Temple Tomorrow: A Campaign for The Temple-Tifereth Israel

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A Campaign for The Temple -Tifereth Israel

The Eternal spoke to Moses, saying… You shall accept offerings for Me from everyone whose heart is so moved…Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. – Exodus 25

Our History and Mission

Our Temple’s past is a glorious tapestry, inextricably interwoven with Cleveland’s cultural and religious fabric. In 1850, just fourteen years after Cleveland was incorporated, a small but determined cadre of forty-seven families organized themselves into a nascent Reform congregation they named Tifereth Israel. Four years later, spurred on by a $3000 bequest from Judah Touro of New Orleans that these visionaries challenged themselves to match, they built the synagogue on Huron Road that was our congregation’s first home, echoing the Jewish People’s journey of two millennia.

The timeline of The Temple encompasses some of the most momentous events in Jewish and American history: the Civil War, the immigration of European Jewry, the Balfour Declaration of 1917, World Wars I and II, the Holocaust, the establishment of Israel in 1948 and subsequent wars for its survival, the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Yitzchak Rabin, 9/11 and more.

These events were reported in the media of their day, but it was within the walls of The Temple, surrounded by friends and family, that congregants sought meaning and perspective. On occasions of jubilation we celebrated together. In times of heartbreak and tragedy we found comfort in this place and in each other. And we can expect with utmost certainty that we will share such milestones and watershed moments in the years and decades to come.

From modest beginnings, The Temple has blossomed into a diverse, vibrant, and caring community and an unparalleled spiritual, educational, and social force in our region and our lives. Its stability and longevity are remarkable, reflecting the clarity of its mission, the timeliness of its vision, the timelessness of its values. They are a tribute to the efforts, talents, and resources its members and leaders have always shared so abundantly.

While some of us trace our roots to The Temple’s founding families, many more have been newcomers, enthusiastically welcomed through our doors each year. Enveloped by the warmth, dignity, and beauty of our spiritual home, each generation has taken up the baton from the prior one, earnestly and honorably, adding its unique contribution to this precious heritage.

Now is the time for our generation to step forward.

The Need

House of Study, House of Prayer, House of Assembly – Talmud

Jewish tradition sees synagogues as houses of study, prayer and assembly, but it knows that a synagogue is more than a house; it is a home. Thus, The Temple’s vision statement affirms: We are a warm, welcoming synagogue family where each person matters. We cherish our rich history and traditions and foster a dynamic culture of imagination and innovation. Members of all ages find meaning and inspiration by developing enduring personal connections with each other, Torah, God, the State of Israel, and the Jewish People, and through acts of justice and compassion.

To realize this vision, our synagogue family needs a home that is worthy of its aspirations. The historic Temple, University Circle, our congregation’s sole venue from 1924-1970, is now used principally for ceremonial occasions. Dedicated in 1970, The Temple, Beachwood was built to house religious school programs for Temple families living in the eastern suburbs. Once known as “the Branch,” it has gradually become the center of our Temple’s life. Though still beautiful, it is aging and needs renovation and, despite periodic expansion, it is far from adequate for the quantity, quality, and variety of activities of a robust congregation of more than 1400 households.

A renovated, updated, and expanded facility (supported by a more substantial endowment) will also help us tackle successfully new challenges presented by today’s world, as technology, lifestyles, and demographics continue to evolve and as we consider crucial questions:

How do we attract the next generation to our congregation?
How do we further engage our current members and their families?
How do we define what The Temple will mean to us and future generations?

The Project

We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us. – Winston Churchill

The Campaign for The Temple provides a precious and timely opportunity to renew our facilities and programs as we go forward into a new era of educational, cultural, spiritual and religious life.

The project will create an inspiring, integrated facility that is beautiful, environmentally sensitive, technologically advanced, and highly functional. Existing spaces will be renovated and reoriented and new ones added, including: a chapel, religious school wing, early learning center, gallery, meeting and multipurpose rooms, and a distinctive, welcoming new entrance. Parking, traffic, and building access will be reconfigured to be closer, safer, and more convenient.

We have engaged Centerbrook Architects, one of the nation’s most renowned design and architecture firms, to listen, observe, and interact with us, and to present a creative, inspired vision of a home that will serve our Temple family for the next generation and beyond. Soon we will begin to see conceptual designs and renderings – a peek into a future that becomes reality if we demonstrate the necessary collective philanthropic commitment.

An Unprecedented Opportunity and A Worthy Challenge

Ani ve’ata neshaneh et ha’olam – You and I will change the world. – Arik Einstein

The Mandel Foundation’s extraordinary $16 million challenge grant will forever lift our dreams, hopes, and expectations. With a generous response from our members and their families, we can create a physical home that stimulates our imagination and inspires each of us as we learn, celebrate, and worship. New endowments will enable us to attract and retain the highest quality clergy and professional staff, to offer outstanding, innovative programs, and to attain fiscal stability by generating resources long into the future.

The Campaign: Our Responsibility, Our Privilege, Our Legacy

When I came into the world I found fruit-bearing trees that others planted before I was born. Now I am planting trees whose fruit will be enjoyed by those who come after me. – Midrash

Our Temple has fostered countless occasions of profound pride, joy, and consolation in the lives of its member families. The memories of each generation are enriched by milestones that shape our identity as Jews, individually and collectively, and as human beings. In both the poignancy of specific life cycle events – births, b’nai mitzvah, weddings, and funerals – and in the recurring rhythms of life, we realize how The Temple shapes us and helps us find meaning, fulfillment and peace.

Our campaign is comprehensive, seeking gifts for facilities, programming, and endowments to realize our ambitious, but achievable aspirations. While the final campaign goal has yet to be set, we aim to exceed the $16 million Mandel challenge and, by doing so, to usher in an exciting future for The Temple and all those it serves. Every gift will take us a step closer to the completion of our expanded and renovated campus, the enhancement of our programs, and the continued excellence of our staff.

As Temple members, each of us will be asked to consider carefully our role in renewing our congregation and to contribute to the extent of our personal ability. Each of us will be asked to demonstrate our gratitude to our Temple and the confidence in its future that the Mandel challenge grant expresses. We want every member of our synagogue family to be vested in the success of the campaign and to feel a sense of ownership of the greatly enhanced congregation that will result.

The outcome of this campaign, our collective effort, will be a priceless gift to ourselves, our families, and our community, and will create a sacred legacy for the future. Eight generations of members have fulfilled the sacred responsibility to preserve, renew and strengthen our Temple. We come together now, as a singular community, to take our place in that unbroken chain of Jewish commitment and continuity.

We invite you to support this groundbreaking effort. Help us write the next chapter of our synagogue’s splendid history. Help us build The Temple’s future today.

Todah Rabbah! Heartfelt Thanks!
Richard A. Block, Senior Rabbi • Jeanne Tobin, Temple President • Amy Kaplan, Campaign Chair

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