Chabad opens new center, synagogue in Antwerp

Chabad has opened a new synagogue and Jewish community center in Antwerp.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement’s new building in the center of the Flemish region capital cost about $3 million and was dedicated last week. It has 43,000 square feet of floor space, a library with multimedia room, and a synagogue that can accommodate 250 people, according to Rabbi Shabtai Slavaticki, head of the Chabad operations in Antwerp.

Slavaticki told JTA that the new building, which is adjacent to Chabad’s original headquarters in Antwerp — will in the near future feature a museum about Judaism and about the Holocaust.

Kris Peeters, prime minister of Belgium’s Flemish region, attended the dedication ceremony and told the hundreds of guests that his government was “determined to combat anti-Semitism, including through education.” The Flemish region is one of three autonomous regions that make up the federal Belgian state.

Separately, the Jewish community of Edegem, a southern suburb of Antwerp, on Sunday introduced a new Torah scroll to its main synagogue in a procession attended by several dozen people. The scroll was made in Israel and took about one year to complete, Tali Goldstoff, the chairwoman of the Edegem synagogue, told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

The synagogue was established in 2010 at the initiative of Menachem Hertz, another Chabad rabbi, for the 600 Jewish families living in the southern Antwerp suburbs of Edegem and Wilrijk.