The Chabad Israeli Center dedicated its new aron kodesh (holy ark) Sunday, Feb. 5, with more than 50 congregants and friends.

Michael and Etti Alon, joined by family from Florida, Maryland and Israel, were honored for donating the money for the ark. The center’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Mendy Gurary, said the Alons aren’t wealthy, “but they saw what was important and made this possible.”

The ark is the centerpiece of the renovation of the building at 4276 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven since the Chabad Israeli Center bought it in late 2015. The center aims to be a focal point for the estimated 15,000 Israelis in metro Atlanta.

The Alons dedicated the ark in honor of their four daughters, each of whom spoke briefly at the ceremony about a different characteristic of their parents. Lawyer Scott Kaplan said the Alons epitomize the three pillars of Jewish living: Torah study, prayer and acts of lovingkindness.

“The most wonderful thing I can say to you,” said Moshe Babad, who is Etti Alon’s brother and a Jerusalem resident, “is that when I’m here with you, I feel like I’m in Israel. This is a truly warm and open place.”