“Time Capsule” Placed Within Foundation of New Chabad Community Campus in Agoura Hills Special Ceremony Held at Site of New Campus

In a unique ceremony on Tuesday morning, March 23rd, friends and supporters of Chabad of the Conejo gathered at the construction site of the organization’s future community campus on Canwood Street to celebrate the completion of the historic project’s foundation. While groundbreaking ceremonies and dedication celebrations are more commonplace, a “Foundation Celebration” is a bit of an anomaly. But then again, Chabad of the Conejo – an educational, outreach and social service organization serving the greater Conejo Valley Jewish Community – has a long history of doing things in an unconventional and innovative manner.

Though unique in modern-times, the concept of celebrating the foundation of a consecrated edifice actually dates back to Biblical times. In fact, it was a sermon the rabbi gave several weeks ago about the “Mishkan” – the portable Sanctuary, or Tabernacle, which the ancient Israelites built during their journeys in the wilderness – that sparked the idea of launching a “Foundation Campaign” for the new Chabad Conejo campus. The idea caught on immediately and has rapidly gained momentum ever since.

While people contributed to the construction of the Tabernacle of old at different levels, when it came to sponsoring the foundation, every member of the community was expected to give the exact same amount.

The Tabernacle’s foundation actually consisted of silver sockets called “Adonim” toward which every Israelite was asked to contribute a “Half shekel” (equivalent to approximately 14 grams of silver). The wealthy were not to give more and the poor were not to give less. In Judaism, there’s a great deal of emphasis placed on the foundation of any structure or project – this is true figuratively and spiritually, as it is physically and practically. The message of the Sanctuary’s Adonim project was that, at the foundational level, we must all do our equal share.

With the cost of the laying the foundation coming in at $52,000, campaign coordinators divided the expense into 104 equal shares of $500 each, and offered members of the community the opportunity to claim their share of the merit of the foundation with a sponsorship of $500 per person or per family. The names of these 104 partners were encased in a special time capsule and embedded within the building’s footing on Tuesday as an everlasting blessing.

Prior to encasing the foundation capsule at the site, prayers were recited and the capsule’s inscription was read aloud and then sealed in cement. The community gathered to renew our common resolve to get this campus completed as quickly as possible, so that a whole new phase of teaching and helping people throughout this region can finally get underway. The remainder of the construction project is expected to take eleven months.

Years from now, these 104 people will be able to tell their grandchildren and great grandchildren that they helped raise this magnificent edifice – literally from the ground up.

For dedication opportunities in the new building, please call 818-991-0991 or email at rabbibryski@chabadconejo.com