In 1941, Beth Rivkah first opened it's doors in a small, nondescript storefront in Brooklyn. With just 30 students attending, it hardly resembled the large and thriving educational system that exists today. But still, despite its size, this small institution was making history. Never before had a chassidic girls’ school been established in the United States or abroad.
Fourteen years later, in 1955, the High School division would go on to open its doors, with the Division of Higher Learning to follow in 1960. Over the decades since, Beth Rivkah has continued to serve as the flagship institution for Lubavitch girls’ education around the globe. Its educational model (and name) can be found in just about every country with a sizable Jewish population, and its alumnae have gone on to work and teach in every corner of the globe.
As the student body continued to grow, it became apparent that Beth Rivkah would need a larger campus. So, in 1988, the grounds were acquired to build the new Campus Chomesh.
The modern, spacious new Brooklyn campus, was built to memorialize the life of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, ob"m, dear and devoted wife of the Rebbe. The groundbreaking ceremony occurred just thirty days after the Rebbetzin's passing.
The Rebbe took part in this ceremony in a manner that was unprecedented during his years of leadership. He briefly appeared on his way to visit the final resting place of the Rebbetzin, presenting Rabbi Abraham Shemtov with a contribution in the amount of $470—the numerical equivalent of the Rebbetzin’s name, and asked that the primary benefactor of the project, Mr. Ronald O. Perelman, be informed that he wished to be a partner in building the campus. Interestingly, the campus’ street address is also 470.
The 125,000 square foot campus is ideal for learning and acquiring life-experience, a place where over 2,200 students utilize nearly 100 classrooms as well as science labs, computer centers, libraries, a vast rooftop playground, and a huge sports gymnasium every single day.
Today, the name Campus Chomesh represents more than a magnificent building. It embodies the heart and soul of a worldwide movement in education for women and an investment in the future of the Jewish nation.
From 30 girls learning in a rented storefront in 1941 to the thousands of students we see today, Beth Rivkah has established itself as the very heart of Chabad-Lubavitch. It has experienced countless challenges along the way, but its founding values and principles - the vision charted out by the Frierdiker Rebbe and carried through by the Rebbe - continue to guide it until today.
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