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UD Jewish Student Center nearing completion, completion expected in spring 2024

Delaware Public Media

The Chabad Center at the University of Delaware is in the final stretch of construction.

The university’s Jewish Student Center expects its new facility to be completed around the beginning of spring semester.

Rabbi Avremel Vogel says roofing wrapped up this week. Installing plumbing and siding is next. He says students are buzzing about having a bigger and more versatile place to gather.

“They left before the summer and there was just a hole in the ground, they were working on the foundation," Vogel says. "Now they come back and it’s here. They’re all getting excited that it’s going to be finished this year and that they’re going to be able to be the first ones in it.”

In August 2020, a fire destroyed the little blue house that housed UD’s Jewish community. While COVID had already pushed events outdoors, there was no returning to the indoor space.

since then, his wife, Shulie, has cooked for hundreds of students out of the small kitchen in their own home.

The new center features a commercial kitchen and 180-person dining room, so Vogel says they can not only accommodate more students for dinner, but also offer kosher cooking classes.

“It’s very easy to bond around food and to have a cooking club or a kosher cooking club and stuff like that and have people come over even to help prepare for events and stuff like that is something we’ve never really been able to do because there’s just no space for people,” Vogel says.

The new building's budget is around $4.3 million. Vogel says while they wanted to stick to that, some expenses couldn’t be spared when it comes to safety.

“Was it going to be more of an expense for us? Yes," Vogel says. "But at the same time, making sure that it’s going to be a secure building, it’s going to be primarily brick and Hardie plank, and making sure there is going to be security measures, doors, windows, and systems and stuff.”

Vogel adds they have about three-quarters of the funding needed to finish, and they will be launching a public campaign soon to reach their goal.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.