In 2006, Rabbi Shmuli and Chana Novack moved to Jacksonville to Serve the Jewish Community.

At first gatherings were held in rented meeting rooms, and the library. Within a few months a home was located to serve as the family’s residence as well as the home for Chabad’s activities. Ganeinu – Chabad’s Preschool was born. Shabbat Services began attracting a handful of guests. Within months dozens of regulars were attending Shabbat Dinners. On-Campus programming was launched with “JewNF.” Chabad was just getting off the ground.

In 2007 a new Torah Scroll was commissioned by Lazar Finker and Chabad entered into a contract on a property off of St. Johns Bluff Road. By 2008, construction was underway and, in January of 2009, the Certificate of Occupancy was issued by the City of Jacksonville.

As programs and participation grew, a campaign was launched to build a new center to best serve the needs of the growing community.

In 2019 The Finker-Frenkel Chabad Center was inaugurated, with great fanfare, including a performance by famed violinist Itzhak Perlman and a visit from Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. 

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A Glimpse into Chabad’s Activities


Shabbat Services and Dinners

Old friends and new ones gather on Friday Evenings for a warm Shabbat experience. Following services and a lesson on the weekly Torah Portion, a full course delectable Shabbat meal is served and an evening of camaraderie, inspiration and celebration ensues often into the early hours of the morning. Shabbat (Saturday) Services are also held each week.

Holiday Programming

The busy Holiday schedule on the Jewish Calendar presents a powerful opportunity to share the beauty of our heritage with the greater community. On Passover, we share “The Model Matzah Bakery,” and on Chanukah we participate in the Public Menorah Lightings and “The Olive Press Demonstration.” The community Sukkah with the Lulov and Etrog Workshop and the joyous Purim masquerade event – all with a hands-on experience and a positive and enjoyable atmosphere - bring our colorful Holidays to life with new meaning and appreciation.


Early Childhood Development Center

Ganeinu, Chabad’s Early Childhood Development Center, is a leader in early childhood education on the First Coast. At Chabad, each child is treated like a precious little world full of life and wonderful possibilities. The classroom is built around engaging learning centers where children develop motor, cognitive, and social skills. Our program exceeds all State guidelines and provides excellence in early childhood education while instilling a love for Judaism and a love for learning in our students.

JDS - Jewish Day School

In 2011, The Day School was founded as a private school recognized by the Florida Department of Education. The Day School is a beneficiary of the Step Up For Students Program offering major tuition subsidies to students from lower income families.

CHS - Sunday Hebrew School

Our educational focus is creating an interactive and welcoming learning environment. Every effort is made to ensure that the learning experience is positive, stimulating, and exciting. We go out of our way to ensure that every child is motivated and engaged. Our students LOVE Hebrew School and look forward to it all week long.

Adult Education

From reading the Aleph-Bet to Jewish Mysticism and everywhere in between, Chabad is proud to offer a variety of Jewish learning opportunities to our community. No specific background is ever needed and all classes are free and open to the public.


Monthly Prison Visitation

Our visitations provide Jewish inmates with friendship, counseling, encouragement and support during monthly meetings with the Rabbi. Chabad of Southside also provides logistical assistance to the Federal Institutions to properly provide for the unique needs of the Jewish Inmate Population. Our efforts are proven to contribute to improved rehabilitation and reduced recidivism.

On Campus

Students are often away from home for the first time and are often pulled in many wrong directions. College years are a critical time and students can be very vulnerable. Chabad strives to provide a home away from home for students, with programs, classes and services designed to engage Jacksonville's University students and keep them coming back for more.


As a hub of world class hospitals Jacksonville attracts a large number of foreign patients, including many Jewish patients and families from overseas. Chabad helps these visitors find residences, kosher food and religious services. Our phone number is often posted in hospital rooms to help patients and families communicate with medical staff.