SOURCE: Congregation Bonai Shalom

October 03, 2013 06:00 ET

Flood Devastates Boulder's Only Conservative Synagogue

Congregation Bonai Shalom Raising Funds to Rebuild

BOULDER, CO--(Marketwired - Oct 3, 2013) - Boulder's only conservative synagogue, Congregation Bonai Shalom, was devastated by the recent flooding at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Congregation Bonai Shalom is reaching out to all concerned community members as well as citizens, Jewish individuals and organizations nationally and internationally to help raise the funds required to recover from this devastating loss.

Situated along the normally placid South Boulder Creek, all the buildings that make up Congregation Bonai Shalom, including the Rabbi's house, were inundated by raging floodwaters. In what has been called a thousand year rain and flood, the idyllic grounds were overrun by a dangerous river and stagnant pond. Initial clean up of building interiors, has left nothing but bare walls and two-by-fours where classrooms, a kitchen, a library and other facilities once stood.

"It has been difficult -- when I close my eyes -- to not still see that river rushing into the backyard, into my basement," said Rabbi Marc Soloway with Congregation Bonai Shalom. "We are very thankful for the help of so many volunteers in the initial clean-up efforts and in finding alternative venues so that we can continue to hold services."

Congregation Bonai Shalom, founded in 1981 by a small group of families has grown steadily to about 200 member families with four full time staff. The community retains the friendly, intimate character that marked its beginnings. The sanctuary is located on the banks of Boulder Creek in a (normally) peaceful, semi-rural neighborhood on the east side of Boulder. Bonai prides itself on being highly conscious of the environment and was the first synagogue to implement a zero waste policy. Now it is so clear that the environment, we care so much for, can be devastatingly powerful.

"The effort to clean up and provide basic services to our members is coming to a close and we thank everyone for their assistance," said Steve Hill, president of Congregation Bonai Shalom. "Now we move forward with the efforts to rebuild, which is going to require massive fundraising -- far above anything we've ever had to do before."

Early estimates for the expenditures could exceed $500,000 which includes rebuilding the main synagogue building and the Rabbi's house. Volunteer teams have been assembled to work on everything from land use to improved floor plans. "We are struggling to utilize and adapt what was spared and rebuild a safe, secure and sustainable facility," emphasized Hill.

Donations can be made online through the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) at http://www.uscj.org. Congregation Bonai Shalom's website, http://bonaishalom.org, provides a direct link to USCJ. By mail, checks (please put "Flood Relief" on the memo line) can be sent directly to:

Congregation Bonai Shalom
1527 Cherryvale Road
Boulder, CO 80305

About Congregation Bonai Shalom:
Congregation Bonai Shalom offers a full calendar of religious services, educational and social programs, and community events. Our religious school spans pre-kindergarten through B'nei Mitzvah Class, providing a quality education that fosters Jewish identity and prepares our children to participate fully in Jewish communal life. For more information about Congregation Bonai Shalom, visit bonaishalom.org.

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