Testimonials about Chabad of Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch


 I love belonging to Chabad of Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch. It is family to me. My own family is far away but I don't have to worry because in good times and bad the other members of Chabad are there for me. Helpful, willing, able and always with good cheer. I am very lucky to be in such a warm and willing group. The services and classes are exhilarating, too. An all-around happy place to be.

- Barbara Schur -

My family moved to Lakewood Ranch in 2006. When we came here we were looking for a congregation to go to for our family. We found out about Chabad of Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton and went there for Shabbat services. We were hooked. The people who go there are very welcoming, Rabbi Mendy and his wife Chanie are the most welcoming leaders of any congregation that you could join. The warmth and friendliness as well as the Jewish learning cannot be beat anywhere else. We found our Jewish home and love what it has brought to our lives. We look forward to many years of learning, praying and enjoying being part of Chabad of Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton.

- Brent & Ricki Rubin -


Rabbi and Chanie try to find ways to connect a meaningful Jewish lesson about Jewish history or customs with fun and entertainment. Anytime you make learning interactive it tends to make stronger connections and Rabbi Mendy and Chanie do a great job of not only planning activities during Sunday School but also for the high holidays and in the evenings.

- Jerry & Sherri Braunstein -


Chanie, I enjoy the Torah & Tea Classes so much. Being in a class with just women allows me to learn and question in a warm and Haimish environment. Your ability to impart your knowledge and insight in an engaging manner always leaves me feeling enlightened. Rabbi, both of us are thoroughly enjoying the JLI Classes. Whenever you speak we always take away clear and thought-provoking concepts. We have learned so much and feel encouraged to further pursue the material you both are teaching.

- D & L -


Belonging to the Chabad provides my family with a Jewish synagogue, a congregation where they can be Bar and Bat Mitvahed, a wondrous Hebrew School of the Arts where my children are provided an enriched Jewish education including the opportunities to learn the Hebrew language and delve into their cultural heritage through a variety of creative experiences, the CTeen program which provides meaningful networking adventures with other teens while learning about Jewish values and identity, and Camp Gan Israel where my children continue to learn, while having fun and loving it. All of these opportunities have contributed to a positive and promising future for my family. As for the numerous families that follow in our footsteps, this will lead to brighter prospects for Judaism’s future.

- Natalie Christensen -


Chabad has become a very important aspect of our lives. It is a place where my boys can connect to their heritage by attending various programs and events offered by Chabad. In addition, it is a place where we have created wonderful friendships. - Nina Mahadeo -

To me Chabad is many things. It is acceptance, love, friendship, community, belonging and a sense of purpose and direction. It is a light that helps me to see G‑dliness and illuminate the path I travel in life.

- Bryan Hennes -


Chabad is first and foremost our foundation for our relationship with Hashem. It is a place where we become family with other Jewish families to worship and learn with pride traditional Jewish values. We have become more fulfilled in a spiritual sense with our knowledge presented to us in a fun, educational, and warm feeling our Chabad gives us.

- Allen and Wynna Karpe -


We found two homes in Sarasota: One to live in and one to pray and learn in—Chabad of Bradenton at Lakewood Ranch—a warm and welcoming synagogue, led by a dynamic and inspiring rabbi. We are so grateful that we found Rabbi Mendy and Chanie with their seven sons, who make Yiddishkeit relevant in our lives. Shana Tovah to all of our new friends!

- Sam & Sharon Schwartz -


We moved to Lakewood Ranch in 2012 so we can be close to Chabad and the Jewish community and be able to observe our religion, in Lakewood Ranch . We chose the Chabad in Bradenton because of the warmth and sincerity that was shown to us by Rabbi and Mrs. Mendy Bukiet. This Chabad and the Rabbi always welcomes anyone who would like to visit. Services are fun and enjoyable; lots of singing and some parts in English as well. We have made many friends that are like a second family to us now in this place. The Rabbi and his wife are wonderful people with extremely caring personalities. They always give of themselves. Thank you Rabbi Mendy for being here for us.

- Robert & Pamela Weigert -


Before joining Chabad, I was baking Challah for Shabbat, lighting candles and making a blessing on the wine. But something was missing, it was the the sense of belonging and more depth. I decided to attend services and classes given by our great Rabbi Mendy and his wife Chanie. It taught me about who I am and how I can be a better person. Best thing is that it brought me closer to Judaism, and it gave me a sense of fulfillment.

