Faced with ever-rising antisemitism, Rabbi Mendel & Chaya Assouline respond by building a new Chabad house.
In September 2011, Rabbi Mendel and Mrs. Chaya Assouline left Crown Heights, New York, in order to bring the light of the Rebbe’s Shlichus to the 9th district of Marseille, France – despite the hostile climate towards French Jewry.
Marseille is the second biggest town in France, and the second biggest Jewish community of the country as well.
Starting from scratch, going from door to door, teaching Torah and Judaism, launching a Cteen program – right after their arrival, they quickly realized the huge spiritual needs of the community.
As of today, more than 450 kids register every year for the Camp Gan Israel organized together with Rabbi & Mrs. Altabé, shluchim to the 8th district of Marseille.
Rabbi Assouline is also the chaplain of 4 major hospitals in the town, assisting sick people and their families in their hardships.
While the activities were growing, the need for a space for the community was truly increasing.
Here is the fascinating story of how they got the lot for their community center:
“While searching for a lot, we find a 3700 sq ft lot on sale. Right after asking a bracha to the Rebbe, I read a letter in the Igros Kodesh where the Rebbe gives his blessing to someone for buying a lot, while suggesting him to buy a bigger one. I sign a sale commitment with the owner. A month later, he stands down from the agreement. A short while after, I get a phone call from someone letting me know about a 6000 sq ft lot on sale. I ask a bracha to the Rebbe, and meanwhile, I’m told that the previous 3700 sq ft lot was a scam: we were not legally allowed to build on it. At this moment, I saw the Rebbe’s bracha materializing.”
The construction of the building was obstructed with three lawsuits, motivated by antisemitism. With G-d’s help, on the day of Purim 2017 we came out victorious and started the construction in January 2018.
By the end of next week, the major part of the building construction will be completed; the final touches will be done within the next six months.
This building will host, with G-d’s help, a day nursery, a state of the art women’s mikvah, a men’s mikvah, classrooms for our Hebrew School, a modern kitchen – where we could cook kosher meals for the children in public schools – a gym and a dedicated room for Cteen programs.
It will also host a hall for all kinds of activities, as well as a studying place for teaching Torah classes and JLI courses; and of course, a spacious synagogue.
Also, the antisemitic atmosphere forces us to allocate a large percentage of expenses for the security of the building.
The cost of the project comes close to 2 million dollars. The generous donors and the mortgage already covered a great amount of the expenses. As of today, 500,000 dollars are still missing and needed. Therefore, we launched a worldwide Charidy campaign in order to fundraise this amount, and successfully complete this project for our great community.
We will be grateful to everyone that participates in this campaign and unite with us in our future Beth Chabad.
To donate: www.charidy.com/bh9
Rabbi Mendel & Chaya Assouline