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Stark house. Photo by Ryan Lessard.




New sanctuary
Jewish organization begin renovations to Stark House

07/06/17
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 For nearly 27 years, Chabad Lubavitch of New Hampshire — a social, cultural and religious support network for Jews in the community — has not had a proper gathering place to call its own. But with the acquisition of the Stark House from the Sununu Youth Center on River Road in Manchester, it hopes to open its first permanent base of operations this fall.

“Chabad is an educational institution,” the Chabad’s founder, Rabbi Levi Krinsky, said. “So it’s all about enrichment, it’s all about education, it’s all about the outreach [to] unaffiliated Jews in our community.”
In the nearly three decades of operating in the state, the organization would gather at hotels and function halls and host weekly gatherings in private homes. Its official location is presently Krinsky’s residence on Camelot Place in Manchester.
In a recent Executive Council meeting, a contract to sell the state-owned Stark House for $625,000 was approved. The building was built in the 1980s to serve as a transitional program for Sununu Center teens, but it fell out of use.
Krinsky said the purchase was closer to $650,000 with taxes and fees, and the organization will spend an additional $350,000 to renovate the structure.
Originally, the group was raising money for plans to build a new building at a parcel at the corner of Bicentennial Drive and River Road, but it ended up selling the land to the Derryfield School, which is planning on developing tennis courts there in the next few months, according to Krinsky. He said that worked out well because the original building plans were too optimistic. 
“The Bicentennial property would have been too expensive and too big, the house is too small and doesn’t work, and the Stark House is just perfect,” Krinsky said. “It’s your classic win, win, win. The Derryfield School is happy, the synagogue’s happy and the Stark House people are happy. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Krinsky said the Chabad Lubavitch organization was founded 350 years ago in a Russian village and was spread to the U.S. in the 1940s and ’50s.
“It’s expanded and grown to become the single largest Jewish outreach nonprofit organization of the world, with offices in every state and all six continents,” Krinsky said.
Its new home in Manchester will include a 100-seat sanctuary — the “heart and soul” of the building — with an ark and Torah scrolls.
It will provide educational programs for youth throughout the year and offer a higher-level teaching series for adults as well.
Krinsky said he hopes to have the building ready to open by September or October, but it may take a little longer.
“Certainly, before the end of the year,” Krinsky said.





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