Chabad of Fox Chapel to sell building, refine focus
Closing for financial reasons, but Chabad programming will continue in Fox Chapel
The building that has been home to Chabad of Fox Chapel since 2009 is now up for sale.
Listed since April 2017, 1343 Old Freeport Road, a 3,000-square foot structure owned by Chabad of Fox Chapel, is being offered for sale for $650,000. The building is zoned for commercial use.
“Financial” reasons were cited as necessitating the sale, although Chabad programming will continue in Fox Chapel, according to Rabbi Ely Rosenfeld, director of Chabad of Fox Chapel.
The building is currently still being used for High Holiday services.
“We have had a lot of changes over the years,” explained Rosenfeld, who is separated from his wife, Shternie Rosenfeld, the former co-director of Chabad of Fox Chapel. “We have a new concept now, and we don’t need a building for most of our programming.”
As co-director, Shternie Rosenfeld directed the Hebrew school and had planned to open a preschool. She also helped run Chabad of Fox Chapel’s Camp Gan Israel and its Jewish Women’s Circle, among other responsibilities.
Chabad of Fox Chapel has not offered a Hebrew school program for several years, ceased hosting Friday night Shabbat services about two years ago and has never offered regular Saturday morning services, said Rosenfeld, so the organization no longer requires a building of that size from which to operate.
“It made more economic sense to look at other options,” he said.
Rosenfeld said he intends to continue educational programming, as well as programming for special events, such as Chanukah, utilizing community spaces, including public libraries and schools.
“We will now have more of a laser focus,” he said, homing in on education and family programming. “Less is more.”
Rosenfeld will also continue to operate Chabad’s Jewish Relief Agency, which provides monthly food distribution to families in need. Earlier this month, JRA worked out of Repair the World headquarters in East Liberty, mobilizing 40 volunteers to pack and deliver food for 140 families and children.
About 9 percent of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish population lives in the Fox Chapel/O’Hara Township area and sections of the North Hills, according to the 2002 Jewish Community Study, which provides the most recent data available.
Once the building on Old Freeport Road is sold, Chabad of Fox Chapel will continue to hold High Holiday services in the coming years, but at temporary venues, as it did prior to owning its own building. Former locations for services included the Holiday Inn and the Fox Chapel Racquet Club.
Chabad of Fox Chapel is currently in negotiations with a potential buyer, according to Marc Rice, president of the organization’s board. “But the deal is not done until it’s done,” he said.
“In religious Jewish communities, edifices are not important,” stressed Rice. “We’d rather put the money into programming and keep our costs down.” pjc
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at