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2022 Sanctuary Reimagination

Summary | Design Highlights | Lo Bashamayim Hi

Sanctuary Redesign

We chose to use Second Chai funds to redesign the Sanctuary to meet the evolving needs of our CRZ community.  We now enjoy multiple forms of Shabbat and Holy Day worship that require different layouts, accommodating varied styles of participation and varying numbers of participants.  Our redesigned and refurbished Sanctuary possesses the flexibility to use our physical environment to support the spiritual and intellectual aims of different programs and prayers.  It underscores our goal to use all of our resources towards creating a stronger community. 


By reconfiguring the bimah and replacing the fixed seating with moveable seating, we increased the open floor space to create a more flexible environment. These changes,coupled with the retention of all the existing key sanctuary elements such as the artwork, stained glass window, Judaic artifacts, Ner Tamid and Ark, allows the redesigned sanctuary to retain its aesthetic while providing the needed flexibility for current and future needs. In addition, we resolved several critical maintenance including fire exits and lighting.  


This redesign both connects us to CRZ’s long and rich history and enhances the space to support our many, varied uses. The newest iteration of our sacred community space embodies the values that we hold dearly, ensuring that the Sanctuary feels warm and inviting in all its uses while preserving its beauty and grandeur. 


This project would not have been possible without the dedication of the Building Reimagination Committee (Erica Benton, Ed Hamburg, Howard Hirsch), which developed the general concept of a reconfigured sanctuary; the Sanctuary Subcommittee (Daniel Blumenthal, Stacey Hamburg, Chuck Rosenberg), which developed detailed plans for achieving the reconfiguration and overseeing the project; and the Second Chai Fund Allocation Committee (Thom Covert, Sara Segal Loevy, Jeff Ruby), which reviewed the proposal and approved the use of Second Chai funds for this project. We are all grateful for the generosity and vision of the donors to the Second Chai Campaign for making these changes possible.

Design Highlights

  • Worked with a professional designer on all aspects of the design, including paint and wood trim choices, to ensure that all surfaces are now coordinated in a consistent design
  • Reconfigured the bimah to create more open floor space for increased flexibility and usability of the Sanctuary space 
  • Installed new carpeting on the bimah and Sanctuary floor 
  • Removed the fixed pews and replaced them with flexible, configurable standalone armchairs 
  • Designed and built a new, custom moveable Torah table that incorporates stained glass windows from the old Sanctuary
  • Designed and built a new, custom, moveable Rabbi podium that incorporates stained glass windows from the old Sanctuary
  • Designed and built custom, portable room panels that incorporate stained glass windows from the old Sanctuary to enable the creation of a more intimate subspace within the larger Sanctuary space
  • Installed acoustic panels for improved sound
  • Repaired, restored and upgraded damaged walls, ceiling tiles, lights, bimah and Ark issues
  • Installed metal, raised lettering signage of a quote from the Torah that embodies the Rodfei Zedek community and its values

Lo Bashamayim Hee... 

לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא

כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ׃

Lo bashamayim hee…
Ki karov elecha hadavar m’od
B’feecha uveel-vav-cha la-asoto

It is not in the heavens…

For it is very close to you
In your mouth and in your heart so you may do it. 
Deuteronomy 30 : 12, 14 


The quote supports the central tenet of our tradition: that we are equal partners in the covenant. In order to fulfill our duties to that covenant, we believe that our voices and actions are required in the act of understanding and furthering our quest for meaning. This quote serves as the biblical origin for our inspired Judaism.


To accompany this new sanctuary wall quotation, Cantor Rachel and Chuck Rosenberg have composed and recorded original music set to the words Lo Bashamayim Hi.  They dedicate this piece to the Rodfei Zedek community with great appreciation! The recording includes congregant Steve Yastrow on lead guitar. Take a listen! 



Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784