After nine years at 600 Oak Circle, Chabad at UCF co-directors have purchased a two-acre lot near campus that will soon house its new $3 million Campus Center, along with its ever-expanding membership — one that has grown from 80 to 1,000 since 2007.
Rabbi Chaim and Rivkie Lipskier plan to build an almost 15,000-square-foot Campus Center next to University House on Alafaya Trail that will include an auditorium, student lounges, a library, an industrial kitchen, overnight suites and a synagogue in place of its current property, where "students spill out of the outgrown facilitates," according to a press release.
“The purchase of the property is the first step in a new wonderful chapter of Jewish life at UCF,” Chaim Lipskier said in the release. “We outgrew our current location years ago and the new center will allow us to provide expanded programming to reach even more students.”
The plan to build a permanent home for the group was secured through a lead grant from philanthropists Morris and Lilian Tabacinic, with help from Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky at Chabad Campus International. Donations were also made by alumni, parents and community members, in addition to a loan from the Jewish Capital Alliance.
Chabad at UCF connects with 1,300 students and faculty each year through events such as weekly Shabbat meals, Chabad’s Birthright program to Israel, advanced Torah studies and weekly kosher barbecues.
Chabad at UCF is one of 230 existing Chabad on Campus groups, the largest network of full-time professionally staffed Jewish campus centers in the world.
Rosie Reitze is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @rosie_ucf or email her at RosieR@centralfloridafuture.com.