Local Jews will have a new place to worship in Gwinnett County if a proposed 12,000-square-foot Chabad of Gwinnett enrichment center comes to fruition.
Rabbi Yossi Lerman and his wife, Esther Lerman, announced last summer that Chabad had launched a capital campaign to raise funds for the building, which will be located on Spalding Drive in Peachtree Corners.
The center will include a mikvah — a miniature swimming pool used for purifying rituals and to convert non-Jews to Judaism — a prayer and gathering hall, a library, classrooms, a kitchen and a rooftop garden. It will sit on commercially zoned land Chabad purchased a decade ago.
More recently, the couple announced that local Jews will be able to be a part of the building construction once it commences as part of the organization’s Legacy Brick Campaign, an opportunity for Jewish residents of Gwinnett and surrounding areas to have a free brick engraved with their family’s name that will become part of the new building.
Rabbi Lerman said the campaign is intended to foster a feeling of belonging within the Jewish community.
“We are doing this because we want every Jew to know that they belong and are an integral part of the Jewish family,” he said. “Our goal has always been to increase peace, harmony and joy, and this seems like such a meaningful way to achieve that.”
Each 4-inch by 8-inch brick will be engraved — space is limited to three lines of text — and then become a part of the new building, Lerman said.
While the legacy campaign is a new idea, the building has been planned for years and will not be Chabad of Gwinnett’s first location.
In September 2001, the Lermans founded a Chabad center in Norcross to serve the Jewish population in Gwinnett and Hall counties.
Since then, they have established a network of Sunday schools, adult education programs, family holiday events, private counseling and other programs that serve both Jewish and non-Jewish locals.
With the county and surrounding area’s growing Jewish population — Chabad of Forsyth County opened its first synagogue last June and plans to build a larger building in the next few years — the Lermans said now is the time to begin raising funds for the project.
“The Chabad of Gwinnett that Rabbi Yossi and Esther have built is amazing, as it offers a tremendous number of Jewish programs,” said Scott Frank, chair of the building campaign. “The new building will allow the Chabad to grow its programs and serve many more people in the Gwinnett community, surrounding areas and, additionally, throughout the world.”
Esther Lerman said the goal is to enrich people’s lives.
“Our ultimate goal is to fulfill the divine mission of enriching the quality of the lives of people — materially, emotionally and spiritually,” she said.
Chabad said it hopes to break ground on the new building next year, though the capital campaign will likely last another couple of years and the building will not be complete for several years after.
The organization is working with engineers and is in the planning stages of the project.
For more information about the project, visit chabadofgwinnett.com.