In order to continue worshiping in its historic, almost 100-year-old Reservoir Hill temple, Beth Am Synagogue will temporarily relocate to make way for a two-phase renovation and construction project. The first phase, which will focus on renovating the existing sanctuary, will begin in early January.
“Phase two will be to assess the highest and best use for our vacant lot next door and to address ongoing facilities, financial and programmatic needs as we continue to attract a growing number young families and others committed to a vital Jewish presence in the city,” said Rabbi Daniel Burg, the congregation’s spiritual leader.
As for the congregation’s relocation, the move will be threefold.
“The most pragmatic solution is to vacate the premises during construction entirely,” Burg said. “That means we’ll have to solve for our three main areas of operation.”
Those areas are worship, education and administration, and will be held at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church on Reisterstown Road, Bolton Street Synagogue on Cold Spring Lane and an office complex on the 2700 block of N. Charles St., respectively.
Burg estimates that the congregation will be able to worship back at the synagogue by late August or early September next year, but has signed on to a three-year lease with the offices on Charles Street.
The synagogue’s educational operation, the Jewish Discovery Lab, is also expected to return to Reservoir Hill at the end of summer.
Moving the operations of a synagogue that counts 480 families as members is no easy task, especially with members scattered all over town. Burg, however, remains enthusiastic.
“It’s been a very exciting process,” he said. “More than 71 percent of our congregation has participated in the campaign.” Beth Am’s capital campaign has raised close to $11 million, $5 million of which will be used to renovate the building.
When asked how he is handling all the change, Burg said, laughing, “Me, personally? Well I’m going on vacation soon, so there is that!”