Like so many other new shuls in Crown Heights, Anshei Lubavitch started as a class shul: A few newly-married yungeleit and bochurim got together, rented a storefront and organized a Shabbos minyan. Bouncing between storefronts, it soon settled in a second-floor walkup over a pizza shop on Kingston Avenue.
Then Rabbi Yossi Garelik was drafted to lead the shul, and things began to change. It started first with regular shiurim. Then came Crown Heights’s first Sunday morning kollel, complete with morahs, a kids program and a hot breakfast, a program that’s been emulated by dozens of shuls since. Slowly, Anshei Lubavitch began to evolve from being merely a Shabbos shul to a full-fledged community center.
In the winter of 2018 Anshei Lubavitch—by this time counting more than 100 active families—moved into a large leased space at 578 Albany Ave, between Midwood and Rutland. In the three years since the move, the shul has turned into a thriving center of Jewish life in the area——the new geographic center of Crown Heights. Word spread, and more people joined. They’re still coming.
Aside from the packed minyan on Friday night and Shabbos day, there’s a regular minyan three times a day. Rabbi Garelik gives an Ayin Beis shiur every morning at 6:30 a.m., followed by shachris at 7:10. There are two Gemara shiurim each evening before and after maariv, a nightly Rambam shiur, and a Melukat shiur each Thursday night. Some 100 yungeleit join the kollel each Sunday morning.
Anshei Lubavitch’s preschool has grown to two classes and now has a waiting list for lack of space. Women’s programming has expanded to multiple times a month as well as an annual Shabbaton.
With Rabbi Garelik’s ceaseless backing, each passing day sees the synagogue’s programs expand and open to more and more people. Anshei Lubavitch has long grown out of the “class shul” title, and today its members include dozens of families living in the surrounding area. Anyone and everyone who walks in is welcomed with open arms and immediately gains a sense of belonging.
For Anshei Lubavitch, the new properties are another step in continuing to serve as a model for both Crown Heights and the world, and building a beis Torah, avodah and gemilus chassadim that will make the Rebbe proud.