Rabbi Zalmanov, wife run Chabad-Lubavitch Center from home
By J.L. Jarmula - Post-Tribune correspondent

MUNSTER, IN - Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov and his wife recently re-established the Chabad-Lubavitch Center of Northwest Indiana.

Rabbi Zalmanov, who was ordained three years ago, is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and studied at the Central Lubavitch Yeshivah. His wife, Chanie, is a native of Indianapolis and graduated from the Beth Chana Teachers’ Seminary in Safed, Israel. The couple, who have a newborn daughter, Shayna Mushka, accepted the lifetime assignment from Chabad-Lubavitch Headquarters in Brooklyn and the regional headquarters in Indianapolis.

“We wanted to come to Northwest Indiana because it’s a small and close-knit community with a good number of Jews, about 3,000,” said Rabbi Zalmanov. “It’s also nice because it’s close to where my wife is from.”

While the Chabad-Lubavitch Center is not a temple or synagogue, services are offered there every other Saturday morning. The primary focus of the center, however, is to provide educational and social programs to Jews in the area from all congregations.

“We work well with them (local temples and synagogues) in the area because we aren’t a threat to take their congregation away,” said Rabbi Zalmanov.

Right now, the couple are running the center from their home in Munster, but they hope to one day outgrow that space and move to a larger building.

Some of the classes offered at the center are in Jewish heritage, text and scripture.

“Basically, we can offer anything people would like to know,” said Rabbi Zalmanov. “We start with the knowledge they currently have and try to further that. I teach the men’s classes, my wife teaches the women’s classes and we work together on the mixed classes.

“In addition to classes, we also want to make people aware of Judaism as a whole,” he said. “Specifically, we want to focus on the Jewish calendar that’s full of holidays and festivals through community outreach programs.” This is not the first time a Chabad-Lubavitch Center has operated in Northwest Indiana. Rabbi Aryeh and Tamara Dubovitch served the community from 1995 until about six months ago, when they relocated to Chicago.

Did you know?

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement began 250 years ago in Russia and now boasts more than 2,700 institutions with approximately 4,000 emissary families dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish people worldwide.

For more information, contact Rabbi Zalmanov via e-mail at ChabadNWIND@sbcglobal.net or call 513-0327.