Snow and ice caused the roof of the Vestal synagogue to collapse in December. The disaster destroyed the temple's social hall and the Hillel Academy which was housed in the basement underneath. The congregation is currently worshiping at the JCC across the street while it works with its insurance company to fund a reconstruction that could cost anywhere from $2 million to $4 million. Member Dave Tanenhaus is overseeing planning for the project.
"We have had people coming to our meetings with lots of questions and lots of support. And it has brought the congregation and the community, I think, together with a common goal to protect Temple Israel, our history and our future," said Tanenhaus.
Hillel Academy, a Jewish day school for pre-K through 5th grade, has temporarily relocated to Temple Concord in Binghamton. It's had to rely on the generosity of the community to replace books and school supplies lost in the collapse. Randy Friedman is on Hillel's Board of Trustees. He's looking forward to a better Hillel once Temple Israel is rebuilt.
"There's a great tradition in Judaism with turning a curse into a blessing. So, we have an opportunity now with a lot of hard work to take the curse of losing our entire school, to turn it into a blessing of having a much better school," said Friedman. "A better equipped school, a brighter school,and a school that has more dedicated facilities for our children today."
Supporters of the temple and the academy are throwing a fundraiser called the Raise the Roof dance party. It will be held on Saturday March 1st, at 7 p.m. at the JCC. It will feature live music, hors d'oeurvres, raffles, and a silent auction. Tickets are $52 and can be purchased at raisetheroofbinghamton.com.
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