Chochmat HaLev, a Renewal congregation in Berkeley, celebrated Chanukah and the repair of its sanctuary with a rededication candle-lighting ceremony. The event, which included a potluck dinner, menorah lighting and dancing, took place on Dec. 8, the first night of Chanukah, and drew 150 people.
In January, cracks appeared in the ceiling of the Prince Street sanctuary. Inspectors discovered the truss holding up the 80-year-old structure had broken, requiring that the roof be demolished and replaced. This forced a nine-month closure of the sanctuary, and the start of a successful fundraising effort to supplement insurance coverage.
Said Jen Roitman, the congregation’s executive director: “It was a hard time not having the sanctuary, but the community really came together and we’re stronger for it.”
While displaced from the sanctuary, the congregation held most of its services in its social hall; High Holy Days services were held at a pair of Berkeley churches.
In another Chochmat HaLev news, the congregation has been selected to receive a one-year, $10,000 grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation for the purpose of creating an East Bay Jewish meditation center. — dan pine