. More than 200 people gathered for Chabad of Orange County’s groundbreaking celebration for its new $3 million campus in the Village of Monroe.

| 30 May 2021 | 01:44

Chabad of Orange County, led by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, held a groundbreaking celebration Sunday, May 23, marking the construction that began for the new Chabad Campus.

Located on Gilbert Street, in the heart of the Village of Monroe, the campus is just off of Route 17, making it easily accessible to all of Orange County, which Chabad serves.

Seven-acre campus

The foundation has already been poured for the 10,000 square-foot, $3 million-dollar building. The state-of-the-art center will include a synagogue/social hall, Kosher commercial kitchen, library, teen lounge, classrooms, staff suite, offices, Sukkah/pergola terrace and patio. The seven-acre campus will include the building, ample parking, playground and recreation areas as well as rabbi’s residence.

‘Yidle by yidle’

More than 200 gathered to celebrate the milestone event, from all corners of Orange County.

“Together, for 17 years, we built a community, but we didn’t have a home to put it in,” explained Rabbi Burston as he greeted the crowd.

The foundation of a building is not cement, he added, but a community.

“Chabad’s modus-operandi is unique,” the rabbi continued. “Many synagogues start with a community and look for a rabbi. Chabad started with a rabbi and then looked to establish a community. Little by little – or yidle by yidle – since 2004, we grew into a full-service, flourishing, dynamic and vibrant center for Jewish life, attracting people from all corners of the county.”

Chabad served the community through various rental spaces and halls.

“It felt like the wandering Jews; we had an identity, but no permanent structure. Now, we are finally building this ‘house’ to put it in! A place where everything can be under one roof.”


Rabbi Yisroel Rubin of Albany, Chabad Regional Director of Eastern New York State and the Capital District, read a letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. A Prayer for Israel was led by Monroe resident Guy Einav, a former sergeant in the Israel Defense Force. Dr. Yasmine Kalkstein, a professor at West Point Military Academy, spoke how Chabad always finds creative ways to make Judaism engaging and relevant in today’s day and age – even during the pandemic.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus and Village of Monroe Mayor Neil Dwyer also spoke of the impact of Chabad on the Orange County has had on the community.

‘Our future’

Chana Burston introduced the students of Chabad Hebrew School “who are the future” and awarded each student for their accomplishment during this past year in Hebrew School (which was offered both in-person and online).

Rabbi Pesach encouraged participants to become partners of the new center by dedicating and donating by visiting

About Chabad of Orange County

Chabad of Orange County offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information, contact Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, directors, at 845-782-2770, or visit