New Torah, New Home at Chabad of Downtown


On Sunday, March 5th, more than 150 friends and community members gathered to celebrate the completion of a Torah scroll and a Grand Opening for Chabad's new community center. The Sefer Torah, which was written in Israel, was donated by Mr. David Seitel, in memory of his parents.

"It's an honor for the community to have its very own Torah" Chabad of Downtown S. Diego's Rabbi Zalman Carlebach said.

The ceremony began with an incomplete page of the Torah as part of the tradition to have the community and its leaders write letters and witness the finished work. Sofer Rabbi Yosef Teitelbaum assisted guests with the inscription of the final letters. After the Torah was finished and the ink dried, all present walked in procession and with live band down Front Street to Island and Third Avenues. Downtown S. Diego has never seen such an event. Joyous Hakofos, dancing in the street and a delicious meal followed at the Chabad center.

Chabad Center of Downtown has been serving the Downtown Jewish Community for over a year with Jewish educational and social programs. Chabad seeks to strengthen the Jewish identity of the Downtown area Jewish community and to insure Jewish continuity among young Jews. Chabad's programs include: Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations, women's programs, adult education classes, and holiday services. One of their upcoming projects is to offer a Hebrew School program for Jewish students, which will be held at Harborside Elementary.

Chabad's director, Rabbi Zalman Carlebach, says he is looking forward to using the center's new location for adult education, weekly services, and increased programming in all areas. Chabad's activities for students and young professionals have grown in popularity since it's inception and the new location will allow it to increase its activities to meet the growing demand. Chabad's location, at the corner of Third and Island Avenues, will help the center continue to be at the heart of Jewish life in Downtown.

"This is the greatest thing that has ever happened in Downtown S. Diego," Carlebach said.