When: March 27, 2022 at 5:30
Where: Eisemann Center | Richardson, TX
More info + purchase tickets

Chabad of Plano/Collin County invites the community to celebrate its 30th Anniversary at its Annual Gala, “Going Forward with Strength” on March 27.

Dinner will be at 5:30 p.m., and the program with speakers, a concert performance from Daniel Ahaviel (a Hasidic violinist flown in from Israel) and a special film about the Blocks’ work will start at 7:30 p.m., all hosted at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.

Rabbi Menachem Block and his wife Rivkie Block will be honored for their three decades of service as the founders and leaders of Chabad of Plano/Collin County.

rabbi menachem block and rivkie block
Rabbi Menachem Block and Rivkie Block.

As the first rabbi to call Plano home, Rabbi Block was instrumental in taking Judaism into the streets. He and Rivkie helped make Jewish life present in Plano in a public and permanent way.

“Even though they are so we are so Orthodox, observant and careful with Jewish laws, we accept everybody where they are,” Rivkie Block says. “We really look at the soul; the soul is infinitely precious and holy to God. We respect and love the power of the soul in each person.”

Rivkie says that that perspective of each person being valued, and on their own ladders to get closer to God, has driven their work and the way they relate to their community in service.

“When you remain humble, you see people differently,” Rivkie said. “You see them through the lens of what you can bring to the relationship. And the blessings we have received in Plano are infinitely greater than anything that we have given. ”

rivkie block teaching from home 25 years ago
Rivkie Block teaching from home 25 years ago

Rabbi Menachem Block remembers arriving in Plano from Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two young children 30 years ago, and instantly knowing they had a big job ahead. No one knew them, and no one knew they needed the service the Blocks would soon prove was an essential piece of Collin County’s flourishing .

“At that time Plano housed a population of 100,000 people with a fledgling Jewish community,” Rabbi Block said. “Our goal was to fill that void, and with the help of so many loyal friends and supporters, we have been successful. In fact, we are outgrowing our current structure!”

chabad of plano/collin county
Rabbi Block and his wife Rivkie, with four of their eight children, during the 1999 groundbreaking ceremony of the Lang Chabad Center of the Chabad of Plano/Collin County.

Upon arriving in Plano, the Blocks immediately went to work with a focus on four major areas: holiday celebrations, Hebrew school, summer day camps, and adult education. They organized events, including Plano’s first menorah lighting with 50 people standing outside the Jewish Community Center preschool. Longtime friends and supporters Florence and Howard Shapiro lit the first candle.

READ: Remember the Celebration of Lights for Chanukah in 2020?

From 1992 to 2000, the Blocks worked out of their home holding Hebrew school, services, and classes. A new level of growth came in 1998 when supporter Abe Lang purchased the lot for the future Lang Chabad Center.

lang chabad center
The Lang Chabad Center of the Chabad of Plano/Collin County.

The renovated garage in the back of the Block’s home soon gave way to the Chabad of Plano/Collin County that is now anchored in the heart of Plano. Once completed in 2000, the 13,000 sq. ft. The Chabad building on Park Boulevard gave Jews of Plano their own synagogue, the Jewish Learning Institute, a Hebrew School, Camp Gan Israel, a Jewish library, holiday celebrations, and eventually a preschool called Gan Gani. These programs have all touched thousands of people over the course of 30 years.

rabbi block and campers at camp gan israel 25 years ago
Rabbi Block and campers at Camp Gan Israel 25 years ago.

Rabbi Block reflects on the landmark age of the Chabad aligned with the teachings of Torah that go through the phases of a person’s life.

“When you turn 30, you’re in the strongest years of your life. And the Torah tells you not to waste the years that you are powerfully healthy,” Rabbi Block says. “So that’s how we choose to see these last very productive 30 years, and the years to come. Thousands of people have benefited from our services. But one thing that the Rebbe [Menachem Mendel Schneerson] always taught is this: never be satisfied. You have to grow. that’s the definition of life. Every living thing grows.”

That growth will look like finding more space to expand the ever-full preschool program, deepen the existing relationships the Block’s have established in the Collin county community, and to expand the Chabad’s reach beyond.

“Our goal is to move forward with strength, taking the wisdom and relationships we have gained to make the next chapter of Chabad of Plano/Collin County even stronger.”

30 years chabad

For information about Chabad of Plano/Collin County’s 30th Anniversary Gala, visit www.chabadplano.org/event, call (972) 596-8270 or email connect@chabadplano.org.

Sponsorships are available and donations are welcome. 

Jordan is the digital manager at Local Profile. She creates digital, print and social content. Her passion is profiling people and their experiences, connecting community through authentic narrative.