Pin on Pinterest
Rabbi Menachem and Rivkie Block Rabbi Menachem and Rivkie Block will be honored for their three decades of service as the founders and leaders of Chabad of Plano/Collin County

Founders and Leaders Rabbi Menachem Block and Rivkie Block to be honored

Chabad of Plano/Collin County invites the community to celebrate its 30th Anniversary at its Annual Gala, “Going Forward with Strength,” Sunday, March 27, 5:30 p.m. dinner and 7:30 p.m. program, at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.  Rabbi Menachem and Rivkie Block will be honored for their three decades of service as the founders and leaders of Chabad of Plano/Collin County.

“When my wife, Rivkie, and I arrived in Plano from Brooklyn with two young children 30 years ago, we knew we had a big job ahead,” said Rabbi Menachem Block. “At that time Plano housed a population of 100,000 people with a fledgling Jewish community. Our goal was to fill that void, and with the help of so many loyal friends and supporters, we have been successful. In fact, we are outgrowing our current structure! Our goal is to move forward with strength taking the wisdom and relationships we have gained to make the next chapter of Chabad of Plano/Collin County even stronger.”

Upon arriving in Plano, the Blocks immediately went to work with a focus on four major areas: holiday celebrations, Hebrew school, summer day camps, and adult education. They organized events, including Plano’s first menorah lighting with 50 people standing outside the Jewish Community Center preschool. Longtime friends and supporters Florence and Howard Shapiro lit the first candle – a symbol of miraculous deliverance – as her parents, both Holocaust survivors, looked on. From 1992 to 2000, the Blocks worked out of their home holding Hebrew school, services, and classes. A new level of growth came in 1998 when supporter Abe Lang purchased the lot for the future Lang Chabad Center. Once completed in 2000, the 13,000 sq. ft. Chabad building on Park Boulevard gave Jews of Plano their own synagogue, a Hebrew School, Camp Gan Israel, a Jewish library, holiday celebrations, and eventually a preschool, called Gan Gani, touching thousands of people over the course of 30 years.

“On this 30th anniversary of Chabad, we will pay our respect to the two individuals whose spirit and enthusiasm have served as an inspiration to us all,” said Dr. Mark Geller, a longtime friend of the couple and supporter of Chabad of Plano. “Their work has not only benefited us individually but has also sent ripples into the community at large with benefits for people of all faiths and ethnicities.”

As the first rabbi to call Plano home, Rabbi Block along with his wife, Rivkie, were instrumental in taking Judaism into the streets, making Jewish life present in Plano in a public and permanent way. However, according to the Blocks, their greatest accomplishment is their eight children and twelve grandchildren, including four married children who live in the area and are leading Chabad centers of their own in Legacy West, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, and Rockwall.

“When you remain humble, you see people differently,” added Rivkie Block. “You see them through the lens of what you can bring to the relationship. And the blessings we have received in Plano are infinitely greater than anything that we have given.”

“This is a couple who continue to put people first, and they have grown Chabad into a thriving, inspirational community – a community that has expanded through the leadership of their children,” added Howard Shapiro, a longtime friend and Chabad supporter. “Join us on March 27 for what is sure to be an extraordinary celebration.”

For information about Chabad of Plano/Collin County’s 30th Anniversary Gala, visit, call (972) 596-8270 or email . Sponsorships are available and donations are welcome. 

Chabad of Plano/Collin County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and social programs for families and children across Collin County.

Pin on Pinterest
March 21- livestreamed - The Legacy of Elie Wiesel Elisha Wiesel will present “A Story for Our Times” and talk about the legacy of his father Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, author, and human rights advocate. The event will take place on Sunday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. This LIVESTREAMED, one-hour event is presented by Chabad of Plano and is FREE for anyone to join in. For more information and to pre-register, visit Following registration, you will receive an email with a reminder and the direct link before the event.

