For close to two decades, early residents like Susan and Edmund Benson watched Jupiter’s Abacoa community sprout around them in its New Urbanism style, blending homes with shops, spring-training ball fields and bio tech labs.
On Sunday, they will attend a public ceremony featuring some very old technology — a feather quill pen, writing on a scroll — to mark the start of construction on Abacoa’s newest structure.
The Torah scroll, signifying a tradition dating back three millennia, is scheduled to take a year to complete, about the same time as the $7.5 million Spiegel Family Chabad Jewish Center at 430 University Boulevard.
“This will be wonderful addition to the neighborhood,” Susan Benson said. “I was born Jewish but never really had formal or traditional Jewish learning. I never went to temple. Now I do.”
Palm Beach County ranked fourth nationally for the largest U.S. Jewish population in 2017, according to a study by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.
The two-story, 23,959 square foot facility on 1.5 acres represents a home 10 years in the making for the Chabad Jewish Center of Jupiter, which has been meeting in smaller quarters and looking ahead to the new center.
The goal in designing the new complex was capturing “Abacoa’s signature neighborly feel,” said Rabbi Berel Barash. “Instead of the parking being in front, the structure is in front. It’s very welcoming.”
The facility will include preschool and after-school care, a youth lounge, playground area, classrooms, offices, areas for worship and a domed ceiling, incorporating work from Pompano-based design firm Interiors By Steven G.
Barash credited his wife Sarah with having a vision for the center ten years ago, urging the purchase of the site with the help of benefactors including Sidney Spiegel and family. If they did not buy land then, she urged, it would be very difficult later, even if the facility itself might take longer to come to fruition.
“We said we want this building to be very home-like, comfortable,” Sarah Barash said.
Sunday’s ceremony, at 10 a.m. under a tent at the building site at 430 University Boulevard, is open to the public, center officials said.