Temple Israel Synagogue, our well-loved spiritual home, is over 40 years old. Built for 100 families, it now is the gathering place, the school, the celebration space and the locus of prayer and ceremonies for more than 300 families.
Temple Israel’s building has served us well for 47 years, but it’s time for a refresh. Updates to improve accessibility, security, safety and aesthetics will ensure that our building can best serve the needs of our current membership and next generations.
The project focuses on six themes:
- Building renewal – creating a physically accessible home for the future
- Community renewal – creating spaces for growth as a community
- Spiritual growth – enhancing the Sanctuary as a place for this growth
- Social inclusivity – strengthening Temple as an inclusive home for ALL routes to Judaism
- School renewal – supporting the learning and involvement of future generations – l’dor v’dor
- Secure community – keeping the congregation safe through enhanced security
Following an overwhelmingly positive vote on October 13, 2022 to go forward, we are launching the $4.3M Door to the Future Campaign to fund our synagogue’s renewal. 60% of the Campaign goal has already been secured in the form of $2.7M from 15 very generous Temple families. We thank them with our deepest gratitude for their commitments.
We spoke loud and clear to Temple leadership that the much-needed and long-awaited rejuvenation and adaptation for accessibility of our synagogue building is a dream that has finally arrived. This is our moment to make an investment in our shared future in Temple life – and in continuity in our liberal Jewish community.
Door to the Future Campaign Co-Chairs
Together we voted to renew our building in record numbers. We spoke loud and clear to Temple leadership that the much-needed and long-awaited rejuvenation and adaptation for accessibility of our synagogue building is a dream that has finally arrived. This is our moment to make an investment in our shared future in Temple life – and in continuity for our liberal Jewish community.
Tzedakah is a “Mitzvah” – a commandment and good deed – having the implication of obligatory duty.
Personally, I remember my parents being deeply devoted to and involved in the Jewish community fundraising and my mother was one of the first chairs of “Women’s Division of our Ottawa United Jewish Appeal”.
Last fall, I was honoured to be asked to co-chair the “Door to the Future” Campaign, together with Margot Montgomery and Christine Kessler. Now I’m excited and pleased to tell you that the Campaign to rejuvenate and enhance our building is now underway!
Many people avoid canvassing because talking about money is potentially uncomfortable. My perspective is that I am offering individuals an opportunity for Tzedakah, and so I enjoy this social process.
As some of you know, we have already raised $2.7M from 15 generous lead donors, and we are working hard to raise $1.6M more – for a total project cost of $4.3M.
As we move forward, we have a terrific team that includes the co-chairs of the three Committees (Longstanding Members: Mark Holzman and Margo Rosen; Newer Members: Leona Crabb and Aliza Rudner; and Young Families: Sarah Berns and Aviva Stewart), and a much longer list of volunteer canvassers!
Our conversations with the congregation so far have told us that many of you would appreciate guidance about charitable giving, and that an article about Tzedakah might be helpful in this context.
The literal translation of Tzedakah means “righteousness” (the base is “Tzedek”, translating as “justice”), even though often used to signify charity. Our Western culture perceives charity as spontaneous gestures of goodwill and generosity. The Judaic approach emphasizes the ethical obligation to do what is “right and just”. This is independent of one’s financial means.
In Jewish homes, it starts early in life, exemplified by the Jewish National Fund box (“pushka”) where children contributed their coins. Both with traditional orthodox Jews as well as in other cultures, tithing 10% of their incomes supported those in need.
The reality is that tithing has become nearly obsolete in our expensive society, especially with inflationary pressures – many families live on the margin and cannot imagine donating 10% of their income, even restricted to the discretionary portion. There is also anxiety, with health issues of aging and increased life expectancy, that savings may be insufficient.
Guilt and/or pressure-tactics shouldn’t be part of a canvasser’s approach. People should not be expected to give beyond that which makes them feel proudly generous – that they have provided a contribution to support our social welfare goals – in our Campaign’s context, to build a more accessible, secure and enhanced Temple for our community.
What donation amount should one contemplate giving? It is sometimes helpful to place “giving” into the context of one’s other discretionary expenses and compare to monthly restaurant or entertainment spending.
As an example, if family income can support restaurant dinners multiple times per month at an average cost of $100 (a low estimate these days!), maybe one might consider the equivalent of one dinner monthly implying a donation of $1,000-1,200 annually (taking into account charitable tax credits, the personal cost is actually significantly less).
Requests for giving are incessant and there are so many worthy causes that can assume personal priority. While many of these are very worthwhile, they can still have a somewhat elusive social impact.
Please realize that a donation to our “Door to the Future” Campaign, for which we are seeking a commitment over as much as four years, is more concrete and is an investment in our community’s future.
The “Door to the Future” Campaign and its enthusiastic team of canvassers who, over the next 12 weeks, will be reaching out to you as part of our Temple family, thank you for your consideration and appreciate you responding to our call!!”
Gary Viner MD,
Co-Chair, Door to the Future Campaign
Message from the Building Renewal Action (BRAC) Co-chairs
As co-chairs, our commitment to this project is rooted in our shared vision of a renewed Temple building that meets our communal needs and is achievable with the resources our community can bring to bear. This requirement, to develop not just a vision but one that can be realized, has been met, and with it we open the door to the future, one that we invite you to walk through together.
A bright and welcoming new main entrance is part of a two-story annex at the parking side of the building. The lower level of the annex will feature an entry hall with two sets of doors for security screening, known as a secure vestibule. Our building will have enhanced accessibility via exterior ramps and an elevator, and will include a bimah ramp in the sanctuary.
Other exciting improvements include:
How can you help with the Building Renewal project?
The overall project budget is $4.3M and $2.7M has already been raised or pledged. After a positive vote, a fundraising campaign will launch in October to raise the remaining $1.6M. From November 2022 to February 2023, volunteers are needed to reach out to over 300 Temple families to seek financial support. We are working with a fundraising consultant who will train volunteers and help track progress. Everyone can contribute to this effort.
Help us spread the word about this project! Refer folks you know to the website and encourage members to support Building Renewal. You could help with communications, event hosting, fundraising, and much more! Here are some anticipated upcoming projects: people with expertise in building décor are needed to refine detailed plans; the library books need to be rationalized to plan for relocation in a smaller space.
To get involved, contact the President or a Building co-chair, see Temple’s Weekly Update for coordinates.
Help us raise needed funds.