Rodeph Shalom Celebrates Expansion

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Congregation Rodeph Shalom hosted the dedication of its new addition, the Constance & Alan Buerger Center for Jewish Life, on Sunday.

North Broad Street served as a field of dreams for members, staff and other supporters of Congregation Rodeph Shalom on Sunday as the much-anticipated 17,500 square foot addition to the stately Center City Reform synagogue was officially dedicated.

Build it and they will come — and indeed they did as hundreds of celebrants jammed the area surrounding the new site, the Constance & Alan Buerger Center for Jewish Life, named for its primary donors.

On hand for the dedication with welcoming remarks were Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Michael Nutter and Yaron Sideman, consul general of Israel to the mid-Atlantic region, joined by the Buergers, and RS clergy as well as the synagogue's president, Lloyd Brotman.

The addition, across the site from the synagogue's Common Ground Marketplace — which was previewed on Sunday with tastings in anticipation of its July 12 opening — is constructed in part of Jerusalem stone and utilizes stained-glass windows recycled from the synagogue's original construction in 1927. The four-story site was designed by KieranTimberlake.

"We have always had a beautiful sanctuary — but it is when we gather, when we connect to each other, to our traditions and to God, that our building becomes a holy place," Bronfman said.
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Our new building will bring us into the 21st century;  it will be safer and accessible — but it will only become a holy place by virtue of our intentional actions," he added. “It will be up to us to transform our new building into a sacred space!"