The year was 1992 when a red-bearded Rabbi Menachem Block arrived from New York with his wife, Rivkie, and their children, 18-month-old Eli and 1-month-old Mushkie, to start a Chabad in Plano. Over the ensuing 30 years, the rabbi’s beard color was not the only thing that experienced change.

Block explained that a Chabad is rooted in the philosophy of life, love and acceptance of every member of the Jewish faith, regardless of their level of knowledge and observance.

In addition to being a synagogue, the Chabad of Plano/Collin County offers Hebrew School for children, adult classes, day camps, a preschool, holiday celebrations and more.

“The emphasis of Chabad is we perform the functionalities of a synagogue, and we have another element, which is the outreach,” Block said.

As soon as the Blocks arrived in Plano all those years ago, the rabbi said he immediately started introducing himself to the Jewish community.

From 1992-2000, the Chabad’s activities were held at the Blocks’ home, including a Hebrew school that Rivkie started.

“When we started, it was very haimish—that is a Jewish word for very cozy,” Block said. “It was small [and] intimate—if you had 10 people show up, it was a big day. We prayed in our garage and went into our living room to eat.”

Eventually, Block met Plano business leader Abe Lang.

“He proved to be my largest financial supporter,” Block said of Lang. “He bought this land and became responsible for the building. Once he gave a significant gift, many others gave.”

The land, located on West Park Boulevard, is the site of the current Lang Chabad Center, which was completed in 2005.

As the Chabad grew, the Block family did as well. Over the years, four of their eight children, along with their spouses, have launched a Chabad in Collin County. The Frisco branch opened in 2014; the one in Legacy West opened in 2017; branches in Allen and McKinney came along in 2019; and one in Rockwall County opened in 2020.

Block described the center as a very active part of Plano’s Jewish infrastructure.

“It’s a place to send a child to camp; come in and celebrate a holiday; a place to say a prayer; [and] to cry on someone’s shoulder,” he said. “We provide a place for life cycle events and much more than that; it’s a place to reconnect to God.”

Chabad of Plano/Collin County

3904 W. Park Blvd., Plano