Gift of Land Helps Secure Future of Chabad Center



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    Gift of Land Helps Secure Future of Chabad Center

    The Chabad Jewish Center of S. Charles County has been gifted a 9.6-acre property by the family of a late supporter. “It’s a great location with lots of potential and at the heart of our young family community,” said Rabbi Chaim Landa, who with his wife, Bassy Landa, co-founded and directs the Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County near S. Louis • Full Story

    Midrivers News Magazine

    The Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County has been gifted a 9.6-acre property by the family of the late Leonard Kaplan.

    With deep family and business roots in St. Charles, Kaplan was widely admired for his work in the lumber and land development businesses. His grandfather founded Kaplan Lumber Company in 1926 and also hosted St. Charles’ first synagogue, meeting in a spare room in his home for Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

    The property site is centrally located at East Wabash Street and T.R. Hughes Boulevard in the city of O’Fallon, just minutes from Interstate 70.

    “It’s a great location with lots of potential and at the heart of our young family community,” said Rabbi Chaim Landa, who with his wife, Bassy Landa, co-founded and directs the Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County. “This extraordinary gift is a testament to the promising and very bright future for Jewish life in St. Charles County. Our hearts are filled with so much gratitude, appreciation and thanks.”

    Rabbi Yosef Landa, regional director of Chabad of Greater St. Louis added, “The Kaplan family began Jewish life in St. Charles several generations ago and we are beyond thankful that this legacy is continuing, to the great benefit of the thousands of Jews who reside in the county. I know Labe is looking down upon us and smiling and receiving so much joy.”

    While planning for the site is still in its very early stages, the organization has begun the process of assessing best uses for the land. It anticipates a multi-phase capital campaign in 2023 that will include a plan to incrementally develop the property as the community and its needs grow.

    The Jewish population in St. Charles County now numbers 5,800 people, making up nearly 10% of all Jews in the Greater St. Louis region. According to Landa, nearly as many Jews live in St. Charles County as live in Olivette and Ladue combined.

    The Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County was founded to create a space where people can come together, “meet new people, make meaningful connections and be inspired to do more good.” According to the 2021 Pew Study of American Jews, 38% of all U.S. Jews have engaged in some way with Chabad programs.

    The Chabad Jewish Center is currently leasing office space on Historic Main Street in Saint Charles, and hosts at-home gatherings as well as larger events in rented venues. Last year, the Center’s inaugural St. Charles Jewish Festival attracted more than 1,000 people to the Foundry Art Centre.

    “This gift is an absolute game changer for the growing Jewish community out here, allowing us to think big and plan for the future,” said Landa.

    County Executive Steve Ehlmann described the work of the Center and the land gift as “further evidence that St. Charles County is becoming a more diverse community.”

    “I welcome that development,” Ehlmann said. “We’re witnessing a Jewish revival in our county and that’s cause for celebration.”

    Ehlmann isn’t the only one celebrating. O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy said, “The Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County already is providing tremendous support for our city’s Jewish community, and I am honored to see them further cement their presence in our city and St. Charles County with the construction of their new center here in O’Fallon.”

    O’Fallon City Council member Dave Hinman (Ward 1) said, “I know I speak for the entire City Council when I say that I cannot wait for the doors to open on this new facility.”

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    Gift of Land Helps Secure Future of Chabad Center



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