We at Kesher Israel Congregation are on the cusp of beginning an exciting, new chapter in the life of our synagogue. In the fall of 2019, the Congregation approved the purchase of the former Riverside Methodist Church at 3200 North Third Street as the new home of Kesher Israel. Shortly thereafter, we reached an agreement with a local investment group to buy the building at 2500 North Third Street, where we have resided for the last 60 years.

Should you have questions or concerns, do not hesitant to contact either one of the co-coordinators for project operations.

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Should you have questions or concerns, do not hesitant to contact us.

Our decision to relocate the synagogue is the culmination of many years of trying to find a new building that would be a better fit for the demographics of the Congregation.  In particular, the impending move offers a number of advantages to the KI membership.  Those advantages include: (1) a more manageable walk for most of our members; (2) more practical, flexible and family-friendly space; and (3) significant reductions in projected annual utility and maintenance costs. 

This website is designed to keep you well-informed about the status of the new building by highlighting answers to many of your most frequently asked questions.  We will routinely update answers and add questions to this page as the plans proceed.

Dedications Oportunities

Front Entrance Mezuzah
$25,000
Daily Entrance Mezuzah
$15,000
Sanctuary
$250,000
Ark
$100,000
Social Hall
$100,000
Interactive Yahrzeit Board
$25,000
Sanctuary Furnishings
$15,000
Ner Tamid
$15,000
Sanctuary Mezuzah - Men’s Entrance
$10,000
Sanctuary Mezuzah - Women’s Entrance
$15,000
Reading Table
$25,000
Mechitzah
$25,000
Rabbi’s Study
$100,000
Study Furnishings
$50,000
Business Office
$25,000
Conference Room
$50,000
Conference Room Furnishings
$15,000
Mezuzah’s for Each of the Above
$15,000
Washing Station - Social Hall
$15,000
Men’s Rest Room
$15,000
Women’s Rest Room
$15,000
Kitchen - Main Floor
$25,000
Kitchen - Auxiliary on Lower Level
$18,000
Children’s Room
$50,000
Wine Cellar
$18,000
Lobby
$15,000
Stained Glass Panel Number 1
$15,000
Stained Glass Panel Number 2
$15,000
Menorah - Men’s Side
$15,000
Menorah - Women’s Side
$15,000

Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions

What committee structure is in place for facilitating the move to our new building?
  • Move In/Out Committee (Norman Gras - Chairperson) Contact Norman
  • Construction Committee:
    • Barry Gordon - Co-Chair Contact Barry
    • Oleasa Salkin - Co-chair
    • Finishes Sub-Committee: Joel Burcat
  • Capital Campaign Committee (Dan Grabenstein – Chairperson) Contact Dan
  • Mechitza Committee (Rabbi Elisha Friedman – Chairperson) Contact Rabbi Friedman
  • Security Committee (Ari Huberman – Chairperson)
  • Investment Committee (Michael Siegel – Chairperson)
What is the status of the Move In/Out Committee?

Many items from the current sanctuary (i.e., memorial boards, menorahs, painted glass windows) have been taken down and put into storage pending the move.

What is the status of the Construction Committee?

Pyramid Construction Services has been retained as the project contractor.  Floor plans are now being finalized and will soon be ready for submission to the City.

What is the status of the Capital Campaign Committee?

We have retained the services of Avrum Lapin, a fundraising consultant with the Lapin Group, LLC.  Solicitations of members are well underway.  Over $860,000 of a $1.5 million revised goal have been raised to date.  Letters are now being prepared to go out after Passover to synagogue alum (previous members who have left town) and non- members from the general Harrisburg community who are deemed to be likely financial supporters of a new KI building.

What is the status of the Security Committee?

The Committee is exploring how to utilize a $150,000 matching grant approved by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to incorporate enhanced security features into the new building.

Why did we decide to enlarge the first floor of the existing building to accommodate a sanctuary instead of entirely tearing down the original structure?

The architectural analysis of the building determined that most of the existing space could be utilized and incorporated into the new design without the need for major structural changes.  Therefore, the total cost of the construction, including the build-out of the sanctuary on the upper floor, would be less than if we raised the building and started from scratch.  Additionally, if we tore down the building, there would be zoning challenges and parking requirements that we would have problems meeting affordably.

How do we envision the layout and utilization of both new and existing space?

The main entrance to the building will continue to be on the first floor facing out toward N.  Third Street.  It will be renovated to include a foyer, lobby, an all-purpose room, a coat room, men’s and women’s bathrooms, and a kitchen.  When you walk straight back from the front entrance, you will reach an entrance to the sanctuary and the social hall.  All of the sanctuary and the social hall will be built-out on the roof of the lower level at the back of the building.

The downstairs space will be renovated to include the Rabbi’s study, the office manager’s office, a daily chapel, the wine cellar, bathrooms, storage space and mechanicals.

 

The heat and air conditioning for the upper and lower levels will be on separate controls.  For the most part, this will enable us to turn down the heating and cooling on the upper level during the work week and do the same on the lower level on Shabbat and holidays.

 

Both the lower and the upper levels will be ramped and handicapped accessible.  Unfortunately, a person with limited mobility will not be able to go from one floor to the other without going outside through one entrance and back-in through the other.  However, because of our plan to only have activities on one floor at a time (depending on whether it’s a weekday or a Shabbat/Yom Tov), it will rarely be necessary to go between floors.

 

Will there be adequate facilities to facilitate food preparation for kiddushes, lunches and events?

The kitchen on the upper floor will be equipped to refrigerate, prepare cold food and reheat food.  Coding regulations and cost make it prohibitive to install a ventilation hood with a fire suppression system in this kitchen.  

Although, we will not have a full-service kitchen at the ready, we are fortunate to have other kosher kitchen facilities right in the neighborhood at the JCC and Chisuk Emuna for larger events. 

When is construction projected to begin and likely to be completed?

Construction is projected to begin by June at the latest and to be completed by the close of the calendar year.

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Should you have questions or concerns, do not hesitant to contact either one of the co-coordinators for project operations.

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