PicturesFor pictures of the renovation, click here
CommitteeThe renovations committee includes: Dan Greenfield (chair), Rabbi Wasserman, Tina Reiger, Rhonda Horvitz, Barb Feige, Len Feldman, Mark Sperling, Rob Itzkowitz, Itzik Levari, Macy Kisilinsky, Stanley Greenfield, Ilana Schwarcz, Chuck Perlow and Sharyn Rubin.
ProcessThe committee has been developing, and continues to develop, plans for the renovations, based on much research and background work. Recommendations for major design elements are developed by subcommittees and approved by the entire committee (upon consultation with the architect) and are given to the board for final approval. Your input has been important throughout this process in this and other areas and we continue to invest much time and effort to listen and consider that input. As the construction proceeds, other major design elements will be finalized. These are but a couple of examples. There are many more and many people, working in subcommittees have done much legwork to get us the necessary information and make recommendations.
Preparation and oversightThere is a great deal that must be done in preparation for launching the project and even more that will need to be done to oversee and manage the project once it commences. After a long process of proposals and bids, the Board of Directors has chosen a contractor for the project (Keane Construction). We've entered into exclusive negotiations with the contractor to refine the proposal, define the full scope of work, and prioritize the design renovations together with necessary and long-neglected infrastructure and safety issues (such as asbestos remediation and replacing the electrical system). Work is planned to be done in phases that will (hopefully) be completed over the course of a multi-year effort. The construction subcommittee (Jason Small and Levi Tewner) are working with Macy Kisilinsky to prepare for the construction. For example: They have been investigating options for disposal of the present seats in a proper manner that will not cost us money. Macy is also spending a considerable amount of time negotiating the construction financing and responding to the due diligence requests from the two banks that are proposing financing offers. Again, these are but two examples of the progress we've made.
FundraisingIt is really simple. The engine of this project is fueled by your pledges. Thank you to all of you have generously made pledges to this project. Rabbi Wasserman continues to develop contacts beyond the membership and has been in touch with past members of the shul, spanning many decades. He is preparing to launch a "legacy" campaign to reconnect past Shaare Torah families with this project.
Phase One of this project will be as large as the pledges that we have. We will not extend ourselves beyond what we have and we will not saddle the shul with long-term debt. The key is cash. The more cash we have up front the less we pay in financing cost. The more cash we have early in the process, the less of our fund raising dollars go to the bank and the more money we have to add elements to Phase One. Rabbi Wasserman and Barb Feige are continuing to speak to members and others about the project. If you have made a verbal pledge we need that pledge in writing (forms are available in the office and can be e-mailed to you). If you have not yet made a pledge, we look forward to your support. If you have made a pledge and can move more of the payments up into the term of the pledge, we ask you to do so. You must be aware, however, that the time for conversation, at least with respect to this first phase, is drawing to a close. The time for action is now, as you will realize as you read further.
TimelineAs per the resolutions of the Board of Directors, we are ready to start this very exciting project. The first step is to remove the seats and the stage, then the asbestos contractor will remove the ceiling of the main sanctuary. This first preparatory step will begin on this Monday, March 20. We will begin davening in the social hall the following Shabbat (March 25). The first few weeks and into Pesach will take some getting used to, but it will be very exciting. Once work commences we will be sending out weekly updates of the progress and constant directions and reminders as we figure out all the details of the new logistics of our using a building undergoing major renovations.
As always, we welcome your input. Please feel free to bring any issues, comments, or problems to the attention of Rabbi Wasserman, Len Feldman, Dan Greenfield et. al. Together we will all make this new vision for a new generation of Shaare Torah become a reality!