Rendering of new Chabad North Peninsula, designed by Studio Bondy Architecture
Rendering of new Chabad North Peninsula, designed by Studio Bondy Architecture

Chabad of North Peninsula to break ground on new home

Sure, there will be a bouncy house, live music and a petting zoo at Chabad of the North Peninsula’s “Groundbreaking Hoedown” on Sunday, Sept. 8. But the key to the event is the groundbreaking.

After 17 years of serving San Mateo and the North Peninsula area without a permanent home,

the Chabad center is ready to launch an estimated $23.9 million building project that will include a sanctuary, social hall, large rooms for its preschool classes, a rooftop garden and a kosher cafe.

“This has been a long journey, and a lot of work,” said Rabbi Yossi Marcus, who with his wife, Esty, launched Chabad of the North Peninsula in 2001. “And there’s a lot of excitement in the community. People are thrilled thinking about what this building is going to be, and to finally break ground is really exhilarating.”

The new 14,000-square-foot complex — to be known as the Lent Chabad Center — will be located just a few blocks north of downtown San Mateo, on North San Mateo Drive at Monte Diablo Avenue.With a 14- to 18-month timeframe for construction, the facility should be open by the end of 2020, leaders expect.

The construction project was kicked off by a $10 million gift from Bobby and Fran Lent, a Hillsborough family that’s been attending the North Peninsula Chabad and donating for about a decade. More than $19.8 million has been raised so far, and construction is scheduled to start in October, just about three years after the land was purchased in 2016.

“For all of our programs, either we didn’t have enough room or we had to go to an offsite location,” Marcus said. “We will finally have a place that will be a home for all the celebrations and lifecycle events, and welcome more people to partake of the education opportunities.”

In addition to shovel hitting dirt, the Groundbreaking Hoedown event will include arts and crafts, a shofar-making workshop and a demonstration from a local beekeeper. There also will be some education sessions with Rabbi Reuven Goldstein, who will show artifacts from his private Judaica collection and give a lecture on the history of synagogues. The Ferris Wheels, a band fronted by Rabbi Yehuda Ferris of Chabad of the East Bay, will play a couple of sets.

The event is 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, and the public is invited for free, although online registration is requested. To take part in the shofar workshop (you get to keep your shofar), the cost is $10 in advance or $15 at the event. For details, visit chabadnp.com/groundbreaking. The precise address of the event will be provided after you register.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.