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The Jewish Center in Tallahassee is starting to rebuild

Posted at 6:54 PM, Nov 23, 2022

After a May fire destroyed the Tallahassee Jewish Center, they are now working to rebuild.

"We never stopped operating for one moment. We kept offering our services despite all the challenges from our home, from our car port, from tents, from every possible place that we could do it," said Rabbi Schneur Oirechman.

Oirechman has been serving the 4,500 Jewish students at FSU and other Jewish members in the community in an untraditional way for the last six months.

The Chabad of Tallahassee and FSU was destroyed from a fire back in May. According to Rabbi Schneur Oirechman, he said the Fire Marshall ruled it an accidental fire.

They're now working to start construction on a new center. "A lot of work ahead, but we're only looking ahead. We're not looking back, not even for one moment," said Oirechman.

On Monday, the first phase of construction began with the demolition of the old building. They're now clearing the rubble for modular buildings to be brought in until the permanent building is finished.

However, they've had a hard time funding the projects. Rabbi Oirechman said their bank is asking for them to pay off the mortgage of the old building immediately before they can move forward.

They're now continuing to ask for donations to help pay for the modules coming in December. Although it's been challenging, the support from the community is helping him move forward.

"We had a big help from the community so that was the good part, the light. Seeing so many people, Jewish and non-Jewish, come together to support us and help us to start from scratch," said Oirechman.

Rabbi Oirechman said they're looking to submit plans for the new 15,000 square foot building to an architect.

He estimates the New Jewish center will take two years to build and cost around $10 million to include a social hall for 300 people, a sanctuary and a place for students to have meals and study.

Chana Oirechamn is looking forward to seeing the building become a beacon of light for the community. "Seeing the life that's going to be in the building. It's going to be a home away from home for every Jewish student, for every single member of the Jewish community."

Rabbi Oirechman said they're looking to start construction by next summer.