“Our leaders founded B’nai Adath; our parents mortgaged their homes to house B’nai Adath; we dedicate our lives to ensuring the future of B’nai Adath by rebuilding our Synagogue.”
- Rabbi Baruch A. Yehudah, B’nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael
Like our parents who found a place to meet as a congregation, we must build a place for our congregation. After the November 14, 2017 fire we immediately went to work . From telling our story to ensuring that the green wall surrounding our building does not become an eyesore to our community, to working with our friends and allies we are working hard to rebuild. Together with our Congregation’s leaders and allies we are focused on returning as a vibrant presence to our Bedford Stuyvesant community.
Rebuilding does not begin with bricks and mortar and paint. It begins with maintaining our strong, tight knit community that supports its members. So, our first job in rebuilding has been to stay informed and united as a congregation. To this end, we are thankful to have received the One Call Now Communities of Faith grant. The two-year grant has provided us with a messaging platform across email, text and phone lines that enables us to communicate important information to and among our congregants, including when and where we will next be meeting together.
Only through human connections to individuals and organizations who provide their friendship and expertise will we truly rebuild our Synagogue and a strengthen our congregation, enabling us and our Bedford-Stuyvesant community to thrive. Thankfully, we have been blessed with critical help from many outside of B'nai Adath.
The Israelite Board of Rabbis and our fellow Israelite member congregations have been particularly supportive. Beth Shalom Hebrew Congregation, located on Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, has welcomed us into their home for shared worship on many Shabbats and holidays when we have been unable to find a location to gather together as a single congregation.
We are also building strong connections to mainstream Jewish and other local religious communities. Rabbi Joseph Potasnick, Executive Vice President of New York Board of Rabbis has worked to help us in many ways, even introducing us to Union Temple which welcomed, and continues to welcome, us into their home. When we see our neighbors, as well as clergy and members of our local churches, they always ask us when we are returning to the corner of Greene and Patchen.
“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and … stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not; lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes.”
- Isaiah, Chapter 54 verse 2
We have established and are building a team of nationally known architects, lawyers and consultants experienced in advising congregations on how to rebuild their synagogue homes. The vision for our renovation was set before the fire. Our team is led by Joshua Zinder, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, and Michael Landau AIA, of Landau Zinder. Augie Dalonzo of Cow Bay Contracting has also been very helpful to us in the planning of our project. Our legal team, led by Susan Zinder, Esq. of the Law Office of Susan F. Zinder, PLLC, includes attorneys nationally recognized for their representation of religious entities and non-profits in real estate development transactions. Nicholas Donovan, Esq. of Donovan LLP, and Nicholas Hockens, Esq. and Jessica Rubenstein,Esq and of Greenberg Traurig have been essential in our planning processes and will continue to be essential in our rebuilding efforts.
At the moment, our main challenge is fundraising. While we received a number of critical donations in the immediate aftermath of the fire, fundraising remains an ongoing uphill challenge for us. We urge you to learn about us and join our support team. While we are frequently guests of other congregations, our calendar reflects where and when we expect to join together as a single congregation and should be regularly checked for updates so that you can come, visit and worship with us.
We also urge you to do a Mitzvah (good deed) through a contribution to our rebuilding and other fundraising efforts. Donations of any amount are most welcomed.