- Yardena Cohen -

Chabad of Bradenton is an amazing learning center for all who seek to gain knowledge about Judaism and what it means to be a Jew; whether you are, aspire to be, or just want to know. They have wonderful adult classes, Ladies Torah & Tea, CTeen program (for post Bar/Bat Mitzvah kids) and even Mommy & Me (for tots) classes. And, of course, Hebrew School infused with the Arts. I have three children, whom have gone there all their lives, one who is in CTeen now and the other two attend Hebrew School of the Arts. The kids absolutely love going. I think it is mostly due to their hands-on way of teaching; through fun activities such as baking, art, music, theater, and Family Fun Days. They also have a wonderful summer camp program. We have been members for over 10 years and absolutely love our Rabbi, his family, our warm congregation, and strongly suggest you come see for yourself.

- Edward & Evelyn Martineau -


Chabad of Bradenton is an exciting breath of fresh air, located in a countryside setting and surrounded by a paradise of G‑d’s creations. Rabbi Mendy Bukiet is absolutely the most magnificent spiritual leader that we have ever experienced. He is the tireless engine behind the shul, animating the prayer services in such an uncanny way that we, as visitors, cannot wait to return to Bradenton to observe Shabbos, the religious holidays and his innumerable, thought-provoking educational classes. Rabbi Mendy and his congenial wife, Rebbetzin Chanie, warmly welcome and embrace all Jews. Inside the shul, the atmosphere is permeated with sanctity and an authentic love for Judaism. Anyone seeking to observe our faith, or renew their spirituality and connection with the Almighty, should come to pray, learn, laugh and make new friends at Chabad of Bradenton - the ideal House of Worship!

- Fanny & Leonard Elias -


Our Shluchim, Mendy and Chanie are so enthusiastic, warm and inviting that you cannot help having the feeling of belonging to something wonderful. The haimish Chabad community gives me a sense of purpose that I never found in any other Jewish house of worship. As a youngster I always felt it was a chore to go to Shabbos services and now I look forward to my Friday nights at Chabad. Being able to pray as I want is very meaningful to me. Chabad is non-judgmental and that is important to me.

- Alan Boorstein -


I came to Chabad to find a congregation that would accept my diverse family, educate my children and to have a place to go for the Jewish holidays. What we found was so much more - a community and a place to call home.

-Suzanna Stein-


The Bradenton Chabad has provided me with a community of people whose attitudes toward each other could best be characterized as chesed, which reflects the attitude of its spiritual leader and his wife: a chasidic family with a welcoming smile, an empowering kavanah, and its people who cherish each member of the community as if we are family. I feel at home in Bradenton Chabad where I can flourish and continue to blossom along my path.

- Warren Strauss -


I grew up in an orthodox environment but after I left home I got away from "the fold." A year or so ago, a friend invited me to attend High Holiday services at the Chabad. It was there that I was surprised that the Rabbi spoke to us in English explaining the prayers and telling interesting stories related to the holidays. After that I decided to see what else they offered. I now go to Chanie's Torah and Tea, learning about Tanya in a very informal and friendly atmosphere. I also attend Rabbi Mendy's Jewish Learning Institute classes. He has a great sense of humor and makes learning fun. Since I have been involved with The Chabad of Bradenton, it feels like I returned home and back into "the fold." It is a place "where everyone knows your name!"

- Sharon Zawadski -


I am a single woman (with 4 dogs) who moved to this area in 2013. I went to different synagogues but nothing felt like the right fit. From the first time I went to Chabad, I knew I was home. I felt welcome and it was wonderful to be with other Jews, and no judgements. Chabad is my family in Florida.

- Susan Parker –



We are not a religious family. However, we wanted something meaningful and authentic for our son. After participating in services and holidays at the Chabad, we decided to become more involved. We saw how celebrations embrace our Jewish traditions and beautiful heritage with such spirituality, and when appropriate with laughter as Mendy is the funniest Rabbi we ever met! Rabbi Mendy and Chanie welcome the congregation as an extension of their own family celebrating many family simchas. We have never felt judged based on our level of observance and have always been made to feel comfortable with a warm acceptance.

- Hillary Lipman –


From time to time I "feel Jewish", as does every Jew, I suppose. However, I want to express this: whether it's eating kosher food, going to services, going to a class, going to one of the many holiday parties all through the year, or just schmoozing with Rabbi Mendy, Chanie, or other Jews, Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch is there. It doesn't matter how knowledgeable I am or how much of a commitment I want to make, Chabad is there every day, all year around, with a friendly, welcoming attitude from everyone.

