Congregation Beth Israel moved to a magnificent synagogue campus in the Golden Triangle area of San Diego in the fall of 2001. The award-winning complex consists of five buildings, totaling more than 65,000 square feet, set on a three-acre site. Special attention to landscape, open space, courtyards, gardens and a grand entry staircase create a beautiful environment that evokes images of Jerusalem.
The largest building is the Glickman-Galinson Sanctuary and adjacent David & Dorothea Garfield Social Hall. The sanctuary, which seats just under 500, is oriented to the east. A large back wall made of Jerusalem stone is a strong architectural feature of the bimah. The sanctuary's beautiful ark doors, interior eternal light and custom Torah covers were created by artist Laurie Gross whose design studio is in Santa Barbara. The sanctuary also features four biblically themed windows by Napa glass artist Gordon Huether.
The sanctuary and social hall can be used together to seat almost 1,000 people. Separately, for dining, the social hall seats up to 300 people. The main building also includes The Krichman Family Memorial Area, the Glazer Gift Shop, a commercial kitchen and gathering spaces. In the Memorial Area, at the main entry to the sanctuary, there are five additional art glass windows by Gordon Huether, each themed to a book in the Torah.
The Foster Family Chapel is a special feature of the Beth Israel campus. This small, free-standing building, which accommodates up to 150 people for worship, is architecturally designed to be reminiscent of the congregation's previous sanctuary. San Diego glass artist Leslie Perlis was commissioned to reproduce the former sanctuary's stained-glass windows for the Chapel.
The campus' educational facilities are designed to accommodate the congregation's Religious School, CBI High School, Bill & Sid Rubin Preschool, and also provide classrooms for adult study programs. The education buildings include classrooms, the Feuerstein Family Activity Center, the Jackie Novak Youth Lounge, the Sophie & Arthur Brody Library, the Elene & Herbert Solomon Computer Lab, special rooms for music, art and science, and administrative offices. Two outdoor play yards are used by all the schools.
Rabbinic, cantorial, administrative offices and a conference room are housed in the two-story Evelyn & Ernest Rady Family Administration Center, located in the center of the campus. Two elevators, strategically located on the campus, assure access to every facility.
Congregation Beth Israel is now able to conduct all programs and activities of the synagogue at our new facility except for High Holy Days services. Due to space constraints these services have been held at the Civic Theatre Convention and Performing Arts Center since the mid 1960s. The Congregation transforms the Civic Theatre, with a seating capacity of approximately 3,000, into a beautiful sanctuary each year.
Outdoor play spaces are designed for use by all the schools as is a multipurpose room with a small kitchen. Many different activities, including worship, are planned for this room.
Awards for Architecture & Design
Congregation Beth Israel is the proud recipient of three awards for architecture and design:
Members of the Synagogue Project Team
- The Award of Merit from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference 2002 Gold Nugget Awards competition in the category Best Public/Private Special Use Facility.
- Award for Liturgical/Interior Design at the IFRAA (Interfaith Forum on Religious Art and Architecture)'s Faith and Form Awards Program. Presented to our architects at the Partners for Sacred Places Conference in Washington, D.C., in October 2002.
- Grand Award Winner in the Concrete Masonry Design Awards Program sponsored by the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada and co-sponsored by The American Institute of Architects, California Council. The Concrete Masonry Design Awards Program recognizes and encourages outstanding architectural design that incorporates the use of concrete masonry.
- Austin Veum Robbins Parshalle, Architects
- Lusardi Construction, General Contractor
- Gafcon Construction Consultants, Construction Management
- Laurie Gross Studios, Project Art Consultant
- Dan Epstein and May Sebel, Architect & Building Co-Chairs
- Ted Mintz, Construction Development Chair
- Stuart Simmons, Executive Director and Staff Liaison to Project Team
CBI's Torah Panel Remnant
Next time you are at CBI, be sure to walk through the entry foyer in front of the Glickman-Galinson Sanctuary and the David & Dorothea Garfield Social Hall and see a panel of a Torah scroll, damaged from fire, yet beautifully preserved and framed, hanging on the wall.
| Torah Scribe Alberto I. Attia (l.) with Lou Dunst (r.) in front of the Torah Panel at dedication ceremony.
This panel was given to CBI member Lou Dunst, in March 2006, as a gift in honor of his 80th birthday. Lou together with his wife Estelle, have given it to our congregation. Lou, a Holocaust survivor, has spent years of his remarkable life, telling groups of his experiences and eventual rescue. He has always made himself available so that younger generations will not forget this horrible period in Jewish history. Many children in our Beth Israel schools have heard Lou speak. This Torah remnant comes to us with its own remarkable story.
Staff members traveling with the 2004 March of the Living program found two damaged but mostly intact Torah scrolls and scraps of other scrolls in an antique shop in Warsaw, Poland. The March of the Living program annually brings American teenagers to Poland and Israel to teach them about the Holocaust. The staff members purchased these Torah artifacts and took them with the group for the remainder of the trip and ultimately back to the U.S.
|| Participating in the Torah Panel dedication ceremony (l.-r.) Barbara Haworth, Stuart Simmons, Bonnie Graff, Lou Dunst, Estelle Dunst, Dr. Harvey Raben, Cantor Arlene Bernstein
One of the damaged Torah scrolls was determined to have originated in Ostrov, Poland, around 1920. To be used again, seventy-eight columns of text, deemed unreadable, would have to be replaced. Alberto I. Attia, a Torah scribe living in San Diego, was commissioned to do the repair work. He removed the damaged panels and re-wrote new ones to restore the Torah, which now has a new home in Los Gatos, California. The panel hanging in our foyer is one of the damaged sections of that Torah.
A plaque is hung next to the Torah Panel that tells this story in full detail. The plaque contains an inscription in Lou's own words, "We restore the Torah and the Torah restores the Jewish people from generation to generation." Special thanks to Lou and Estelle Dunst for this unique gift that will help CBI's members and visitors remember the Holocaust for generations to come.