It has taken more than a decade, but the David & Rose Celler Princeton Chabad Center is finally open on Route 206. The organization, formerly located in a house on Route 27, has moved in to its new digs, in time for Passover.
“We will have full Seders on April 19 and 20,” said Rabbi David Dubov, the director of Chabad of Greater Mercer County. “They are open to the community and we hope to welcome many people.”
The two buildings on 18.46 acres are across Route 206 (State Road) from Griggs Farm. There is plenty of room for Friday night and Saturday morning services, Sunday morning Hebrew school classes, and adult education sessions. There is a large multi-purpose room. A bride’s room and guest rooms are on the upper floor, for people who want to spend the night.
Dubov is especially proud of the new mikvah, or ritual bath. “Most mikvahs have tiles, but this is all marble,” he said. “It was donated to us by an Italian company in Trenton, Stone Tech Fabrication. It’s the beautiful marble that makes it unique.”
Chabad of Princeton purchased the land for the new location in 2004. The official opening is set for September 22, when a big celebration in honor of Dr. Leonard Baum will be held. In the meantime, Dubov is looking forward to a large turnout at the upcoming Seders, for which guests can sign up at princetonchabad.org.
“My goal is that this edifice should reach and enrich as many Jews as possible,” said Dubov. “That’s our greatest joy, to reach people physically and spiritually.”
Chabad is an alternative to traditional Jewish affiliation, described on chabad.org as “a major movement within mainstream Jewish tradition with its roots in the Chassidic movement of the 18th century.” There are nine local branches of Chabad, including South Brunswick, Monroe Township, the Windsors, Hamilton/Robbinsville, The College of New Jersey, Princeton University, the Friendship Circle of Greater Mercer County, Princeton, and Lawrenceville.
“The policy of Chabad is to tell people they don’t need to be members of pay dues, though people do give charity,” said Dubov. “We love all Jews equally. We don’t believe in Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox classifications. These are names that sometimes divide our people.”
Chabad is an acronym in Hebrew for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, Dubov said. The organization is currently involved in helping the elderly victims of the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. “We want to serve the elderly here and in communities all over,” Dubov said. “That is a big part of our mission.”