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A little over a year ago, the decision to replace our front Harlem doors became not so much of a decision as a foregone conclusion. They had gradually become harder and harder to open fully and the automatic closing mechanisms were no longer working. Then last March a gust of wind blew one of these very heavy doors shut, and we were extremely lucky that the child standing there was not injured. The two middle doors were permanently locked after this incident and we started the process of planning to finally replace our lovely but unusable doors.

Being a homeowner, I’ve lived through various home restoration projects over the years – window replacement, basement rehab, new kitchen, new bathroom, new roof, new water pipes…. My rule of thumb is to double both the time and cost estimates in my head before starting. Then when the work drags on and extra costs pile up, I’m at least mentally more prepared for it.

Our original plan was to have new doors by the 2012 Holidays. And just like a home project, it didn’t quite work out that way. Construction began in early-March and should be complete shortly after you read this.

Because of the urgency and significance of this project, $120,000 was borrowed from our Endowment Fund with the intent to pay back the loan over the next couple years. If you are interested in learning more about underwriting this important building improvement, please contact Matt Tushman or me.


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From inside the building, you may not notice much of a change, other than the color or finish of the doors. From the outside, you may also not notice a difference, although the new doors will extend out further in order to be both zoning and ADA compliant. These new doors will be safer as well as fully handicap accessible. During the day, you will be able get inside the first set of doors before being buzzed in, rather than waiting out in the cold.

May these new doors open easily, close gently, and welcome those who enter. And may they further possess all the characteristics of our Shabbat prayer (Mishkan T’Filah, p.124):

May the door to this synagogue be wide enough to receive all who hunger for love, all who are lonely for fellowship.
May it welcome all who have cares to unburden, thanks to express, hopes to nurture.
May the door of this synagogue be narrow enough to shut out pettiness and pride, envy and enmity.
May its threshold be no stumbling block to young or straying feet.
May it be too high to admit complacency, selfishness and harshness.
May this synagogue be, for all who enter, the doorway to a richer and more meaningful life.

Shalom,

Sheri Gilley


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