Vermont: Shliach to Convert Barn into Chabad House



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    Vermont: Shliach to Convert Barn into Chabad House

    “Insulation, electricity, furnishing,” said Rabbi Avrohom Raskin, director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Brattleboro. “It’s really not as daunting as starting from scratch.” His group purchased the property on Dec. 15. Raskin said about $100,000 was raised for the effort, mostly from local community members. People were so excited to give and participate and make this a reality,” he said. “It’s a community space” • Full Story

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    There’s a list of essential items needed to turn a barn on Upper Dummerston Road into a Jewish temple.

    “Insulation, electricity, furnishing,” said Rabbi Avrohom Raskin, director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Brattleboro. “It’s really not as daunting as starting from scratch.”

    His group purchased the property on Dec. 15. Raskin said about $100,000 was raised for the effort, mostly from local community members.

    “People were so excited to give and participate and make this a reality,” he said. “It’s a community space.”

    A fundraising campaign for the renovations is underway. Information can be found at ChabadBrattleboro.org/donate.

    Michael Hoffman sold the 11-acre farm where Raskin now lives in a house with his family. Hoffman estimates the two-floor barn built in the mid-1990s is about 2,000 square feet.

    Raskin said engineers will be hired to help come up with a plan that includes accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Also, the hope is to eventually have a community garden and a kosher deli. Raskin expects to export the meat from New York or somewhere else rather than running a slaughterhouse onsite.

    “Especially for Passover, we know people who will drive hours to find unique Jewish food, and that we want to provide here, God willing,” he said.

    Hoffman and Raskin have been friends for a few years. Hoffman participates in some of the community activities organized by the center.

    “I’m hoping this can be the most amicable, enthusiastic and friendly purchase that’s around,” he said, having helped with different aspects of the transition.

    Hoffman said he wanted to “downsize and simplify” during the COVID-19 pandemic. He relocated somewhere closer to downtown.

    He said he felt the center would provide “new life” and “the right life” to the property.

    “It’s a little bit of closing the circle,” said Raskin.

    His great grandparents came to Vermont in 1914 and his great grandfather served as a rabbi in Barre.

    “My family has been spreading Judaism in Vermont for 100 years,” said Raskin, whose parents moved to Burlington in the 1980s. “We’re continuing in Vermont to build Jewish infrastructure and to celebrate Jewish life here.”

    Raskin’s wife is from Brooklyn, N.Y., where the couple lived for two years after getting married. His father, who serves as regional director of the Chabad of Vermont, asked if they wanted to come to southern Vermont as they searched for a place to open a Chabad center in the U.S.

    Seeing a need for a center in the local community, Raskin’s family arrived in Brattleboro about 10 years ago. He said he “always had a special love for Vermont.”

    For now, due to the pandemic, some of the center’s activities are happening in the house. Others are being held via Zoom.

    Raskin described “the Chabad experience” being a team effort in which his wife and children interact with members of the center and work on its mission alongside him. He said the new property would be perfect for that model.

    Hoffman recalled Raskin telling him, “I got five kids. They’ll love it.”

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    Vermont: Shliach to Convert Barn into Chabad House



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