In renewal

Renewal Project: the Physical Renewal of our Temple NOW.

May 2013

Dear fellow Temple members,

Click the image above to see Renderings, Floor Plans, Phasing Drawings and the Site Plan

Now that it is the season of renewal – and finally even feels like spring – we are eager to share with you some very exciting news about our long-anticipated Renewal Project: we are moving full-steam ahead with the physical renewal of our Temple NOW.

The Temple Board has recently unanimously re-affirmed its full support for the Project and has just instructed our Building Committee to work with our architect, Diamond Schmitt, to prepare schematic and detailed design drawings for the conceptual design that we shared with you last year (click here to view) and which can be seen in the Ava Road foyer at Temple or by visiting the Renewal tab at

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Project Design and Congregational Engagement

You will recall that our current design concept, without The Leo Baeck Day School, now gives us the flexibility both inside and outside the building to accommodate the current and future needs and desires of our congregation, while maintaining all of the key transformative features that have been part of our plan since the outset. These include a new central atrium gathering space, a new Family Chapel (in the current Eisendrath Auditorium location), enhanced outdoor areas, a fully renovated Congregational Hall, a modernized multi purpose education wing and a Main Sanctuary restored to its original splendour. Our renewed building will also incorporate fully updated, environmentally friendly, 21st century HVAC and electrical systems – a welcome and cost-efficient contrast to our notably out-dated and deteriorating infrastructure.

Our world-class architect is currently re-assembling its design team and, under the direction of our Renewal Project Building Committee, will soon begin a series of conversations with over 30 specific Temple activity centres, including Stagecraft, Sisterhood, Out of the Cold, Seniors’ Programming and many more. In addition, all Temple members – young to old and everywhere in between – will have every opportunity to contribute their ideas, in a variety of innovative ways. The coming months of congregational dialogue will not only result in a better building, but will also serve to inspire the broader renewal that we all seek. Planning together for the many facets of our active Temple life – both existing and not yet imagined – will help usher in a spirit of communal enthusiasm for the Project and of shared purpose for our shared future.

The design drawings engagement conversations will formally start in June and will extend through the entire fall season. Once complete, we will be ready to prepare construction drawings and then to tender the Project, with the intent of starting construction immediately following the High Holydays of 2014. Keep your eyes open for invitations to help shape the vision for our building and the Jewish life it contains. In the meantime, please be in touch through [email protected] with any questions, comments or ideas – or if you are ready to volunteer to help with any aspect of the Project. Remember, the Renewal Project belongs to each and every one of us!

Project Phasing and Funding

Click to enlarge

We plan to build the Project in two phases, thereby allowing us to remain in and use at least part of our campus throughout construction. As currently imagined, Phase 1 construction will take about 16 months and will include our new central atrium, renovated administrative offices, our new Family Chapel, a new rabbinic suite, and our upgraded HVAC and electrical infrastructure. (Click here to see conceptual phasing drawings.) Phase 1 is estimated to cost approximately $20 million, including the purchase of the two houses on Ava and Dewbourne and all other costs to date.

Our many generous donors have so far pledged just over $18 million to the Capital Campaign for the Project. Sufficient funds have been raised for Phase 1 to satisfy the 85% threshold mandated by the congregation in order for construction of Phase 1 to start. Following completion of the detailed design drawings later this year, we will prepare a more precise costing for the entire Project, with a breakdown for each of the two phases. This updated Financial Plan will be reviewed by the Financial Oversight Committee, chaired by Harley Mintz, and presented to the congregation.

Phase 2 of the Project is estimated to cost approximately $10 million and will include the restoration of our Main Sanctuary, the renovation of our school wing, the rejuvenation of our Congregational Hall and the creation of our new outdoor space. Construction of this phase will either proceed immediately after the completion of Phase 1 or following as short a pause as possible to allow us to achieve the 85% fundraising requirement for Phase 2. Starting construction of Phase 1 as soon as we can, with our available funds, will enable us to gather the momentum needed to complete the fundraising for the entire Project. Of course, our Renewal Project will only truly succeed when all of our members give generously, each according to his or her means. Please consider what will be a meaningful and aspirational contribution from your own family.

Greater Renewal at Temple

As vital as our Renewal Project may be, it is but one of our Temple’s many exciting forward-facing initiatives, including our ongoing Rabbinic Transition process, the recent launch of our new Religious School model, the expansion of our Nursery School, our internationally-recognized Campaign for Youth Engagement, our award winning Israel Engagement programming, advances in Temple governance, our usual breadth and depth of lectures and other adult education programs and, of course, our joyful Shabbat and daily services.

We have heard consistently that our members care deeply about our congregation, that there are high hopes and great expectations for our future. This is an exciting time in the life of Holy Blossom Temple. We look forward to working together with you to realize our goals, which are both lofty and absolutely within our collective reach.

As we look forward to the next 75 years in our soon-to-be-renewed home, may we gain inspiration from those congregants who over 75 years ago had the vision to take the brave steps from Bond Street to 1950 Bathurst.

Kind regards,

Harvey Schipper
Temple President

Rabbi Yael Splansky

Tom Friedland
Co-Chair, Renewal Project Steering Committee,
and Board Member

Cary Solomon
Chair, Renewal Project Building and Transformation Committee, and Board Officer

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