NEW WINDSOR — In opening a new synagogue in Orange County, Rabbi Shmuel Serebryanski and his wife, Rivka, are fulfilling their lifelong aspiration.
As children of rabbis who established houses of worship for Jews from all walks of life, the couple grew up with the dream of one day working to unite the Jewish community through faith, prayer and kindness.
Just two months after moving to New Windsor from Brooklyn, they are establishing The Chabad House of Eastern Orange County, a Jewish community center and synagogue in their own living room.
"We hope this center will be a key to open the hearts of every Jew and touch the depths of the soul," said the rabbi, an emissary of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement.
Even with two synagogues in the nearby City of Newburgh, Serebryanski said there is a need to open a third shul to cater to the New Windsor Jewish community, accepting all Jews no matter how secular or religious they are.
And with Americans facing a tough economy, with two wars being fought, the Serebryanskis can't think of a better time to offer people an avenue for spirituality.
"The world's going through some tough times now," Rivka Serebryanski said. "Some people are looking for spirituality, and others don't know that's what they are looking for."
The couple have already started Shabbat services on Friday and Saturday, traditional Friday night dinners, and a women's group. An open house is slated for Sunday.
High Holy Days services in September are planned for the building at 103 Executive Drive in New Windsor.
The Serebryanskis hope to eventually offer several programs, including both a Hebrew school and adult education classes.
"We hope to outgrow this place," Rivka said.