Chabad of Port Washington will open Florence’s Mini-Israel in late April. The 3,000 square-foot indoor playground is sponsored by Dr. Martin Brownstein and the immersive environment is set to become a community landmark and to set a new benchmark in cultural education.
Chabad of Port Washington will open Florence’s Mini-Israel in late April. The 3,000 square-foot indoor playground is sponsored by Dr. Martin Brownstein, and came about because Sara Paltiel, director of Chabad of Port Washington Florence Brownstein Preschool, wanted to build something that catered to the preschool set.
“I wanted to do something educational, cultural, Jewish, and positive,” says Paltiel, who has been working on the project for two years. “New Yorkers spend most of their time indoors, and kids really need a playground. I wanted something beautiful for the kids.”
Mini-Israel is an immersive environment, and Paltiel says she expects it to become a community landmark and to set a new benchmark in cultural education. The vast space encompasses every aspect of the actual state of Israel, from an archeological dig that encourages children to use their gross motor skills, to a shuk (marketplace) that allows children to engage in a full sensory experience, to the Western Wall, which features a live feed to the actual Western Wall in real time.
There is also a camel, a garment district, a souvenir store, a candy store, a produce store, a spice shop, an outdoor chupah, and a dollhouse. Middle Eastern music will play throughout the space, and there is a café attached. “You really have it all,” Paltiel says.
Mini-Israel will be available to rent for Sunday birthday parties upon its opening. In the future, Paltiel says Chabad of Port Washington looks forward to hosting community and school groups, religious groups, private events, and visiting dignitaries.