Chabad of Troy

The move signifies a permanent location for the Chabad Jewish Center of Troy after it operated out of multiple locations for the past two years.

More than two years after opening the Chabad Jewish Center of Troy, Rabbi Menachem and Chana Caytak have taken the next step: signing a lease for a Jewish community center, a central place in the area where Jews can congregate and celebrate their Judaism. 

The move signifies a permanent location for the Chabad Jewish Center of Troy after it operated out of multiple locations for the past two years. 

The Caytak’s motivation to move to Troy in the first place is exactly what’s motivating them to take the next step with the community center. It all stems from the vision of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. 

“His approach was, ‘We have to get out there and reach every single Jew,’” Menachem Caytak said. “We’re not here to just gather 10, 20, 100 Jews. We’re here literally to reach every Jew in the area and provide for their own specific Jewish needs — and we won’t stop until we do that.” 

Their Jewish community center is focusing on reaching out to Jews who live throughout northern Oakland County, including Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills and even out to Lake Orion, as well as east, going into Macomb County. 

The lease for the new community center is on a property in downtown Auburn Hills (3306 Auburn Road), settling there for its centralized location. 

“It’s right off M-59 and also right off I-75, so it’s a very central area people can access from every point,” Caytak said. 

Before Troy Chabad opened, a large percentage of the families they currently serve had zero interaction with any Jewish organization, he said. Through an array of educational, social and community programming, they have begun to bring the Jewish community together. They currently are in contact with more than 750 Jewish households in the area and are still growing. 

Some of the programming Chabad has offered and will continue to offer at the community center are Torah classes, with an average of 45 participants on a weekly basis, a teen group and classes for Jewish teens, a Jewish Kids Club with dozens of Jewish children participating on a monthly basis, Shabbat dinners, social events, and programs such as a women’s club and a Jewish business group, with summer camp currently in the works and much more.

Rabbi Menachem and Chana Caytak with their daughter Chaya Mushka. 
Rabbi Menachem and Chana Caytak with their daughter Chaya Mushka.
Connecting with Students

Another benefit of the location is that it’s right next to Oakland University, which aligns with a core objective of the new center: being a Jewish student center for Jewish OU students with classes and programs specifically programmed and available for them.

While OU has a Hillel student group and Chabad works with them on different projects, Caytak says the community center will provide even more for those students.

“OU’s Jewish student population is a very important Jewish demographic that we’re serving,” he said. “We’re in touch with over 60 students who learn there. We’ve had classes every single week and provide Shabbat dinner on Friday nights every single week for Jewish students.”

Another purpose is that the center will serve is as a Jewish student lounge, which will be open throughout the day for Jewish OU students to use however they choose. 

“There will be a quiet space for them to study, to use the facility to hang out and get to know each other, and there will also be kosher food for them to enjoy,” Caytak said. 

He says the center will have no membership or fees, it’s simply to come and enjoy with other Jews. 

“People don’t realize how many Jews there are in the area; they don’t realize their neighbor is Jewish or that the next block over someone is Jewish,” he said. “People really enjoy getting together as a Jewish community, and this is something they didn’t have access to until we opened our doors.”  

Classes for OU students were recently held at the center
Classes for OU students were recently held at the center

The lease began in mid-October and Caytak is currently there with classes almost every day. Due to supply chain shortages, the center has not been completely furnished yet. 

He hopes to have the place completely set up by mid-December with an official ribbon-cutting event around that time. He also says they haven’t settled on a specific name for the new center, but they have a few ideas in mind. 

Brian Granader, a member of the Troy Jewish community, is one of many in the area looking forward to what the center will bring.

“I’m really excited because there are very few places in north Oakland County where Jews can gather, and Rabbi Menachem’s approach is so welcoming and open,” Granader said. “Before, if you wanted to do any Jewish programming, you pretty much had to be a member of a synagogue. This is more just being a member of a community, so this definitely fulfills a large niche and need as well.”

Caytak says Granader’s excitement is reflective of the response from the larger community: 

“People are ecstatic that this is the next move toward the continued growth of the Jewish community east of Woodward, and we’ve got something special about our organization,” he said. “There’s no outside funding, all of the funding that comes is local, so we’re talking about families who want this to happen and are actively supporting and pushing us to do more and more. 

“We hope to build up the community even more, bring together even more families and grow the community until the space we’re currently at doesn’t fit our needs anymore,” Caytak said. “If you want to learn about Judaism, we have that; if you want to celebrate the customs, we have that; if you just want to hang out with other Jews and enjoy some great Jewish food, come!” 

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