Temple Beth-El Bimah and Sanctuary Renovation Plan

Bimah and Sanctuary Updates

Overview

The Wulfe Sanctuary serves as both the physical and spiritual center of Temple Beth-El.  As a congregation, we have an obligation to honor that generosity by caring for the sanctuary that time and use has diminished. 

It’s been over 20 years since any significant renovation or redecoration has been done. It’s now time to bring new life back to this sacred space.

Earlier this spring, our bimah lighting was upgraded, improving the brightness from 11 footcandles to nearly 30 footcandles. This was made possible thanks to a legacy gift from Frieda Fischer, of blessed memory. 

Beginning in June, and with the full support of the Board of Trustees, we will begin a phased approach to enhance the space while respecting its history and style.  

The Wulfe Sanctuary has been and will continue to be the calling card of our 150-year-old congregation.  We’re excited about these renovations and enhancements and hope you are as well. Please continue to explore this page for background, goals and details of the renovation phases.

While we are enhancing the sanctuary, services will be held in the Oppenheimer Chapel.

Background

The last significant update to Temple Beth-El took place between 2001-2003, with no significant upgrades to the Sanctuary or bimah. Prior to then, the last update had taken place in the 1980s.

Investing in the Wulfe Sanctuary and freshening the bimah both have the goal of creating a more intimate, functional and safe gathering space for our sacred home.

While there were plans under consideration to overhaul the entire space prior to COVID, we’ve spent the last year working on a more reasonable and cost-effective plan that will meet the following key goals.

Goals of our Sanctuary Investment

  • Improve reading capability with more appropriate lighting
  • Improve accessibility and create a more inclusive environment
  • Refresh worn-out and outdated elements
  • Enhance the communal experience of prayer and music

Timeline and Plans

Please note the details below are subject to change. This webpage will be updated throughout the process. 

Phase 1

New carpet, fresh paint, a new Torah table and new bimah furniture.  

This phase has been fully funded by a legacy gift from Jocelyn Levi Straus of blessed memory. 

Phase 2

Redesign of the bimah including a ramp for accessibility (vs. the stairs), a lower-level speaking point, new flooring and a section of movable (and comfortable) seats (vs. pews). 

Depending on funding, this phase could move forward in the Summer 2025.

Phase 3

Phase 3 is not yet costed or funded. It conceptually allows us to paint the rest of the space, professionally clean the tapestries, add lighting and finish the project properly. 

The Vision

Stay Connected

Coming Soon! We’ll add a link to a Facebook album here where you can follow the progress throughout the summer. 

Interiors Committee

Deborah Miller

Aliza Cantu

Gayle Alterman

Rabbi Mara Nathan

Eric Ryniker, Executive Director

Debbie Roos, Immediate Past President 

Questions? Contact Us

Eric Ryniker, Executive Director, gro.asle-hteb@rekinyre 

Mark Eichelbaum, President, gro.asle-hteb@tnediserp

If you would like information about leaving an enduring Legacy by including Temple Beth-El in your estate plans, or in supporting the future Phases, please contact Aliyah Kuchinsky at gro.asle-hteb@yksnihcuka or 210-733-9135.

While we are enhancing the sanctuary, services will be held in the Oppenheimer Chapel.