What I Shared with My CCAR Colleagues

I shared this posting with my CCAR Colleagues and am so grateful for their love and support!

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Six weeks ago our congregation, Temple Beth Sholom, suffered a fire in our building. What started as a kitchen fire has completely destroyed our Sanctuary, Social Hall and Administrative Office building. For those of you who have experienced a fire, you know that the smoke and soot can wreck even more havoc than the flames. Our building is down to the studs. My office has been packed out and I am waiting to hear the fate of my library. All of our Torah scrolls were removed shortly after the fire was extinguished, but they have sustained damage and we are looking at possibly having to replace between 2-4 of our scrolls. All of our prayer books were destroyed and we have since ordered new Mishkan T’filah from CCAR Press. We have also placed an order for Mishkan HaNefesh, but realize that we are going to have a shortage of machzorim this High Holy Days.

Fortunately, our school building is fine and we, the staff, have been sharing space with one another. (Let’s just say, I’ve had a lot of coffee meetings at Starbucks and I should consider switching to decaf!) We are hoping to move into our temporary office trailer next week. For the first few weeks, we were the wandering Jews of Orange County and grateful for the congregations who opened their doors to us to share Shabbat. We have now taken up a more permanent residence with the LDS Stake Center very close to TBS.

I am turning to you, my colleagues asking that if you are able to support our rebuilding efforts in any way, it will be greatly appreciated. We are looking for financial assistance as well as suggestions for grants we should apply for or people we should approach. I am also looking for any congregations who might have any extra Gates of Repentance that we can use for these upcoming High Holy Days to please let me know.

Yes, we were in the middle of a capital campaign when the fire took place. Now we have a large gap we are looking to fill. We are very fortunate that we have a very good insurance policy, but as you might know, that will not fill the full financial void. Not only are we trying to fulfill the original vision that was going to revitalize our education building and administrative offices, but now we have a great amount of work to do to bring our congregation back into the sanctuary. I appreciate that we support one another and I am grateful for all the love and concern I’ve already received from so many colleagues in our region.

Thank you all so much!
L’Shalom,
Heidi Cohen
Rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom, Santa Ana, California
www.tbsoc.com if you would like to see more about the fire as well as photos

A Jewish Center of Life, Learning and Connections in Orange County, CA
tbsoc.com

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