LIVESTREAMED and FREE, this is an opportunity for the community to come together and hear a timely story of resilience and healing


Chabad of Plano/Collin County invites the community to “The Legacy of Elie Wiesel through the eyes of his son, Elisha Wiesel,” on Sunday, March 21, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m., livestreamed and free from The event’s Signature Sponsor is H-E-B/Central Market.

The event will feature guest speaker Elisha Wiesel – the only child of Elie Wiesel, the famed Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, author, and human rights advocate – sharing a timely story of resilience and healing. Through his personal recollections and journey, Elisha will deliver a message of optimism, mutual understanding, and compassion.

“It is a great honor to host an evening that will feature the legacy of Elie Wiesel through the eyes of his only child, Elisha,” said Rabbi Menachem Block, executive director, Chabad of Plano. "He will share how his father’s wisdom and understanding, gleaned through the horrors of the Holocaust, are relevant and meaningful today as we struggle as a society to reach a place of mutual respect and acceptance.” 

Elie Wiesel was a Nobel-Prize winning writer, teacher and activist known for his internationally acclaimed memoir Night, in which he recounted his experiences as a teenager surviving the Holocaust and brought real awareness of its horrors to the public consciousness. Born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet, Romania, Elie Wiesel pursued Jewish religious studies before his family was forced into Nazi death camps during WWII. Wiesel survived, but his parents and little sister perished. Praised as a “messenger to mankind” by the Nobel Committee, Wiesel penned more than 50 books and became an activist, orator, and teacher, speaking out against persecution and injustice across the globe. 

He was the founding chairman and leading force behind the establishment of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, the Medal of Liberty Award, and the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor. Wiesel, who became a United States citizen, lived with his wife and only child, Elisha, in New York City. Soon after he received the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace, he and his wife established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Wiesel died on July 2, 2016, at the age of 87, leaving a legacy of calling for people to stand and speak out against injustice and bigotry.

When Elie passed, Elisha realized many missed his voice. This has led him to speak from time to time about his father's legacy and share his message when the right opportunities arise for impact. 

“My father never forgot,” said Elisha Wiesel. “The things he saw stayed with him all the days of his life. He lived to speak of them to me and to my children. My father became the witness for the six million murdered Jews.”

Elisha Wiesel retired from a 25-year financial markets career as chief information officer at Goldman Sachs and recently joined the Israeli fintech startup, The Floor, as chairman of its board of directors. He lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

During the livestreamed event, Mabrie Jackson, Director, Public Affairs, H-E-B/Central Market will be honored with the Florence Shapiro Distinguished Leadership Award. Prior to joining H-E-B/ Central Market in 2016, she served as president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, a member of the Plano City Council, and as interim president and CEO for the Plano Chamber of Commerce. She has also held roles with Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft and EDS) and ran for Texas Legislature as the Republican primary and run-off election candidate for the Texas House District 66 seat. An advocate for global trade, Jackson currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dallas. She holds numerous positions on boards, councils, and committees across North Texas.

“Civically engaged for decades on state and local levels, Mabrie Jackson has strengthened the fabric of our community,” added Rabbi Block. “She is a role model of optimism during our challenging times and believes deeply in the vital role of diversity and in celebrating the uniqueness and beauty of the many cultures found in our communities. Chabad of Plano is honored to present this distinguished award to Mabrie Jackson in recognition of her many accomplishments and contributions.”

Event co-chairs are Marla Buskin, Karen Glanger, Bonita Gluckman, Sharona Ohayon, and Erin Simon. To RSVP and receive reminders about the upcoming, free, livestreamed event, and for more information, visit . For questions, contact Cynthia Musgrave, 972-596-8270, or Sponsorships are available and donations are welcome.

“Anyone from anywhere may join us for this free, meaningful livestreamed evening with Elisha Wiesel,” said Rabbi Block. “We must never forget what happened, we must never look the other way, and we must continue to educate the younger generations. Spend an hour with us on March 21, hear the inspirational story of an incredible man who survived unthinkable horrors and dedicated his life to telling his story and educating and helping others, and go forward and make a difference.”

