Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Shabbat celebration at Chabad Alef Center, where Rabbi Yair Yelin, his wife Chanie and their 6 children live. They purchased the home in San Marcos in 2015 which sits on about an acre of land with a Koi pond, chickens and a warm, inviting environment. The side of their home was transformed into a multi-purpose room where classes and events are held regularly and everyone is welcome. In the Chabad household, everything feels balanced and peaceful.
There are no membership dues, however donations are welcome and students can attend programs and services for free. Rabbi Yelin shared that a main goal for Chabad in San Marcos is to start a formal center for Jewish life serving North San Diego, supported by donation and minimal fees.
“People come here to learn and connect, feeling when they leave that this day is more meaningful than the day before,” Yellin said of the atmosphere at the synagogue.
Myriad cultural and religious classes are offered at the Chabad Alef Center, including a Torah and Tea group for women once a week on Wednesdays. One-on-one classes with the Rabbi are held to discuss the torah portion of the week, as are evening Torah classes. A Sinai Scholar program with eight courses allows participants to engage in cultural celebrations and learn what it is like to live a Jewish life. Students come for these classes, held in the Rabbi’s home and participate in Shabbat dinner. Some topics include: What is a Jew? and Why is it important for me to be in a Jewish family?
To engage the next generation of Jewish leaders, Rabbi Yellin brought the national Chabad on Campus program to Cal State San Marcos and Palomar and Mira Costa Colleges. Last year, students met a Holocaust survivor, innovations and technology originating from Israel were presented and the center showcased the many contributions and innovations from Israel. Each year, Chabad Alef Center places a 6-foot menorah on campus for Chanukah and serves latkes to teach the college community about the traditions of Chanukah.
The approach of Chabad Alef Center is to bring a positive message about Israel and Judaism with love to program participants from all walks of life.
“We provide a home away from home for students and here we show how we run our family,” said Yelin.
This year, the center will celebrate it’s 13th in operation with a Bar Mitzvah Celebration Gala, to be held April 22 at the Lakehouse in San Marcos. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. and include dinner, a silent auction and Rabbi Manis Freidman, a world-renowned speaker.
Additionally, the Gala will honor the Sherman family. Charles Sherman left a living legacy to Chabad Alef Center to impact future generations. According to Rabbi Yelin, “He supported us financially and emotionally, becoming a very good friend. He always showed a concern for others and for the Chabad House, leaving us a legacy [to uphold].”
Charles’ son, Jim Sherman, was one of the first people Rabbi Yelin and his wife Chanie met when they moved to San Marcos from New York and created Chabad Alef Center. Jim will also speak during the evening, sharing his experience with Chabad Alef Center and how it has enriched his life, the life of his family, and the Jewish community.
The Alef Chabad Center is located at 649 Sandy Lane, San Marcos. Visit alefcenter.com for more information or contact Rabbi or Chanie Yelin at (760) 481-7503.