New Jewish center opens in West Valley


 
West Valley View
 
8/16/2011 
 
 
Chabad Jewish Center of Goodyear is ready to serve the growing Jewish community of the Southwest Valley.
The center, operated by Rabbi Berel Zaklikofsky and his wife, Chana, is offering weekly Shabbat services, adult education, youth and holiday programs, the Jewish Women's Circle, Talmud Torah sessions and special programming for Jewish teens.

The center will mark its opening by offering inspiring High Holiday services at no charge, open to all members of the Jewish community regardless of their background or affiliation and augmented by special children's programs.

Services will take place at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 29 and 30 at the Comfort Suites, 15575 W. Roosevelt St. in Goodyear. A night service will also be offered at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28., and will be followed by a dinner, for which reservations are required.

"All are welcome. No membership required," Zaklikofsky said in a press release. "The center will serve as a source for everything Jewish and a home away from home for the entire Southwest Valley community."

Plenty to offer
 
Both the rabbi and his wife have been involved in community outreach around the globe, from Russia to Australia, before choosing the Southwest Valley as their new home. They both have extensive experience in education and religious activities.

For those interested in hearing a little Kabbala, Zaklikofsky's Goodyear house is always open, the rabbi said.

"Kabbala, for those unfamiliar with the term, is an esoteric wisdom that explains the secrets of the cosmos and illuminates the practices of Judaism," the rabbi said.


And Kabbala is just one of the things people can learn at the new Chabad Jewish Center of Goodyear.
Those interested in learning how to cook kosher can take classes offered by Chana.

As for those wanting to learn more on the Talmud, the collection of Jewish laws, Zaklikofsky has the entire library available.

All those classes are available at the Chabad Jewish Center of Goodyear, currently centered in the Zaklikofsky house in Goodyear. Classes are free and open to the public.

"We don't charge. We're not a business," Zaklikofsky said. "We're here to serve the Jewish community in any way possible."
 

Strengthening identity
 
Chabad, the rabbi said, is devoted to strengthening Jewish identity with a multitude of programs to make Judaism an accessible reality to all Jews.

Along with prayer services, Chabad provides adult education, holiday celebrations, Shabbat dinners, youth clubs, crisis counseling and more. A primary focus is set on educating children, the rabbi said.

"We look forward to offering a stimulating, kid-friendly Jewish education designed to inspire young adults with a sense of Jewish pride and awareness," Chana said.

Zaklikofsky, who was hired last year to head the new Goodyear center, traversed from New York to Goodyear last winter to launch a Chanukah celebration, featuring a menorah lighting, at Goodyear Community Park.

"The response was very good," Zaklikofsky said. "Two hundred people attended."

Zaklikofsky is a follower of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who is described as the most well-known Orthodox Jewish leader.

Schneerson, the spiritual leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, spearheaded a worldwide reconstruction of the post-Holocaust Jewish religious life and inspired a reawakening of Jewish awareness and observance.

Among the things the movement did was establish education and outreach centers and provide social service programs and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of religious affiliation or background, Zaklikofsky said.

"The Southwest Valley community seemed like the perfect place for a Chabad, the rabbi said. "You may see yourself as unaffiliated, Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. At Chabad, we see you as Jewish. No labels, no differences. Chabad is a home for every kind of Jew."

Chabad Jewish Center of Goodyear is open 24 hours a day and everyone is welcome, the rabbi said.

For information, call 623-466-6110, email jewishgoodyear@gmail.com or visit www.jewishgoodyear.com.