August 2017 -- Av-Elul 5777,  Volume 23, Issue 8

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Community Synagogue of Rye. Photo Credit: Jeff Frumess

Rye Presbyterian Church Welcomes Sojourning Community Synagogue of Rye as They Undergo Renovations

By Stephen E. Lipken


Rye Presbyterian Church will host the 465-family Community Synagogue of Rye, undergoing an estimated $6 million dollar renovation scheduled to be completed in September 2018.  According to Rabbi Daniel Gropper, the Sanctuary cornerstone was laid in 1961, “relatively young for a building and the ‘bones’ of the building are actually quite strong.


“While it is young, the systems themselves wear down over time.  The style with which we engage our congregants has changed as Reform Judaism has evolved over the last 50 years. We worship differently, how we learn is different, how we congregate is different.


“The Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) installed in the Church is a 7-day candle, changed weekly by CSR’s shames (Caretaker) Alonzo Osorio; the Ner Tamid in the remodeled Sanctuary will be solar-powered,  just as the sun is eternal.  The revamped Sanctuary will feature semi-circular seating, handicapped ramps and projection screens.  The theme our new building will be ‘Sparks of Light into the World…’”


“We have had a long-standing relationship with this Community Synagogue...,” Rye Presbyterian Church Co-Pastor Dan Love noted.  “We did a joint trip to Israel several years back and it just kind of made sense when they needed a place to be…We had just recently remodeled our Chapel so that it was more flexible…


“The day that they came over with their Torah Scrolls was one of the most powerful days that I have been a part of in my twenty years here…for our Church to step outside the doors and welcome them as they came in…”


“Because their Chapel only accommodates 90 people, it will just be used for Shabbat services; during the High Holidays we will hold services at SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center.


“Bar and Bat Mitzvot will be at Knesses Tifereth Israel (KTI) Port Chester or Congregation Emanu-El of Rye.


“On Rosh HaShana I am going to talk about the issue of Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS)  on university campuses, as my oldest son is starting at University of Arizona; on Yom Kippur I am either going to speak about the power of forgiveness or of loneliness,”  Rabbi Gropper concluded.