Tem­ple B’nai Is­rael holds ground­break­ing cer­e­mony

Record Observer - - Religion - By DENAE SPIERING dspier­ing@ches­pub.com

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.

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