Chabad plans renovations for Palmer House

When the last members of the swim team move out of the Palmer House at 36 Lynwood Pl. this June, the Palmer House will be no more — and the Chabad House will move in.

The house’s new owners, Chabad at Yale, launched a five-year, $6 million capital campaign to furnish and renovate the house last week. Chabad leaders said they will carry the name “the Chabad House” from their current property at 37 Edgewood Ave. to the new building.

“The goal of the renovations is to create a ‘home away from home’ for Jewish life at Yale,” said Rabbi Shua Rosenstein of Chabad at Yale. “We want to be able to accommodate the large amount of students that make Chabad their home.”

Chabad at Yale started the fundraising campaign against the backdrop of Hanukkah, which began Dec. 1 and concludes Dec. 9. The organization held parties for Jewish Yale alumni in New York and Los Angeles to celebrate its recent purchase of the Palmer House and raise awareness for its new fundraising effort and expansion, Rosenstein said. Rosenstein added that he will reach out to past donors as well as new donors for donations, with all support for the project coming from Yale alumni or parents of current students.

When renovations are complete in 2013, the new house will be seven times the size of Chabad’s current 1,100-square-foot property on Edgewood Avenue.

The Chabad House will have a large dining room, library, lecture hall, study, student lounge and synagogue, Rosenstein said, adding that the new space — along with the hiring of new staff — will enable Chabad to expand its Jewish study division and offer more classes.

Chabad President Zachary Fuhrer ’11 said that while he is disappointed he will not be able to use the new Chabad House before he graduates this spring, he is excited about the renovations. Fuhrer said the new space will allow Chabad to expand its programming to include more guest speakers and activities such as cooking classes.

“Having such a nicely renovated and spacious house will give students the opportunity to study, play pool, watch TV — a sort of hangout for everyone here at Yale,” Fuhrer said.

(Fuhrer is a former Arts & Living editor for the News.)

Chairman of Chabad at Yale Norman Bender ’67 said it is a joy to welcome Jews and non-Jews alike to the Chabad House and to its Friday dinners, which an average of 80 people attend. Bender said that the larger dining room and other new amenities would allow more students to experience Chabad.

“People speak about six degrees of separation; we believe in six degrees of integration,” Bender said. “I want all those at Yale to know there’s this home away from home, this warm and special place.”

Men’s swimming captain Kyle Veatch ’11 said that when the swim team finds a new house, it will be renamed the “House of Lodge” after the team’s previous house on Park Street, which was called “the Lodge.”

Chabad at Yale has been housed at 37 Edgewood Ave. for the past five years.

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