A very exciting and historically significant discovery was made on our construction site about 10 days ago.
Working on instructions from our general contractor, Pomerleau Inc., the demolition crew was removing the portion of the south staircase that previously connected the corridor outside the south-west door of the Sanctuary down to the old mechanical room. (The balance of that staircase will remain in place in our new campus, changing slightly as it connects up to our new spaces.)
As they began to remove the structure, there, behind the stairs in relatively plain sight, they discovered a rectangular, concrete box – and promptly delivered it to our professional staff.
This remarkable find turned out to be the cornerstone from Holy Blossom Temple’s previous home, on Bond Street. The inscription on the object marks the 1896 construction date (the Bond Street synagogue was actually finished in 1897) and it appears that the cornerstone was relocated to 1950 Bathurst Street when construction of our current home was finished in 1939. After taking great care in the handling of this precious keepsake, our crew then conducted an exhaustive search of the surrounding area where the cornerstone was found, looking for other possible heirlooms and historical records of the congregation. No other artifacts were found and work then continued.
Needless to say, this remarkable treasure has created a buzz among the Temple’s archival group. They are now poring over historical documents to see if they can unearth details about the unusual relocation of the cornerstone, and determine why it was stored for so many years in the (admittedly odd) location under a stairwell. Also, in conjunction with our architects at Diamond Schmitt, they are brainstorming creative ways to incorporate this piece into a new cornerstone for our Central Atrium, continuing the great Jewish tradition of linking the past with the present.
Aleinu – It is upon us.
As you may have read in your recently received Holy Blossom Bulletin, the Hebrew word (and prayer) “Aleinu” translates to “It is upon us”. And, when you come to Holy Blossom these High Holy Days, it will be clear to you that our Renewal Project is truly upon us. We’ll gather and worship in the midst of the exciting construction of our transformative Atrium, scheduled for completion in the spring. The largest synagogue construction/renovation and capital campaign in Canadian history.
But “Aleinu: It is upon us” also means that this project, so necessary for the future of Holy Blossom, will only succeed if every one of US believes that we must do our part. And that we feel a level of JOYFUL OBLIGATION about how truly meaningful our participation is.
To date, we’ve raised over $24 million, with almost $2.2 million raised so far this year. Which is already more than all of last year. Momentum continues to build and that is wonderful. But it cannot be said strongly enough that we need all of our fellow congregants to consider what an aspirational gift might be, each according to his or her means.
Coming soon, we’ll be sending out an “Aleinu-It is upon us” video, with some very inspirational thoughts on this subject from Rabbi Splansky. Watch for this special installment of Life at Holy Blossom in your in-boxes, just before the High Holy Days.
Shana Tova and thank you for your continued readership, viewership and support (financial and otherwise) of our Renewal Project at Holy Blossom.