SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //
Chabad of Georgia/Congregation Beth Tefillah embarked on a new and exciting chapter in its history with the recent groundbreaking for a major expansion of its campus in Sandy Springs. Rabbis, city representatives, donors and supporters dug the first ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt on Dec. 2 at the groundbreaking event, which marked the beginning of construction on the Jeff and Carrla Goldstein Youth and Education Center.
Children attending the party painted tiles that will be featured in the new building while adults enjoyed brunch and schmoozed. Ian Ratner, CBT president and head of the building’s steering committee, kicked off the event by welcoming approximately 300 supporters, donors and volunteers who helped to make the dream a reality.
Phil Cuba, head of the construction committee, thanked the professionals who made the construction possible: architects from Collins Cooper Carusi Architects, builders from Gay Construction and Regions Bank. Karen Meinzen McEnerny, representing the Sandy Springs City Council, spoke about the impact Chabad and the Chaya Mushka Children’s House have on the community, noting the importance of instilling children with religious values.
The party then moved outside, where golden shovels and hard-hats were props for the ceremony. Rabbi Yossi New, Chabad of Georgia’s Executive Director and Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Tefillah, opened the speeches by connecting the ceremony to this week’s Torah portion about dreams and making dreams come to fruition. He thanked everyone in the crowd for making this dream come true.
Jeff Goldstein, lead patron of the project, stressed that his reason for his involvement is to invest in Jewish education and future generations. Finally, the children attending really “launched” the project by launching balloons in the air.
“This is really a community-changing project and a truly exciting time for the Atlanta Jewish Community,” Rabbi Isser New, Associate Director of Chabad of Georgia, said. “Construction should begin this month, and with a little divine intervention, could be done by the High Holidays.”
The final stage of the expansion – pending available funds – will be a state-of-the-art women’s mikvah.