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Friday, August 29, 2014
3 Elul 5774.
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Building Fund

2000000
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1600000
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80%

Contact Us

For all enquiries please email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Our postal address and statutory information can be found here.


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Introduction 

Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue is now constructing a new synagogue building in Central Cambridge. This will be the first newly built Reform Synagogue in the UK this century, and should significantly contribute to the growth of Reform Judaism in East Anglia, and in Cambridgeshire in particular.

This exciting project will take our thirty year old congregation to a new level. As well as providing a permanent home for our regular Shabbat and Festival services, the new building will also allow us to offer a greater number and variety of social, artistic, cultural, musical, intellectual, pastoral, and educational opportunities for members, other local residents and Jewish visitors to the Cambridge area.

"When God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle, Moses approached Bazalel to serve as chief architect. Bezalel asked, "What is the purpose of the Tabernacle?" Moses answered, "That God may allow His presence to dwell within it and thereby teach Torah to all of Israel" Sh'mot Rabbah 50:2


Cambridge

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Our region is one of the fastest growing in the UK, in terms of both population and economy.
Driven in part by the high technology industries in the area, and their strong academic links, the population of Cambridge City and Cambridgeshire is projected to grow by 28,600 and 173,500 respectively in the period 2007-2031.


In 2011, the UK census recorded 1,652 people in Cambridgeshire who indicated that they were Jewish, of whom 870 live in Cambridge itself, 362 live in South Cambridge District, and the remainder in in East Cambridgeshire (122), Fenland (108) and Huntingdon (190) districts.

The establishment of the Synagogue building close to the centre of Cambridge will significantly assist us in encouraging new members and providing for the anticipated population growth. This is likely to lead to a steady increase in our membership, with the potential to bring another 100 to 150 adults and their children into the community over the next decade.

The city is also home to the University of Cambridge, one of the leading universities in the world. In addition to the student body, there is a large teaching and research staff, made up of academics, both permanently resident in Cambridge and visiting from around the world.

A significant number of the staff and students in both universities are Jewish, and it is a privilege and a pleasure for Beth Shalom to welcome them, as members and as visitors, to our services and other activities, providing a religious and cultural ‘home from home’.

Having an attractive, progressive Jewish facility near the centre of Cambridge will enable us to serve this part of our community more effectively We also hope that those academics and students who decide to stay in Cambridge after finishing their studies will become permanent and active members of Beth Shalom, and potential leaders of our congregation and the wider Jewish community.


Beth Shalom

Beth Shalom was founded in 1981 and is now the largest Jewish congregation in East Anglia.

The Synagogue has a wide mixture of members, made up of families, single people of all ages and students. There are over 250 adults plus 160 children, many of whom attend our large and growing cheder (religion school) and youth programme. Nearly half of our members are drawn from the city, and the remainder from a wide surrounding area, which extends as far as Kings Lynn to the North, Ipswich to the East, Hertfordshire to the South, and Huntingdon and Bedfordshire to the West.

Since its inception, Beth Shalom has had a nomadic existence, holding services and events in rented and borrowed accommodation. The new building will allow the congregation to host all of its activities in one permanent home, facilitating our famous Beth Shalom welcome to visitors, and helping us to develop and enhance the range of what we can offer.

Examples of what we currently provide include:

  • regular Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday night) services
  • regular Shabbat services
  • bnei Mitzvot and weddings
  • festival and High Holyday services
  • a mother & toddler group

We would like to grow and extend these, providing accommodation for the many cultural and educational activities which currently take place in members’ homes, and encouraging new initiatives, such as a youth centre.

The Synagogue building will become the focus and hub of our community life, and the physical heart of our community.


IMG_1846.jpgThe Campaign

In 2011, the Synagogue purchased a plot of land in central Cambridge, demolished the existing building and cleared the site. Work has now begun to construct a wonderful Synagogue building which will provide Beth Shalom with all the facilities necessary for a successful community space. Construction is estimated to be complete by March 2015.

 

Fundraising

Through our fundraising activities, we have already received many generous donations and pledges for donations. The cost of the new building, lies at around £1.2 million, with further sums required to furnish and beautify it, bringing the projected total cost, including fees, to £2m. Of this, we have so far raised £1.6 million, and are intensifying our efforts to complete fundraising over the next 12 months.

 

"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" Isaiah 84:5

 

Design & Concepts

The two-story building has been designed to offer an environmentally-friendly, economical and flexible space that can be adapted to the needs of the community for a wide variety of activities, providing for the many different aspects of synagogue life and the requirements of users of all ages and physical abilities.

Please click on the links below to view the plans:

Ground floor cutaway

Ground Floor Plan

First Floor cutaway

First Floor Plan

Elevations

 "By wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established; by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Proverbs 24:3-4

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Furnishing

In addition to the need to design and construct a functional and sustainable community building and provide the usual furnishings, a synagogue is of course a sacred space, which we will wish to furnish and beautify in accordance with our traditions, to create an uplifting and spiritual environment for prayer.

We will need to provide items both large and small, such as, the bimah, the ark, lighting, stained glass windows, seating, a library, etc., and we welcome approaches from those who may wish to sponsor particular items as gifts to the Synagogue.


How you can help

With pledges and donations currently totalling over £1.6m from the community, friends and charitable trusts, and construction now underway, we are continuing and intensifying our fundraising efforts to raise the remaining £400,000. If you have any fund raising ideas or useful contacts, wish to volunteer, or simply require more information, please contact the Chair of the building committees: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Every donation, of any size, helps us on our way to our goal. We have also prepared a schedule of sponsorship suggestions for those who have the means and may wish to make a donation for commemorative or other personal reasons.

Donations can be made in a variety of ways. Just click the 'Donate to Beth Shalom' button on the left,or here.

Beth Shalom is a Registered UK Charity and, if you are a UK taxpayer, the value of your gift can be significantly increased by making a GiftAid declaration.The Synagogue also has an American Fund for Charities account.

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