- Steve Shapiro –


The Chabad of Bradenton has been an integral part of our lives since moving to Florida. It has provided our family with a welcoming, and safe place to learn and worship, as well as celebrate holidays, simchahs, and our overall Jewishness. We are very thankful and appreciative to have such a wonderful resource in our community.

- Aron & Julie Weiner -


“Chabad has taught me so much about understanding the reasons for customs, loving Hashem and His love for us. Chabad has opened my heart, mind & eyes to a beautiful & loving Judaism where all are welcome!”

Rosalie and Joe Slaving


“Chabad makes me feel like I’m returning home. When I think of Chabad I think of the smell of fresh challah, chicken soup, and other traditional delights. I smile to myself when I remember my mother lightning the Shabbat candles and ushering in Shabbat. I feel connected to the wonderful people I have met over the years and some of the friendship that I have made at Chabad. Chabad grounds me in Jewish tradition that makes me feel familiar and safe. I get joy in the services and songs throughout the calendar year. I feel a wonderful belonging to Rabbi Mendy and Chanie. They have successfully embraced the congregation and me with so much love and dedication. That’s what Chabad means for me.”

Sandra Baron


“Many Crossroads lay before me, All at once everywhere entwined, No path or road to follow, There was emptiness behind. Frozen in the stillness, My body told my mind, There's a direction which I could not see, Somehow for me to find. Six years it took to find my way...a blessing came to me, Chabad and Rabbi Mendy showed me to finally SEE.” Elise Bomber


“The moment I moved to Florida, I was blessed to receive an immediate extended family at Chabad of Lakewood Ranch. By valuing unity, kindness, and hospitality; Chabad represents a beacon of light for the entire Jewish community in Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch.”

 Nathan Saed


“It has been nothing but pleasure being a part of Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch for all these years. It offers wonderful Jewish education to adults and children alike in a welcoming atmosphere. My family always looks forward to Chabad's Jewish Holidays celebrations.”
Nina Mahadeo


“We moved to Lakewood Ranch from Atlanta, where we had developed a close bond with Chabad. We quickly found such a nice sense of belonging at Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch that dispelled any apprehension associated with moving to a new city. This congregation has been exceptionally welcoming, and we love the adult education classes. Rabbi Mendy and Chanie are caring, dynamic teachers who have enormous enthusiasm for their programs and are a real gift to this community and to us. We are very grateful for everything Chabad represents.”

Barry & Barbara Dolin


“What this Chabad Center means to me: it’s a place that is accepting, welcoming, warm and loving...non-judgmental...where no level of knowledge, ability to read Hebrew or observance is required...it does so many positive things for this community...and adds greatly to the quality of my life! I encourage you to come, take a look and experience it for yourself.”

Ron Hyatt


“I can't say enough good things about belonging to this Chabad. From day one, Rabbi Mendy and his wife, Chanie, have been so kind and welcoming to my husband, Peter, and I. They are the "real" deal. I come from a background of growing up thinking I was Catholic and recently finding out it was a lie. My family escaped the Nazis by saying they were Catholic. I am learning so much and I don't feel stupid asking any question. Rabbi Mendy and Chanie with their seven boys are truly amazing and I feel safe and loved by them.

Katherine Pike


“The Chabad House is my Jewish Home Away from Home. My friends are there and my wife, Laura, and I feel very close to the Bukiet family. There is a feeling of warmth and spirituality that I do not find at many other institutions. The Rabbi's sermons are very inspirational and are a great guide to help one lead a more holy, Jewish life and increase one's connection to Hashem.”

Steve Weinshel


“My wife and I started going to Chabad of Bradenton for the JLI classes that it offers. The JLI courses are adult college-level courses about Jewish history, philosophy, religion and religious practices. They are challenging, thought provoking, ultimately enlightening and impart a richly rewarding experience. These classes do not disappoint.”

Vic Behar


“Our CTeen chapter has more than doubled in size over the last two years and plans to continue to grow this year too. Monthly events are planned and this past year we had some extreme events like paintball and the escape room that were quite popular for Jewish teens. Other events during the year focus on giving to others or providing smiles to children or seniors. Shabbat dinner at the Rabbi’s house is always full of stories, great food, and one cannot forget lots of laughs. The CTeen International Shabbaton in New York is the experience of a lifetime that should not be missed by any Jewish teen in grades 9-12. It’s a chance to meet Jewish teens from around the world and occurs each year in February. CTeen is an outstanding opportunity for lifetime memories.”

Daniel Braunstein