Chabad Intown is trying to raise $300,000 in 24 hours in an all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign, in part to support the outreach organization’s expansion into Decatur and Midtown.
“A Jew is never allowed to rest. We’ve got to grow,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, Chabad Intown’s director.
The It’s Time to Grow online fundraising campaign runs from 1 p.m. Wednesday to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14 and 15, and follows campaigns that raised $50,000, $200,000 and $250,000, respectively, the past three years.
Rabbi Schusterman must bring in $75,000 through www.charidy.com/itstime during the 24 hours. One individual and two groups will each match each donation dollar for dollar, turning $75,000 into $300,000.
The quadruple effect gives each donation during the campaign a powerful impact, the rabbi said, although if he falls short of the $75,000 goal, all the pledges are canceled. Volunteers promoting the campaign on social media should help meet the goal.
Most of what is raised will fund operations for Chabad Intown, which has operated in Atlanta for more than 18 years and has been independent of Chabad of Georgia and the official Chabad-Lubavitch movement since the middle of last year.
Some of the money will support what Rabbi Schusterman called growth opportunities.
One of those is in Decatur, where he and Rabbi Ari Sollish have run programming for years, such as a menorah lighting that drew 140 people to Decatur Square last Chanukah.
They also draw a lot of people from Decatur to classes and events at Chabad Intown’s center at 928 Ponce de Leon Ave., Rabbi Schusterman said. That’s only three miles from Decatur Square, “but traffic on Ponce can get quite crazy.”
In response to the Decatur community’s needs, he said, Chabad Intown will launch Chabad of Decatur with a website where people can say what they need and want. It will start with an after-school program and classes in homes. “When the time is right,” the rabbi said, “we’ll incorporate some kind of facility.”
While the Decatur target audience is young professionals and young families, Chabad Intown will be looking for empty-nesters and retirees with its launch of Chabad of Midtown.
Those groups make up almost a third of the Jewish people moving into the city, and they’re people who have the time and freedom to get out during the evening, Rabbi Schusterman said. They’re also separated from the synagogues they once belonged to in the suburbs or out of town, so they need not only Torah study, but also social opportunities.
Those social events, which Rabbi Schusterman sees as crucial to keep those empty-nesters and retirees engaged with the Jewish community, will increasingly be held away from Chabad Intown in spaces that aren’t necessary Jewish.
Chabad Intown — including the Intown Jewish Academy, which celebrated its 10th birthday in September; the Intown Jewish Preschool, which, in addition to the Reggio Emilia philosophy, is incorporating the conscious discipline approach to enhance the social emotional component of the overall curriculum; and YJP Atlanta — launched a young adult mentorship program under Mark Lewin in September. Each of the 20 participants has an industry mentor for a year.
Having worked out some of the kinks in the program, Rabbi Schusterman said he plans to add another 30 young adults to the mentorship program in late February or early March.