If you are receiving this email, it’s because you have been an essential part of building our shtiebel community. I am writing to let you know we are planning on making a big move and to ask you to join us in celebrating our first year as we continue building our home together under new and emerging circumstances.
COVID-19 has been an unexpected blow to so many. Organizationally, the Shtiebel is fairly fortunate: we are small and nimble enough to pivot when necessary. Since we will not be gathering meaningfully in our Passyunk Avenue space until a vaccine is widely available (it is not large enough or sufficiently ventilated to accommodate proper social distancing), The Board of Directors and I have decided that, in the interest of sustainable growth and financial responsibility, we need to to say goodbye to our beautiful storefront. We are in the process of navigating this transition, and we will be moving to a home in our neighborhood that will serve both as my home and a hub for smaller Shtiebel gatherings. For larger gatherings and davening, we will take advantage of some of the amazing spaces in our neighborhood. This way, we will be able to keep gathering safely for Shabbat, holidays, and simchas, while also continuing to develop and implement meaningful programming.
This week marks the first-year anniversary of our gathering together for the first time. Last year at this time, we sang and davened with incredible energy in a space it took a village to create. So many of you invested precious time, love and resources into our first home on Passyunk Avenue, as we sat together at zoning meetings, wandered through Home Depot, and worked hard to make the Shtiebel shine, home to countless gatherings, since our very first. We carry that first-night energy forward with us as we continue building this community, physically and spiritually. We would not be where we are today without our stunning little storefront-that-could.
If this news makes you sad, you’re not alone. Leaving behind the first home we built together is hard stuff. But this is the right decision to meet this moment, and as we’ve learned in the past three months, our community transcends space. I am excited for our next phase together. We will focus on what we can do, and we will commit to doing it well, especially during a time when the world and our city desperately need increased love and connection.
Before we transition, though, we will take time to honor our space and everyone who helped to build it. If there is a part of the Shtiebel you contributed or built, a memory of something the Shtiebel nourished, or even a blessing for the Shtiebel’s future, please take a moment to fill out this form. We will hold a Zoom Havdalah ceremony August 1 at 9:15 PM where we’ll honor our inaugural year and our builders, mark both loss and opportunity, and celebrate moving forward together. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram as we share memories and reflections from Year 1 in the lead up to this event.
If you have any questions, please be in touch with myself or Rena Pressman, who will be working for the Shtiebel through the summer to help manage this major transition.
May we see the end to all suffering and may our community continue to radiate much-needed light into the world.
Rabbanit Dasi Fruchter