On March 3rd and 4th, the Temple Beth-El Family welcomed Shabbat in its newly renovated Sanctuary during a ‘soft opening.’
Just under 100 people gathered on Friday evening, and just over 200 people gathered on Saturday morning.
There were many “wow”’s and “OOoohhh”’s at what had been achieved, and the unanimous opinion was a job very well done. (As the photos taken before the Friday evening gathering with the article show)
None of this could have been achieved without the razor-sharp vision of the Chair of the Renovation Committee – Benita Felmus. Mike Doniger – Temple President – and Damien Timms – Executive Director – served as her chief minions to assist in keeping everything on track.
Similar appreciation was voiced for Frances Goldman – Chair of the Renovation Campaign – whose tireless efforts have helped raise the funds necessary for such a long overdue and vital piece of work.
Damien Timms describes the vision of Benita and Mike as “exactly what a Renovation should be; 90% essential systems and practical allocations, and 10% of the pretty. Benita and Mike really did have a very clear and sensible goal, one our Congregation will both appreciate and be reassured by.”
With new electrical, lighting, AV technology, seating (whew!), fixtures, fire suppression system, and a revamped L’Chayim Lounge for the sippers, TBE is truly achieving much in its’ goal to “Build for the Next 90 Years.” Also garnering much attention, was the new Torah Reading Table, designed and constructed by Brandon Mittman. The piece also incorporates wood from the old pews, and features a lit, stained glass window from the previous doors at the rear of the Sanctuary.
In its parallel “TBE Together” year, it was wonderful to see so many come to see the new space, many of whom had donated to the Renovation Campaign. Furthermore, TBE offers an invitation to all members of the community to join us in worship in our New/Old Home – as Damien Timms refers to it.
To made a donation to the Renovation Campaign, please visit
Building for our Next 90 – Temple Beth-El (bethelrichmond.org)
See some more photos: