Chabad of Almaden's new building. (Photo/Facebook)
Chabad of Almaden's new building. (Photo/Facebook)

‘Rising from the ashes’: San Jose Chabad secures spacious new building after fire

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Six months after a fire gutted the small synagogue occupied by the Chabad of Almaden, it has a new San Jose address to call home — with more than double the space.

When escrow closes June 10, Chabad of Almaden will become the official owner of an 8,748-square-foot building on the corner of Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill Road, said Rabbi Mendel Weinfeld, who leads the synagogue with his wife, Mussie. It’s about a mile down the road from the fire-damaged building they left at 1088 Branham Lane.

The fire erupted from the carport outside the synagogue on the morning of Dec. 22, 2021, according to the San Jose Fire Department. The cause was never determined. The fire destroyed every room of Chabad’s 3,246-square-foot building, including the attic. Fortunately, the building was empty, and no one was harmed. The Torahs were rescued by firefighters who pulled them from the ark on the second floor, thanks to community member Jacob Cohen, who rushed to the scene to alert first responders of the need to preserve the scrolls.

Rabbi Mendel Weinfeld surveys the damage at the Chabad House in south San Jose, Dec. 2021. (Photo/Emma Goss)
Rabbi Mendel Weinfeld surveys the damage at the Chabad House in south San Jose, Dec. 2021. (Photo/Emma Goss)

“It is an axiom of our belief system as Jews that tragedy serves not as a setback but as a springboard to propel us to further growth,”  Weinfeld said of acquiring the new building. “We are rising from the ashes and making history in San Jose.”

The new synagogue facility, built in 1971 and renovated in 2011, will house the Chabad’s Hebrew school, prayer services, adult education institute and Shabbat and holiday programs, as well as community outreach programs.

Unlike the previous building, which the Weinfelds rented, this one is being purchased for $4.5 million. Weinfeld said more than 3,500 donors raised 75% of the cost, and he is optimistic more donations will cover the final 25% in the coming days. Donations can be made online at

Jew,  Jewish,  J. The Jewish News of Northern California
Emma Goss.(Photo/Aaron Levy-Wolins)
Emma Goss

Emma Goss is a J. staff writer. She is a Bay Area native and an alum of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and Kehillah Jewish High School. Emma also reports for NBC Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaAudreyGoss.