Chabad College in Michigan Gets Building Go-Ahead

Fueled by Federal Funding, 16,0000 Square Feet, but Just 3 Degrees

Campus: Dov Stein, head of academics at Michigan Jewish Institute, stands outside the entrance to The Shul, a $6 million synagogue in West Bloomfield, where some MJI classes are held.
Paul Berger
Campus: Dov Stein, head of academics at Michigan Jewish Institute, stands outside the entrance to The Shul, a $6 million synagogue in West Bloomfield, where some MJI classes are held.

By Paul Berger

Published January 29, 2013.
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Lessons were held in several of four classrooms at The Shul, a Lubavitch synagogue run by Shemtov.

The Shul sits at the heart of the Campus for Living Judaism, a 40-acre complex bought by Chabad of Michigan in 1990.

Shemtov’s father, Rabbi Berel Shemtov, has led Chabad of Michigan since 1958. Another of Berel Shemtov’s children, Bassie Shemtov, runs a hugely successful organization for children with learning disabilities, the Friendship Circle, whose headquarters are also on the Campus for Living Judaism.

The original master plan for the Campus of Living Judaism included ambitions for 12 buildings, including a synagogue, a museum, a college and a student dormitory.

At a January 8 planning commission meeting, Sara Roediger, senior planner for West Bloomfield Township, told commission members that MJI’s latest application was in line with longstanding expansion plans.

Commission members were told that MJI wanted to begin construction in spring.

Steve Budaj, who sits on West Bloomfield planning commission, said the commission members assume that if an applicant is about to spend millions of dollars on a development they must have a use for that building.

“We don’t question whether or not they have students to put in the building,” said Budaj. “We assume that they do.”

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or follow him on Twitter, @pdberger


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