Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bethlehem Zoners Bring Smile to Rabbi

No wonder he was smiling. After a quick twenty-minute hearing, Bethlehem zoners unanimously granted Rabbi Zalman Greenberg's 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)


Anonymous said...


Zorn said...

nice to see something positive done with that building

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful reuse of a structure. It also teaches city children about one of the world's oldest religions. A very good partnership.

Anonymous said...

Also, if this structure enjoys $1M
renovations, perhaps it will encourage others on the block to spruce up their properties too. Love to see lots of window boxes and real plants and old-fashioned street and structure lighting.

Anonymous said...

Private funds! How will they do it without government help?

Good work Rabbi, and thank you.

But if your spending a million on construction/renovation, beware of the inflatable rat crowd. They don't like it when you do things for yourself and skimp on the tribute.

Anonymous said...

Oy vey!

If those private funds are coming from the greedy 1%, they should be rejected and the place turned over to the 99% to squat indefinitely amid their filth.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Also, if this structure enjoys $1M renovations"

Actually, I just updated my post to indicate that the $1.1 MM will reflect purchase and renovations, not just renovations. I know the Rabbi is thrilled about making the place look nice, and will be putting in a staircase down the hill as well.

Zorn said...

inflatable rat crowd? are you talking about the greedy union pukes?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Zorn. Indeed.


Anonymous said...

zorn is an ass and clem is ron jr.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Why do you find it necessary to insult a politician's son? Is this the kind of civility you are bringing?

Zorn said...

i'm hurt bo - u didn't stand up for me

Anonymous said...

Are you saying calling Ron Jr "Clem" is an insult? As if, it would not be OK to be "Clem"?

Then I am insulted! Though it's perfectly OK by me to do that. I'm not one of those who can't take what I dish out.

For the record, I am not related to, nor have I ever met, Ron Angle. I, like many of this county, feel I have been the beneficiary of his service. Unfortunately, I could not return the favor by voting for him, as I'm in no-show McLure's district.

Just a middle class guy who does not hate people for being more succesful than me and who does not want to leave a debt laden high tax mess for my kids.

You need government, need something to save you from your sorry-ass, envious existence.

I guess we have to have losers in order to know who the winners are, and I'm not talking elections.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Zorn, you're on your own, dude. Besides, they say you're me.

Anonymous said...

That "loser" part was for 12:31 AM.

Zorn, keep fighting the good fight, though an uphill fight it is. Somehow I doubt you need standing up for.

Have a good weekend. Time to make my small contribution to the refilling of the trough!


Anonymous said...

It is no longer in doubt. Clem is in fact Ron jr.

I don't think anyone has a problem with a son defending his father, Nice cover story clem.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Then you must be Charles Dertinger.

BullVon said...

Chabad is a world-wide organization that among many, many other things, gives Jewish people a "place" to visit, when they are away from home, to re-connect with their homelife, traditions, celebrate the Sabbath or Holidays, or simply visit and enjoy a nice bowl of chicken soup.

The Chabad Rabbis, and their families dedicate themselves to helping others all over the world. After education, the Rabbis leave their homes, families and friends to help other Jews feel "home"

Welcome, Rabbi!!

Jordan Levy said...


What rabbi zalman has done for the lehigh student community is nothing shy of amazing. As a member of the board I commend the progress chabad at lehigh has made in the last several years. The jewish community at lehigh is extremely excited for chabad's new location that can adequately accommodate the hoards of students that any regular shabbat dinner attracts.