Chabad of Plano/Collin County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and social programs for families and children across Collin County.

# # #

Pin on Pinterest
Chabad of Plano/Collin County Chanukah Celebration Plano dignitaries and special guests joined Chabad of Plano/Collin County at the lighting of the 5-foot ice menorah at the Chanukah Fire 'n Ice community event at The District at The Shops at Willow Bend.This year's outdoor event provided attendees with a safe way to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah during the pandemic. Pictured next to the ice menorah are: Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere; Rabbi Menachem Block, Chabad of Plano/Collin County; Plano City Manager Mark Israelson; and Plano Chief of Police Ed Drain.

This outdoor Chanukah Fire ‘n Ice event allowed attendees to safely celebrate the beginning of Chanukah during the pandemic; Chabad’s 9-foot steel menorah will be on display in the Dillard’s Court at The Shops at Willow Bend for the entire Chanukah

Chabad of Plano/Collin County lit a 5-foot ice menorah to mark the first night of Chanukah at the annual Plano community menorah lighting on December 10, outdoors at The District at The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. Attendees watched Chef Pete ( sculpt the ice menorah on site while enjoying Chanukah music. This Chanukah Fire ‘n Ice event is part of the worldwide Chanukah campaign to highlight and encourage the central theme of the holiday, publicizing the story of the Chanukah miracle and the victory of light over darkness – a message of hope greatly needed today amidst the darkness of the pandemic. This year’s global campaign will see Chabad reach 8 million Jews in more than 100 countries. With safety measures limiting many in-person gatherings, Chabad will erect some 15,000 large public menorahs, which will be seen by millions on streets and public squares around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin.

Rabbi Menachem Block kicked off the program by recognizing Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz, also of Chabad of Plano/Collin County, for his work in putting the evening’s program together. He also welcomed Plano dignitaries and special guests Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Plano City Manager Mark Israelson, and Plano Chief of Police Ed Drain.

Howie Pock, specialty leasing manager, The Shops at Willow Bend, provided greetings and shared that Chabad of Plano/Collin County has been lighting the menorah at The Shops at Willow Bend for 20 years and announced that the shopping center had some exciting things planned in the coming months.

City Manager Mark Israelson welcomed Chief of Police Ed Drain to the stage. Chief Drain shared that while it has been a tough year, there is no better place to be than Plano, where there are wonderful people and resources. Drain added that he was honored to participate in the event, sharing that his son-in-law is Jewish and that lighting the menorah was an important tradition in his family. He stressed the importance of carrying on with our traditions wherever they can be done safely.

Rabbi Block then called Mayor LaRosiliere to the stage to make a special presentation to him on behalf of Chabad of Plano/Collin County, thanking him for his past eight years of leadership. “Mayor LaRosiliere is a dear friend whose leadership has been characterized by wisdom, caring, and integrity,” said Rabbi Block.

Mayor LaRosiliere shared that he and Rabbi Block have been longtime friends, first meeting when he was running for city council. “I have my own Rabbi!” said the Mayor. “He has been a friend to me and the City of Plano, and I call him my teacher. We make a point to meet regularly, and he always has a message for me, helping me with whatever I may be struggling with at the time.”

Following the lighting of the ice menorah, attendees enjoyed a lively fire show. Chabad presented a Chanukah gift bag with a Chanukah story book, chocolate gelt and a dreidel to each attending family. Chabad of Plano/Collin County has been lighting the menorah in the Plano community for the past 27 years. 

“The flames of the menorah shine out into the night, reminding us that even when confronted with much darkness, a tiny light can dispel it all. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light can make all the difference,” added Rabbi Block, Chabad of Plano/Collin County.

# # #

About Chabad of Plano/Collin County

Chabad of Plano/Collin County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and social programs for families and children across Collin County.  For more information about Chanukah and a local schedule of events visit