The Romemu Center is both a real estate anchor and an essential piece of our larger vision. Soon it will house our Seekers Holistic Hebrew School, The Well lifelong learning classes, the Romemu Yeshiva (debuting for six weeks this summer), Romemu’s offices, and it will allow us to expand our simhas and community gatherings in a larger space. The Romemu Center will complement the facilities we have across the street, which are equally important.
Concurrently, we have ambitious plans for the sanctuary at WEPC and we are working with church leadership on a timetable for that necessary part of our vision, which includes a truly shared prayer space with the church that is renovated, entirely accessible, and modern. Together, the two facilities will allow Romemu to be a place not only of worship, learning, engagement, and sharing, but also a place to train leaders for a vibrant Jewish future.
The first stage of securing the building at 176 West 105th was part of a “quiet phase” of our campaign and had to happen very quickly due to the nature of Manhattan real estate. We are now thrilled to invite the entire Romemu community to participate in every phase of our growth moving forward, dreaming and imagining with us what this new home will be, what programming and offerings it will provide, and how it will support the neighborhood and broader community in which we live.
We thank the philanthropists, attorneys, real estate professionals, and strategists who have given generously to bring us to this milestone. I want to personally thank Evan Kingsley and Adam Gaynor from Plan A Advisors, our brilliant and passionate board chair Scott Osman, the entire Romemu board, the Romemu staff, and especially Jeff Cahn and Ariel Rosen Ingber.
We look forward to sharing more details and to fielding questions at two “town hall” meetings on October 24th – one at 12 PM via Zoom, and one at 7 PM live at WEPC. Over the months that follow we look forward to initiating individual conversations about all plans.
I look forward to seeing you on October 24th, and to hearing your thoughts whenever you wish to reach out.
This Shabbat, as we read the story of Noah and the ark, we read these words: ‘Tzohar Ta’aseh La’tayvah’ (צהר תעשה לתיבה) – ‘Make a tzohar / צהר for your ark’
Our wisdom masters read the word ‘tzohar’ as both a window and possibly a source of light, a jewel. Window. Light. One, a clear frame that connects inside and outside. The other, a light that radiates, shines, warms.
Our sacred stories remind us that we are not the first ones to experience turbulence and terror, a deluge of destruction and despair. But the story isn’t over. Our story isn’t over. Our sanctuaries and sacred spaces can foster renewed hope and purpose. Windows and lights.
As we embark on this next phase of Romemu, we are excited to continue dreaming and building this remarkable kehila, sacred community.
We have more work to do, more dreams to dream, more lives to touch, more hearts to open, and more ways to make a difference. But for now, a prayer:
May this ark, this new communal home, offer shelter, protection, sustainability, comfort, love, joy, and celebration for this beautiful community, and may it illuminate out and welcome in all who dream and seek to find a community ambitiously trying to live an elevated Jewish life.