Chabad at Lehigh a Special Exception so he could move operations from 727 Evans Street to the old Kulick Funderal Home, located at 306 Wyandotte Street. Greenberg, his wife Yehudit and his three children will live in the upper level, but the rest of the building will serve as a Jewish student center and synagogue, with weekly social events, Shabbat dinners, classes and guest speakers.
Withe purchase and renovations, the total project cost is $1.1 million, with the money coming from private sources. Rabbi Greenberg explained that he would reduce parking to 18 spots, primarily because the building is located within walking distance for most Lehigh students, being only 0.3 miles from Lehigh Square. But there will be few exterior changes to what the Rabbi calls a "gorgeous historic landmark from 1866."
According to the Rabbi, Chabad is an acronym for three Hebrew words meaning wisdom, knowledge and understanding. He explained that lofty and Godly ideals are brought down in ways they could be understood, as well as bringing the mundane up. But it's also a place for students to experience their Jewish heritage in a home-like setting.
Greenberg credited his student board of directors with the program's success, claiming that the ideas come mostly from them. "It's been unbelievable!" he exclaimed. "This is our third move in three years." At Evans Street, Chabad at Lehigh has had to rent tents and borrow neighbors' back yards for some events.
Worldwide, there are 3,500 Chabads. Locally, Chabad of Lehigh Valley, located in Allentown, is geared to the community. Greenberg's group is more student-oriented. His official status with Lehigh is as an "outside adviser to a student group."
Nobody appeared in opposition to the zoning application. In fact, the owners of Sayre Mansion were on hand to lend their support.
When will he move in? Greenberg is hopeful that everything will be ready in tme for the Jewish High Holiday next year.
(Updated 11:00 AM)