A special land use permit was issued last month for a planned Center for Jewish Life at Kennesaw State University three years after the property was purchased and two years after the zoning process began.
Now Chabad of Kennesaw is one step closer to breaking ground on its new home.
“This is a very exciting time for our community,” said Rabbi Zalman Charytan, who heads the Chabad with his wife Nechami. “The larger space will foster the continued growth of our Jewish student community.”
Charytan recalled that the zoning approval had many challenges including COVID-19 postponing the final approval for four months. The donors who helped purchase the property wish to remain anonymous and as the building construction gets underway.
The building will be two levels with flex space that will allow for bigger events instead of having to use tents for Shabbat and other events attracting more than 100 participants.
The property is two acres, with additional property next door, and a four-minute walk to additional parking.
The Chabad house will be located adjacent to the KSU campus and will serve as a home- away-from-home for KSU’s Jewish students, as well as a resource for the surrounding community.
“The new center will have so much to offer to everyone who comes through the door,” Rabbi Charytan said. He hails from Winnipeg, Canada, where his father was one of the Chabad rabbis. For 13 years the Charytans served KSU’s Jewish students from their home.
“At Chabad of Kennesaw, we pride ourselves on ensuring everyone feels welcome,” Nechami Charytan said.
Alumns agree with that sentiment. “Chabad has provided a welcoming, warm environment for Jewish students,” said Sasha Avchukov, who graduated KSU last year. “Throughout the past few years, I have seen the Jewish community grow exponentially. I think it’s important for Jewish students to have a community in college where they feel like they belong when they’re away from home. Having a Chabad center will create many more opportunities for new programs and enhance the Jewish experience for students by providing a larger and more comfortable space for Shabbat dinners, holidays, and all the wonderful events Chabad sponsors.”
Erick Mulicandov, a KSU alumnus, credits much of his Jewish spiritual growth to the Charytans. “When I heard the news, I couldn’t have been more excited. We’ve been waiting for this for years, and when I heard the news that the zoning was in place, I was ecstatic,” he said. “There’s already so much going on at the Kennesaw Chabad Jewish Center, and this will enable that to continue to grow.”
Mulicandov and Avchukov said that Chabad was an integral part of their experience as Jewish students at KSU. “I walked in as a student and came out with a deeper feeling about my Judaism,” Mulicandov said. “Being involved in the programs, and helping to share the inspiration with other students, was so meaningful to me.”
Avchukov added, “Chabad completely changed my college experience for the better. Every week I was excited to attend Shabbat dinners and see all my friends. Participating in Sinai Scholars [a program that Charytan helped found] inspired me to learn more about Judaism and continue learning after school. Becoming Chabad president gave me invaluable leadership skills, and I found a passion for building relationships and Jewish community. I grew as a Jew and I grew as a person, and for that I am deeply grateful to Rabbi and Nechami.”
Intown Chabad Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman said of his colleague, “Rabbi Charytan is an Atlanta hero, persevering in the face of tremendous challenges and doing tremendous work at KSU.”
The new Chabad house is the latest example. Those instrumental in securing zoning were Attorney J. Kevin Moore of Moore, Ingram Johnson & Steele; Dr. Carol Holtz, KSU parent Chip Koplin, Mark Haldane of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell.
The architect and consultants for the land planning and building design were Clarence Vincent of PFVS, Pete Bilson of Bilson & Associates, and Gaskins engineering.
To learn more about the new center and for dedication opportunities, contact Rabbi Charytan at email@example.com or 770-870-4447.
- Center for Jewish Life
- Kennesaw State University
- Chabad of Kennesaw
- rabbi zalman charytan
- Nechami Charytan
- Sasha Avchukov
- Erick Mulicandov
- Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman
- Chabad Intown
- Attorney J. Kevin Moore
- Ingram Johnson & Steele
- Dr. Carol Holtz
- Chip Koplin
- Mark Haldane
- University System of Georgia Board of Regents
- JoAnn Birrell
- Clarence Vincent
- Pete Bilson
- Bilson & Associates