Just before Hanukkah, Virginia Beach native Rabbi Zalman Margolin moved from Brooklyn with his wife Bracha and their two children to expand Chabad of Tidewater with a new presence near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
“We are delighted to welcome the new Margolin family to town and to announce the exciting expansion of Chabad,” says Rabbi Aaron Margolin, Zalman’s father and Chabad’s executive director.
“With the addition of Bracha, Zalmy, and their children—Mendel and Esther— Chabad looks forward to expanding it’s geographic reach by making our activities more accessible to the many Jews living near and visiting the Virginia Beach Oceanfront,” says Rabbi Aaron Margolin.
The couple joins Zalman’s parents Rabbi Aaron and Rychel Margolin, as well as Zalman’s brother-in-law and sister, Rabbi Levi and Rashi Brashevitzky (also a HAT alumnus), as members of the Chabad team.
Chabad of Tidewater was founded 1979 under the leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, with the mission of helping Jewish people of all ages and stages grow in their connection to Judaism. As an open home to all Jews regardless of affiliation or Jewish practice, Chabad of Tidewater is on the front lines helping community members and visitors with myriad needs ranging from spiritual to physical.
The organization provides a variety of classes and Torah study opportunities, offers synagogue services in Ghent that are enjoyed by all affiliations, as well as holiday celebrations, and creative family programming. Chabad’s summer camp, “Gan Izzy” is another fun-filled way for Jewish children in the area to experience their Jewish heritage. Chabad also provides spiritual guidance and support to all segments of the Jewish community, including members of the military, hospital patients and their families, senior citizens, inmates, and anyone in need.
Zalman and Bracha’s immediate goals are to help expand Chabad’s existing activities out of Chabad’s Ghent location, while branching out to be available for those living near the Beach. “We know there is a desire for Jewish education, for traditional Jewish practice, and for all the other social, communal, and religious services Chabad offers,” Zalman says. “Obviously, it would be much easier to benefit from those services without having to get in the car and drive halfan- hour each way. Our goal is to bring the traditional Chabad warmth and spirit, present in Jewish communities all across the globe, to a location right here in Virginia Beach.”
In time for the summer, Chabad plans to offer services and kosher food options for the estimated thousands of Jewish tourists visiting the area each year.
“Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to see the Jewish community at the Beach grow steadily,” says Raymond Gottleib, a long-time Virginia Beach oceanfront resident and friend of Chabad. “There’s definitely a need for this, and I’m glad it’s happening now.”
Prior to their move, Zalman worked as a writer for the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute—popularly known as JLI. With classes all over the world, including in Tidewater, JLI is a prominent provider of Jewish adult education.
Bracha worked in Cedarhurst, N. Y. as program director for the Levi Yitzchak Library and Family Center.
Not lost on Zalman is the fact that he is the first Tidewater-born-and-raised rabbi to serve locally. “As a Virginia Beach native, and as a graduate of Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, I couldn’t be more proud to move back home, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve my community,” he says.