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Motti Grossbaum

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Chabad co-directors Rabbi Chaim and Rivkie Grossbaum visit the site of the new building construction on Nicolls Road. Photo from Rebecca Itzhaky

The days of celebrating in rented spaces are coming to an end for the North Shore-based Chabad at Stony Brook Jewish community.

Since acquiring its first space at the Lake Grove Jewish Center in 1990, Chabad at Stony Brook is finally breaking ground on its home turf with a new facility being built on Nicolls Road, much closer to the epicenter of its Three Village neighbors. The group will celebrate the new beginning with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 7 at 5:30 p.m. in anticipation of the summer 2016 building opening.

Chabad has been home to more than 400 families from Smithtown to Port Jefferson, but has relied on rental spaces throughout the year to host key events like the High Holiday services and popular holiday celebrations. The Shabbat services have also been held at the rabbi’s home.

Rabbi Motti Grossbaum of Chabad at Stony Brook said planning events like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs has become a logistical headache for the group, making the potential of a new space a welcome addition to the family.

“Since 1987, Chabad at Stony Brook has been like ‘the wandering Jew,’” Grossbaum said in a statement. “Though Chabad was fortunate to acquire the Lake Grove Jewish Center in 1990, it was not a perfect fit. For one thing, the location was 15-20 minutes away from the larger Jewish community in Stony Brook and other surrounding towns on Suffolk County’s north shore. Also, the building was too small to accommodate Chabad’s ever-growing attendance.”

The new facility was made possible thanks to a $1,000,000 grant from Edward and Vivian Merrin, founders of the Merrin Gallery in New York City and the project is being led by Kevin Harney of Stalco Construction and it is also being financed by John Tsunis of Gold Coast Bank.

“The new building will serve as a home and a hub for the rapidly growing Jewish community in the Three Village area and beyond,” Grossbaum said.