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New Jewish Center will include Idaho’s first Mikvah

The Chabad Jewish Center in Boise celebrated groundbreaking for an expanded center, which will also include a children’s library, Kosher commercial kitchen and more.

BOISE, Idaho — The Chabad Jewish Center on Wednesday celebrated a historic day for Idaho’s Jewish community.

Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz says, "This is a tremendous milestone that we are here today to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Chabad Jewish Center."

The Chabad Jewish Center has had a presence in Idaho's capital city since 2004.

"When we moved to Boise. Boise had a small Jewish community. It still is a very small community, but it did not have any traditional representation within the Jewish community,” Lifshitz said.

According to the U.S. Census, Idaho’s Jewish population is a bit more than 2,000, about 0.1% of the state's total population, but it's growing.

"During the pandemic, our community has grown tremendously, and we are now looking at being able to provide services to the community,” Lifshitz said.

To help serve the growing Jewish community, the new $3.5 million construction project is going to include Idaho’s first ever Mikvah.

“A Mikvah is a place where Jewish women go on a monthly basis to conduct a private ritual and ceremony between themselves and God and a community of other women," said Dan Berger, chair of the Chabad Jewish Center Building Committee.

The center will also have a new library to honor a community member who passed away. His mother, Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas says, “Ilai's Children Library. Ilai passed away six years ago in a drowning accident. The library is another way of maintaining culture and tradition and religion."

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean was among the elected officials who spoke at the groundbreaking.

“This event, and what is about to happen here, it more than symbolizes the importance of community, the importance of coming together around the importance of shared values, the importance of having a place,” McLean said.

Leaders at the Chabad Jewish Center say this facility will carry the legacy for future generations.

“We've seen the landscape of Judaism change over the last 18 years and Boise has arrived," Lifshitz said, "Now we need to rise to the occasion and provide for our community.”

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