Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pool an attraction of new Chabad

For The Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/26/08

Jewish residents in north metro Atlanta will celebrate the grand opening of a community center built by Chabad of Alpharetta to accommodate a growing children's program. The new facility will feature a swimming pool, a "kiddie" pool with water play area, a sports field and a Mikvah, a ritual pool.

"The emphasis is on the children. That's really our big draw," said Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz, Chabad's director. Camp Gan Israel, a summer day camp, will extensively use the new facility.

The upscale touches of the Mikvah include a spa-like environment, heated floor tiles and a high-tech filtration system.

"We teach Jewish traditions at each individual's level," the rabbi said of the Mikvah. "We try to make the richness of our heritage easily available and in a respectable way."

The event is set for noon on Sunday. Recently, Minkowicz responded to questions about the new facility and the Chabad organization.

Q. What should a visitor know about Chabad of Alpharetta?

A. Chabad is unique in that our aim is to reach all Jews regardless of their religious background or affiliation and help enrich their Jewish experience. We offer many educational opportunities for people in addition to synagogue services, so someone may attend another synagogue and come to us for an adult education class or for a holiday enrichment program for their children. One does not need to be a member to participate in Chabad programs.

Q. What is your most effective ministry or outreach program?

A. For the adults, our most effective outreach is education. We offer many classes on all levels for Jews to advance their knowledge. For the children, our summer camp has been the most effective. Last year we had 225 children.

Q. Is there something unique or unusual about Chabad of Alpharetta?

A. We have a Web site,, because we are a synagogue center that has a swimming pool. Our Chabad center is unique in that we have a wonderful blend of programming and services for Jews of all ages and levels of affiliation.

Q.What does the future hold for Chabad of Alpharetta?

A. Great things are in store. We expect to continue growing all our youth-related programs and the adult education offerings. And ... one day very soon we will have a new big educational center where we can continue serving the community in the best possible way.

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