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Rutgers Chabad Raises $1M to Cut Mortgage in Half
As printed in the Jewish Link
By Debra Rubin | December 15, 2022


Rutgers University Chabad will be able to cut in half the outstanding debt remaining on its $6 million mortgage after raising about $1 million at the 44th National Founder’s Anniversary Dinner.

All of the money raised at the annual dinner, held Dec. 6 at Chabad House, is being earmarked toward the mortgage, with the goal of paying it off next year, according to Executive Director Rabbi Yosef Carlebach.

“The past three years have been the toughest and we approached a number of people with the goal of putting the mortgage away,” said Rabbi Carlebach noting the struggle with the lasting economic effects of the pandemic.

At the onset of COVID-19 with most classes virtual and few students on campus, Chabad kept its men’s and women’s dorms open at only 12 percent of capacity, as well as its facilities and kosher dining room. The dorms are now full.

Now Chabad faces a new economic threat with rising interest rates. Rabbi Carlebach explained that the bank would not provide the entire mortgage at a fixed rate and the $1.8 million that remains is all variable, making it a priority to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid a sharp hike in interest increasing the debt.

“Each and every one of you here has heard of the important work of Chabad,” said dinner master of ceremonies Jerry Zaro. “Chabad is embracing hope and its mission is to provide Jewish culture and a Jewish home for Jewish students at Rutgers University.”

During the dinner it was announced that beginning with the spring semester kosher takeout sandwiches and meals would be available through the university’s meal plan on all New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses. The food will be subsidized by Chabad and be the same price point as other dining hall and takeout offerings. “This has been in the works for a long time and we thank Rutgers University and President (Jonathan) Holloway for their cooperation,” said Rabbi Carlebach.

It was also announced that a Sephardic Torah will be written in memory of Donald Hecht, Rutgers Chabad longtime honorary chair, who died several weeks before the dinner. Additionally, all Torah study next semester will be in his honor. The project will be spearheaded by Harry Adjmi of Deal and Brooklyn.

Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner, both of District 11 in Monmouth County, presented Rabbi Carlebach with a proclamation passed by the State Assembly in Hecht’s honor.

The dinner, which was attended by about 600 people, also honored “crypto pioneer” Brock Pierce, chair of the Brock Pierce Foundation, who endowed the men’s and women’s residence halls at Chabad in honor of Edward and Cecile Mosberg, and Eitan Itzkowitz, a 2014 graduate of the university who was active in Chabad while a student and remains a strong supporter of Chabad House.

Pierce, who was also honored at last year’s Chabad dinner, is not Jewish but has become a major supporter of Chabad and other Jewish causes. Chabad House Administrator Rabbi Mendy Carlebach said Chabad introduced Pierce to Edward Mosberg, who died Sept. 21 at age 96 and who survived the Plaszow and Mauthausen concentration camps. Mosberg rescued, refurbished and donated 22 Holocaust Torahs to synagogues and schools in New York and New Jersey, to the Israeli military and Yad Vashem, and forged ties with his native Poland.

At last year’s Chabad dinner, where a cornerstone was dedicated in memory of his wife of 72 years, Cecile—an Auschwitz survivor he met in the camps—Mosberg received the Ner Tamid Award.

At Mosberg’s funeral Pierce told Rabbi Mendy Carlebach he wanted to make a donation in the couples’ memory and it was decided to name the dorms after them through Pierce’s endowment.

Pierce spoke of the “noble and passionate” life of Mosberg and the close bond they formed as well as his own love of the people, mission and activities of Chabad House.

Itzkowitz, who now works for a private equity firm and lives in New York City, is a volunteer adult literacy tutor and on the board of Hosteling international, USA.

 

 


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