Clearwater Chabad adds land, starts building campaign
Chabad of Clearwater, led by Rabbi Levi and Miriam Hodakov, has announced the purchase of additional property and plans for an expansion of its facilities.
At the end of February, Chabad purchased a vacant 1.25-acre lot adjacent to its headquarters, the Tabacinic Chabad Center, on Belleair Road a little east of Belcher Road. Combined, the Chabad grounds now comprise 2.5 acres.
According to Rabbi Hodakov, growing attendance at programs and services caused Chabad to look for more space.
In conjunction with the expansion plans, Chabad of Clearwater has launched a $1.5 million building campaign.
Initial plans for the expanded campus call for the construction of a new center to meet the needs of the Jewish community. Rabbi Hodokov is hoping for construction of a shul with seating for up to 200, a mikvah, an expanded kosher store, new kosher restaurant with take-out available for Shabbat and holidays, a library and weekday shul. Also in the plans is a commercial kitchen, kiddush social room, classrooms, offices, outdoor Sukkah and kiddush pavilion with seating for 150, and a playground.
If additional funding is made available, Chabad would like to include a 30-seat movie theater, a fitness room and a special room dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, stocked with books, videos and related materials.
Rabbi Hodakov said he is not daunted by the prospects of what he says is his biggest project ever.
“Eleven years after packing our bags and moving to Pinellas County together with Rebbetzin Miriam and our growing family as emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, we are committed more than ever to reach out with Ahavat Yisroel to each and every member of the community – young, old and in between.” Rabbi Hodakov said.
“I am very optimistic about the state of Jewish life in the area and look forward to expanding all of the current programs and activities that we offer. With the new center we will begin offering new programs too. When the new Jewish demographic survey is released I sincerely believe there will be a lot of positive surprises, including the number of Jews really living in the area,” he said.
“Its really amazing. Not a week goes by without a new person coming into the Chabad center,” Rebbetzin Miriam Hodakov said.
Thanks to a group of dedicated donors led by local philanthropists Marvin and Linda Feldman, the initial $350,000 of donations by community members to the project will be matched dollar-for-dollar.
«We have attended many enjoyable and informative events at Chabad of Clearwater over the past few years and have seen that Jews of all levels of observance are warmly welcomed. We hope the greater community will contribute generously to the continued growth of the Chabad facility here in Clearwater,» the Feldmans said in a joint statement.
Yvette Sussman, a longtime resident of Clearwater and member of Chabad said, «It is exciting for me, we are now going to have much needed space for educational programs – classes for men, women and youth. Educational programs are so very important for us,» she said. «I ask the community to come together in generously supporting the new Chabad Center which will be home away from home for everyone in the community now and for future generations.»
Rabbi Hodakov summed it up. “The Chabad movement has been serving the community for nearly 30 years now. We have more than proven that we are here for everyone and I’m confident that everyone will be here for us now and generously support this project so that we can continue until the coming of Moshiach.”
Meetings with local architects are currently underway and a groundbreaking is scheduled for the fall.
Numerous sponsorship and dedications are available. For more information or to make a donation, log on to www.JewishClearwater.com or call Rabbi Hodokov at (727) 265-2770.