Enlarging our Tent

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We’re fortunate to have such a beautiful building here at Temple Rodef Shalom. It’s a warm and inviting home where the members of our sacred Jewish community, Kehillah Kedosha, enjoy meaningful experiences that connect us to each other and our tradition. In contrast to many other congregations, our Kehilla Kedosha,continues to grow. In fact, we’ve reached a point in our journey where our physical home also needs to grow so we can continue to fulfill the needs of the congregation.

In 2014 we purchased a new parcel of land on Westmoreland Street that adjoins our property.

According to Fairfax County’s zoning laws, this additional land made it possible for us to expand our footprint. The congregation used this unique opportunity to think about our future and formed a Visioning Task Force that grew into the Building Project Task Force. We engaged architects and consultants to help us work through the possibilities.

Throughout the two-year process we’ve talked to many members, staff, and clergy about the way forward. A common thread of these conversations is our collective need to worship, study, meet, and interact in the ways that suit our individual needs, traditions, interests, and lives. Our building must evolve to provide the right kinds of spaces so more people can enjoy meaningful experiences at TRS.

It’s easy to walk around TRS and be impressed by all the energy and activity. It’s also easy to miss the fact that there are events that we can’t accommodate. Our staff does a fantastic job of managing our space, but their brilliant work can’t compensate for these facts:

  • TRS is the only medium-to-large synagogue in the Reform movement that relies on just one sacred space.
  • We’re unable to schedule weddings or funerals on Sundays at TRS. The demands of the Religious School take precedence in our limited space.
  • Bo’i Shabbat and other alternative services deserve an inspiring worship space.
  • The Religious School needs more space.
  • We don’t have enough meeting rooms for all of TRS’s affinity groups or for all of the educational events we’d like to hold.
  • Parking is inadequate.
  • We don’t have enough office space for the staff and clergy.

We believe it’s vital that we enlarge our tent to address these needs. Our specific goals are to:

  • Build a Small Sanctuary. A new sacred space for 125 worshippers to celebrate and observe intimate life cycle events such as weddings, funerals and baby namings. It will be an inspiring worship space for Bo’i Shabbat, Religious School, Teen and other alternative services.
  • Expand the Religious School. A redesign of the lower level will provide new classrooms, meeting rooms, a dedicated Youth Lounge, and offices for our Nursery School, Religious School and Youth staffs.
  • Add meeting rooms. New spaces to accommodate demands for meeting space for affinity groups, clubs, committees, students, and teens.
  • Make better use of our existing space. A reconfigured entrance and lobby for the Multi-Purpose Room on the main school level will increase its visibility and accessibility.
  • Make it easier to park and walk. More parking and better traffic patterns will reduce frustrating drive-arounds and congestion. People who walk in from the street will have a safer and easier path to the entrance.
  • Provide adequate clergy and staff office space. New and reconfigured office space will equip our clergy and staff with proper work areas, and quiet, private places to meet with congregants. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Temple Rodef Shalom Building Project

Why are we considering a renovation?

By any measure, Temple Rodef Shalom is thriving. We’ve created a sacred community, Kehilla Kedosha, where we worship, study, celebrate, work to repair the world, and share our lives together. While it’s easy to walk around TRS and be impressed by all the energy and activity, it’s also easy to miss the fact that there are events that we can’t accommodate due to lack of space.

What are we planning on adding during the renovation?

We’re looking to redesign parts of our existing building to get greater use out of them and add a small sanctuary, meeting rooms, classrooms, parking, and clergy and administrative offices.

Why are we planning this renovation now?

We purchased an adjacent parcel of land in 2014 between TRS and Haycock Elementary School. Zoning laws limit our building’s size to a certain percentage of our total property and the new land gave us the opportunity to expand our buildings’ footprint. It’s important to note, however, that the new buildings will NOT be on the new property. The fact that we now own more acreage allows us to explore adding onto our current building.

Are we renovating because we plan to grow?

We are renovating to better serve our existing congregation, not because we expect exceptional growth. TRS has grown by fifty percent over the last ten years and we cautiously predict future growth at a net gain of forty families per year. Our clergy and staff have also increased to support the growth. We’re simply out of space.

What about parking?

We’re planning on adding 98 parking spaces, which will nearly double what we have now. We’d like to get more cars off of Westmoreland St. and make it safer to walk across the parking lot.

What environmental issues are being addressed?

Our architects and engineers are keeping in mind sustainable design principles, storm water run-off, lighting and noise issues, and the need for overall site improvement as they come up with a plan.

Where are we in the process?

We have a preliminary design and will be meeting with community groups in January, 2017 to present our plan and discuss their concerns. After those conversations we’ll submit a formal application to the Fairfax County Board.

 

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Visit this page regularly for updates as we continue to lay the foundation for the future of Temple Rodef Shalom. Look for changes as we continue to address important considerations to include accessibility and inclusion, improved security and green ideas which we will see more evidence of as the drawings evolve.

Have a question or want more information? Send an email to bptf@templerodefshalom.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Chair of the Building Project Task Force: Reyna Pratt

The Building Project Task Force Committee: Bob Bushkoff, Mindy Facenda, Patty Freeman, Barry Holt, Randy Mars, Barbara Moss, Bob Schlossberg, and Jeff Skigen.

Staff Support: Beth Silver, Executive Director