After years of strategic planning, fundraising and preparation, the Mishkan Aharon Hachnosas Orchim Center is finally at the final stretch of its journey to becoming a fully-functioning, modern-day model of this time-honored mainstay of the kehillah.
The center is a 10,500 square foot residence, with 14 suites of various sizes. It has the capacity to comfortably host up to 14 families or a total of 70 guests at a time for short-term stays.
Lakewood today is home to well over 25,000 families, many of them hailing from cities across America and around the globe. The number of guests visiting Lakewood on an average week for simchos and other occasions is estimated at several hundred. When guests have little or no family in Lakewood or in the immediate vicinity, visiting becomes a real challenge. While there are many generous individuals in Lakewood who regularly open their homes to single guests such as meshulachim or lone visitors to town, hosting larger families, especially during the week, is far more challenging. There are currently no affordable options for hosting such families on an ongoing basis.
The acute and overwhelming need for a Hachnosas Orchim facility in Lakewood, to host families visiting for simchos and other occasions, has been expressed by Lakewood’s rabbonim and communal askanim.
The center will operate 7-days-a-week, 365 days a year, with a professional administrative and maintenance staff to ensure a comfortable and clean, warm and welcoming environment to all guests. The location, right near the entrance to Westgate, is a high-density area where accommodation space is at a premium and very often inadequate to accommodate the hosting needs of the surrounding families. This location, bordering so many different neighborhoods, is literally within walking distance to over 2,000 families and numerous shuls and simcha halls.
For during-the-week stays, location really does not make much of a difference. Even with Lakewood traffic being what it is, driving across town is doable for most people. And, in fact, many more thousands of homes, in addition to the neighborhoods mentioned above, are realistically walkable even on Shabbos.
This center is a first-step initiative, creating a flagship branch for the institution. The goal is ultimately to service the entirety of Lakewood. Currently in the planning stages is a neighborhood network project designed to help match up guests with available hosts in Lakewood’s diverse neighborhoods. With a professionally staffed call-in center, the Mishkan Aharon office will serve as virtual clearinghouse for ba’alei simcha and others seeking accommodations in specific neighborhoods either for Shabbos or overnight stays.
The Hachnosas Orchim house itself will be professionally managed and maintained with its own dedicated administrative and maintenance office. Reservations, laundry, housekeeping will all be done by an in-house professionally trained staff that will uphold our vision for providing an immaculate, warm and inviting experience for all guests. The proposed operations budget is $200,000. This number also includes insurance, security, toiletries, refreshments, supplies and other expenses.
The plan is to provide a most comfortable stay for all guests. All suites are equipped with kitchenettes and family living areas. The common areas feature a lounge, a study lounge, an outfitted playroom and a stocked pantry.
The total cost of the project is $2.5 million. The initial seed money was provided by large scale donors to cover acquisition and development of the property, as well as the entire exterior construction which is now complete. What remains now is the interior construction which costs approximately a1.5 million dollars. With ample funding this project can easily be brought to the finish line. Rabbi Sofer who is spearheading the project is now turning to the broader public to help in the final stretch to the finish line.
The year-round guests visiting Lakewood represent virtually every facet of Klal Yisroel. This is essentially a “Klal Yisroel” cause. Furthermore, we envision this to serve as a model institution to be emulated in kehillos all across Klal Yisroel.
For further information or inquire about dedication opportunities please call 732.569.2671 or visit us at https://www.rayze.it/mishkanaharon/