In renewal, stories

Renewed spaces inspire renewed giving

Holy Blossom Temple has reached a major milestone with the near-completion of Phase 1 of our Renewal Project. As you know, on December 2nd, we marked this monumental occasion at our Housewarming Celebration, attended by over 1000 people. And a massive crowd turned out for last week’s David Frum lecture, seeing our renewed spaces for themselves at a post-event mingle.

The responses have been overwhelmingly positive and centre mostly around the Schwartz/Reisman Atrium – the “living room” of Temple. Many of you have told us you feel inspired by the new light-filled space and how it showcases the various components of life at Holy Blossom. And we’ve had so much good feedback about the many opportunities the renewed spaces will provide – from hosting large gatherings in the Atrium to joyous family celebrations in the Mishkan (“…it’ll bring Simchas back to Holy Blossom!”) to how our new spaces will expand our work of chesed and good deeds to the community. Others have simply said, “it’ll just be nice to have peaceful and inspiring spaces for contemplating work and life.”

Not surprisingly, seeing the near-completion of the project and its impressive design has also inspired many members to consider their own financial contributions to the Project. To date, Phase 1 has raised $29.8 million – that’s over $300 thousand in the last 2 weeks alone – bringing us ever closer to our Phase 1 fundraising goal. Here’s what some of these new donors said about their gifts:

“For more than 40 years, I have cherished Holy Blossom Temple as a mainstay in my life,” says Sandra Atlin, who made a commitment to Renewal after seeing the building at the Housewarming.  “Over the decades, both my late husband Gordon and I have been involved in many Temple committees and projects, with Gordon twice serving as Temple vice-president. By contributing to Renewal, I am honouring our strong connection to Holy Blossom.  Through this legacy to the future, I am proud to be part of making the Renewal dream into a reality.”

Another long-time member, Annalee (Rother) Schnurr, commented on the recent passing of her parents who did not live to see the completion of Phase 1, but who left a legacy to the Temple as part of their estate. After discussing what their late parents may have chosen to do with this gift, Annalee and her siblings decided that it should be allocated, in its entirety, to the Renewal Project.

“Holy Blossom played a central role in the life of our parents, Irving and Florence Rother,” says Annalee. “Before their passing, they made clear their desire to leave a meaningful legacy to Holy Blossom. They understood the importance of Holy Blossom and left a gift in their will. My siblings and I are proud to designate this legacy gift to the capital campaign.”

With so many congregants expressing their wishes to help complete the funding of Phase 1, the Renewal Fundraising Committee is strongly hoping that the remaining fundraising balance will be quickly raised.

“My message to the congregation is that if you’re considering a gift to Renewal, the time is now,” says Renewal Fundraising Chair and immediate Past President, Joan Garson. “Phase 1 is 99.9% built. But we still need to complete the fundraising. We know we have the ability within the congregation to get there quickly. This is truly a member-by-member opportunity to play your part in ensuring the future of our congregation.”

And this sense of “the time is now” is being shared by our members. Long-term congregants Joe and Marilynne Cass, recently made a significant commitment to the Renewal Project, after seeing the successful construction of Phase 1.

“We are delighted to support Holy Blossom at this milestone moment of Renewal,” say Joe and Marilynne. “Having raised our children and grandchildren within the Congregation, we have made this Renewal gift, an act of tzedakah, with tremendous joy and pride. What an exciting opportunity to include our names with those who are building for future generations. We feel blessed.”

Our goal is for every congregant to say “Hineini” – Here I am – and to make a personally meaningful, and joyful, gift. To this end, we’re reaching out, one by one, to every congregant over the next number of months.

Meanwhile, if you feel inspired to give, there is no need to wait for our call. Our Director of Development Jonathan Ain is eager to speak to you today. Jonathan can be reached at [email protected] or 416.789.3291 ext. 249.

Is Phase 1 open yet?

The short answer is, unfortunately, not quite yet. The recent final inspection by the City’s buildings department has resulted in some revisions that need to be made to the smoke exhaust system. We expect to receive our occupancy permit shortly after this work is complete (and inspected), in a few short weeks’ time.

As always, we thank you for all your patience and for your support, financial and otherwise, of our Renewal Project.

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