The new Librescu Chabad Jewish Student Center opened its door at Virginia Tech in a ceremony timed to coincide with memorial events marking the first anniversary of a gunman's rampage through the Blacksburg, Va., campus.
Named after slain Professor Liviu Librescu, who sacrificed his life by blocking the door to his classroom so that his students could escape, the center, directed by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Elazar and Rivkah Bloom, occupies the former L'arche Bed and Breakfast just off campus.
Elazar Bloom said that the center will provide a place of warmth, both physically and spiritually.
"That's something that a lot of students miss coming to college," he said. "They miss their home, so have a really warm, welcoming family is something in itself. The door is always open here."
The Blooms began working with Jewish students at Virginia Tech soon after the 2007 massacre. They were appointed as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries by Rabbi Yossel Kranz, the Richmond-based co-director of Chabad of the Virginias, and Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, chairman of the Chabad on Campus International Foundation and vice chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch – the education arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.