A gleaming new building that will serve as the flagship resource center for Chabad-Lubavitch of Be’er Sheva wowed spectators at its unveiling.

Completed with a large grant from Michael Mirilashvili in memory of his father, Moses Mirilashvili, the massive multi-story structure opened its doors last month.

“This is one of the largest Chabad House in the entire country,” said Rabbi Zalman Gorelik, director of the Chabad Center of Be’er Sheva since 1990. “I don’t mean a yeshiva or a synagogue, even though we do hold lectures and classes here. It’s a community center.”

Invitations to the ceremony, held during the intermediate days of Passover, were limited mostly to the Mirilashvili family. Georgian Chief Rabbi Moshe Michlashvili addressed attendees, as did Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, chief rabbi of Migdal HaEmek in Israel’s north, and Rabbi Yaakov Gagolshvili, spiritual leader of a congregation in the coastal city of Ashdod.

Festivities included a special musical performance by six of Moses Mirilashvili’s grandchildren alongside Chasidic singer Mendy Gerofi.

Guests gathered for the affixing of a mezuzah on the center’s doorpost and then joyously accompanied a new Torah scroll into the building’s synagogue.

The Be’er Sheva center is the largest Chabad House in Israel.
The Be’er Sheva center is the largest Chabad House in Israel.

They ended the day with a sumptuous dinner and addresses by Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Aharonov, chairman of the umbrella organization of Chabad-Lubavitch in Israel.

“A Chabad House is central to Jewish life in a community for many reasons,” said Gorelik. “We have a synagogue in the building, a dining room, a children’s library, and facilities for learning. We operate as a focal point for resources for Jews who need their questions answered.”

Pointing to those who will walk through the center, he said its purpose is to spread light.

“They are the lamplighters,” he smiled, “the people who illuminate the path for others.”