Beis Rebbe Campus

Copyright Rabbi Eli Hecht
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Almost 25 years ago I arrived in California to an area called South Bay.   At that time the only Jewish house of prayer was a Conservative shul that met in a church.  A larger Reform temple was in a nearby city and the temple was so assimilated that it was closed on Shabbos.  Strangely, it was shomer Shabbos, as it did not have enough people show an interest in the Shabbos day service.

Our job was to start a Chabad  Talmud Torah and small minyan.  Imagine, we had only 18 families and a small amount of pledges but, we had a large amount of courage and a greater amount of emunah, faith.  We knew we would be able to accomplish our needed work by being persistent and relying on the blessings of the Rebbe.  And so Chabad of South Bay was created.  Our first minyan was Rosh Hashanah, 1973.  Each year that went by, more children and families learned about Yiddishkeit.  A Shabbos minyan grew into a twice-a-week weekday minyan.  From a mere eight people attending a service on Shabbos, it grew into 20 people.  Then slowly to 30 people and we saw our minyan grow to 50 attendees.  Today, 25 years later, there are close to 100 people and over 50 children.  There is a daily minyan and even some evening minyonim.  As time went by we opened a second minyan in the nearby Palos Verdes area. 

The Talmud Torah that started with less than 25 children has now blossomed into a full day school.  Our school, thank G‑d, has close to 100 children with 80 full time students.  At first we had a kindergarten for my little children. After all, they needed a place to study Torah.  Then, after that first year, we added a class a year.

But we realized that we needed to start involving younger children in a Torah environment since the sponge years are the most important ones.  Starting in kindergarten seemed to be too late already, so we added a younger class. And the year after that we added an older class.  And so we grew. We started a first grade with a pre-K, then a second grade and a nursery, then a third grade and a toddler class.  Then we added a fourth grade.

And, in addition, we decided to open an infant program.  We opened the first California State licensed Jewish infant program for the entire state.  It was a great Kiddush Hashem seeing little babies of 6 - 8 months being brought to school and being nourished in a Torah environment hearing Shema Yisroel, learning the song "Torah Torah" and being loved by shomer Shabbos instructors. Now, we have added a fifth grade class and we were faced with the challenge of finding space for all these students. 

In the tenth year of our existence we built our first building which contained some classrooms and a synagogue. Around that time, the Lubavitcher Rebbe asked that mikvas be opened and named after his mother, the Rebbetzin Chana.  So, this first building included the first mikva in the South Bay.  It was an instant hit and, Boruch Hashem, we have 20 or 30 women who use the mikva on a monthly basis. In our fourteenth year we built our second building which increased our classroom capabilities and providing room for a library.  We have now, Boruch Hashem, grown out of both.  This is our 25th year and we have just bought a large bank building that is located adjacent to our shul.  The building is sitting on one acre of land and is completely ready for us to utilize. 

I realized that over the past 25 years we have helped thousands of Jewish people find Yiddishkeit.  They and their children have been blessed by the Rebbe.  Some have had the zechus, the merit, to see and spend time by the Rebbe and even speak to the Rebbe.  There are those that have visited the Rebbe and received his blessings with a dollar bill while others have been answered by the Rebbe in letters and so forth. 

How can the South Bay show appreciation to the Rebbe?  I want to give honor to the Rebbe.  I want the Rebbe's name to be alive in the minds of the many Jews that the Rebbe blessed. We all know that the Rebbe's blessings came true as our community has produced the finest young men and women who, themselves, are involved with the work of Lubavitch by being teachers and mentors.  So how can we honor the Rebbe for all his blessings and concerns for Yiddishkeit worldwide, especially here in the South Bay?  I believe that this can be done by naming the new building and campus with a special name. 

Chabad of South Bay of Torrance/Lomita, CA is happy to announce that we are naming the new building and property Beis Rebbe Campus.  It will house a new shul, classrooms, an adult study hall, a special senior citizen's area and an area for hot meals and more.  This is a great endeavor that we are undertaking and I am sure that this building, the third for our Chabad, will brings nachas to the Rebbe. Most of all that we, the Jewish people in South Bay, carry out the dream of the Rebbe that no Jew should be left uneducated and unaccounted for and that speedily and surely we will meet Moshiach.  Amen.