Just as soon as coronavirus restrictions ease up, Chabad will open in Erie, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Dovie and Mushkie Kivman will move from their home in Brooklyn to serve Erie’s Jewish population that comes in at just under five hundred. The couple hopes to arrive in time to host services for the High Holidays.
Though the city’s overall population is dwindling — it has decreased by six percent in the last decade to 95,000 in 2019 — Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, executive director of Chabad of Western Pennsylvania believes the establishment of Chabad of Erie is important. “There are Jews living out there and that’s reason enough,” he said.
Members of Erie’s Reform and Conservative congregations have welcomed the establishment of a Chabad presence in the city.
In a place where the largest Synagogue attendance is for the Yizkor memorial services, Rabbi Dovie says he’d like people to experience the joy of Yiddishkeit. “Our Chabad House will be a home where every Jew is welcome and can enjoy Judaism,” he said.