Visitors to the U.S. Open greeted by a Chabad Rabbi at club that once banned Jews

Tefillin, Shabbat candles and chicken soup for visitors to a club that once barred Jews, blacks and women.

Rabbi+Mendy+Uminer+is+at+the+U.S.+Open%2C+ready+to+serve+the+Jewish+needs+of+all+visitors.

Rabbi Mendy Uminer is at the U.S. Open, ready to serve the Jewish needs of all visitors.

By Menachem Posner, CHABAD.ORG

(Chabad.org/news) — Founded in 1882, and simply named The Country Club, the expansive and exclusive golf club in Brookline, Mass., is once again hosting the U.S. Open on its manicured greens. According to its website, in addition to golf, “the Club has facilities for tennis, platform paddle tennis, swimming, curling … skeet shooting” and more. As one might expect from a club with such a pedigree, it took about a century for The Country Club to allow Jews, blacks, and women into its exclusive membership.

But much has changed, says Rabbi Mendy Uminer, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Chestnut Hill, the affluent Boston suburban area where The Country Club is located. In fact, the rabbi is now spending his days at the club servicing Jewish spectators and others arriving for the U.S. Open, which will run from June 16–19.

Uminer and his wife, Grunie, have spent recent weeks preparing Shabbat kits, each one containing Shabbat candles, grape juice, challah, and, of course, chicken soup, for any visitors who request them. His nearby synagogue is also gearing up for extra attendees at Shabbat services and the kiddush reception that will be held in an outdoor tent.

The form to order free kits as well as local information about kosher food and other Jewish amenities are available on a webpage set up by Chabad of Chestnut Hill.

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Uminer has been liaising with the local police force for more than a year in advance of the event, working to ensure that local life, including services at his Chabad center, could continue as usual, despite the many street closures, hordes of visitors, and other disruptions to the otherwise quiet suburban area.

In addition to the rabbi serving the Jewish needs of visitors inside the club, rabbinical students will be manning a booth located just outside the club.

“The same club that once forbade Jews from joining is going to have a Chabad rabbi putting on tefillin with people inside during one of its most prestigious events,” says the rabbi on Wednesday morning on his way into the club. “I think that’s fantastic.”

Chabad-Lubavitch of Chestnut Hill is located down the road from The Country Club, where the U.S. Open is being held.