Temple B’nai Israel holds groundbreaking ceremony
EASTON — “Mazel tov,” was the word of the day June 4 as the members of Temple B’nai Israel celebrated the groundbreaking of their new temple.
“It’s a big day,” Rabbi Peter Hyman said.
Hyman the day has been a long time coming for his congregation.
The ground breaking was held at the site of the soon-to-be-built synagogue. Some of the steel frame work is already in place for the building.
A large crowd attended the ceremony that was held inside a tent just in front of the construction site.
The new temple located at the corner of Tristan Drive and Easton Parkway in Easton is being built by Willow Construction of Easton and will be called the Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore, Temple B’nai Israel.
Frank Menditch, former president for the congregation, is managing the construction project. He said it should be completed by late spring, early summer next year.
Currently Temple B’nai Israel is located in a small two-story building in downtown Easton next to the hospital.
Hyman said the new location will open the door to many great things for the temple. He said when he first came to the congregation their were 85 families and now there are close to 140 families.
“For many years we have held our high holy services at St. Mark’s because our sanctuary is so small,” Hyman said. “St. Mark’s has been wonderful for letting us do that, but there is nothing like having your own living room.
“The best thing about the new building — no stairs,” Hyman said. “One floor.”
Arna Meyer Mickelson, president for the congregation could not agree more.
“We are an older congregation,” Meyer Mickelson said. “People really have trouble attending events right now because we are currently on two floors.
“We are going to be bigger and more accessible,” Meyer Mickelson said. “It is exciting. It’s time for this congregation to begin again.”
She said the new temple has been many years in the making and is only possible through donations from the congregation and a few private gifts.
Hyman said the new building represents so much more to his congregation than additional space. He said it is a sign of the times for the Jewish community, a time of acceptance on the Eastern Shore and their growth.
“Nothing is perfect,” Hyman said, “But it certainly makes a powerful statement not only for the Jewish community but for all of Easton and Talbot County.”
Musical performances were led by Alan Haber. Throughout the ceremony the crowd joined Habar in song.
“This is great,” said Easton Mayor Robert Willey. “I am looking forward to the dedication next year.
“This is something we all can be proud of for many years to come.” Willey said.
Corey Pack, vice president of Talbot County Council, spoke about the rabbi’s passion for not only his congregation but for the community as well.
“This groundbreaking is a symbol of the rabbi’s vision and passion for community and for people,” Pack said. “I thank you and I thank God for bringing you here and I thank God for your service and man that you are.”
Ed Satell spoke during the ceremony and discussed his vision for the future and the milestones of life such as births, brisses, bar-mitzvahs, weddings and eventually death and the impact the synagogue has on these events.
“We are here because of our past — to form a community — and for our future.” Satell said. “To pass on to our children and grandchildren our spiritual and ethical values that were passed on to us.
“Embrace the future,” Satell said. “It is with great pride, and with great affection that we face the future here with diverse ideas, different thoughts, respect and civility and we look forward to the future in that way.
“I look forward to an even greater tomorrow and sharing it with all of you,” Satell said.
The event concluded with the blessing and offering of sacred bread and wine.
“If you feed them, they will come,” Hyman jokingly said. “Please enjoy a small but sacred snack.”
Rabbi Peter Hyman leads his congregation into the future as they celebrate the groundbreaking June 4 of their new synagogue.