New Center in Bucks County

by Fay Kranz Greene - BUCKS COUNTY, PA

November 19, 2004

“If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”-- William Penn

When William Penn purchased a vast tract of land in Pennsylvania from the Indians, about 350 years ago, it is a safe bet that his vision for the area did not include a Chabad center in the heart of the city that would practice, in fact, what Penn preached in theory.

The new Lubavitch Glazier Jewish Center will soon open its doors in the city of Newtown. Located in Bucks County, a bedroom community of Philadelphia, it boasts a charming walking area of homes, landmark residences, museums and boutiques and it is in this historic setting that Lubavitch of Bucks County is planning for the future.

Renovation is under way on an 18,500 square foot building which formerly housed a Baptist church and a grand opening is slated for the spring. The building will provide a valuable comprehensive space for the many ongoing activities of Lubavitch in Bucks County. It will include administrative offices, classrooms for children and adult education, a social hall for holiday and outreach programming, a Judaic library and a mikveh.

“At this point, we have activities all over the place” says Rabbi Yehuda Shemtov, who with his wife Miriam, directs Chabad Lubavitch of Bucks County. “We have children’s enrichment programs in one rented space, offices in another and the activity center in a third. We’re scattered all over town. The new Glazier Center will let us put all of our activities in one beautiful space.”

Shemtov’s vision for the new center is one where “people will just drop in, like family. We want to expand the library to have more of a coffee café atmosphere.” Shemtov is clearly excited about the location of the building. “What’s so unique is that there is a lot of walk-in traffic and no parking lot to intimidate people about coming in. Whenever I’ve had occasion to be there recently, I found that people were stopping in to say hello. This center is a gift from heaven for us.”

It is also the gift of Jason and Nathalie Glazier, who made a major donation at the beginning of the campaign and energized the purchase process. The Glaziers were honored at an awards dinner last week celebrating thirteen years of Lubavitch Chabad in Bucks County. More than 1500 people attended the event which also featured a concert by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman.

“To see the outpouring of support at this Bar-Mitzvah Gala, was inspirational” says Jack Miller, a Bucks County resident who remembers the humble beginnings of Lubavitch of Bucks County, "when barely a handful of people attended the first Chanukah menorah lighting.”

The staff of Lubavitch in Bucks County includes Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein, education director and Rosie Weinstein, director of the Aura Women’s League and the Bat Mitzvah Club.

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