Update #9 - September 2011

The passing of Lorne Cristall, z’l, this summer was a deep loss and a setback to us all. Lorne and Hershey Porte, z’l, did not only dream, but they also provided the leadership that is the cornerstone for our current Capital Campaign. We are gratified that their commitment was also shared by their families whose ongoing support speaks to the importance of Beth Israel in building Jewish continuity and strong families.

Gary Averbach does not seek out challenges but they seem to find him because of his amazing community spirit and willingness to always “walk the talk”. But he, as Chair of our Capital Campaign, can only open up the opportunities for our membership to make a financial commitment to ensure we realize our dream. We must step up to help build the new BI. Our small but mighty group of canvassers will continue to reach out to you to engage you in building our future.

The dream must be realized in order to build a future for our vibrant Beth Israel community. In mid-August we were pushing to break the $11,000,000 mark. Our target is to raise $18 million. We have done remarkably well but still have a long road ahead. We need to stretch ourselves, as we consider our financial commitment to BI, whether over one year or five years, to build our new home.

We are still pursuing opportunities to lease a portion of our site, allowing for construction of a not-for-profit building on our property. This is an important part of our fund raising efforts. We hope to announce our project architects for the building design and construction very shortly.

We will have to vacate our current building while construction is underway and, to that end, we are actively looking at transition space. We know that members planning simchot over the next couple of years are anxious to know what the temporary locations will be. We have much work to do with our architect and other consultants so we can better understand and confirm our construction timetable. We hope, within the next two months, to be able to confirm our dates for vacating our Oak Street home, when we expect to return to the new BI, and where our transition space will be.

We are also waiting for the City of Vancouver to approve our redevelopment plan this fall.

Our Capital Campaign must also continue to surge. If you have not yet been canvassed, please help us by calling David Berson, Campaign Director, or Shannon Etkin, Executive Director, so we can arrange to discuss your gift. You are important to our campaign, but please understand that our canvassers are already giving many hours of their time, so please be patient or call us.