Synagogues / Temple Beth Tzedek
Temple Beth Tzedek was established in 2008 through the merger of two existing synagogues associated with Conservative Judaism: Temple Beth El and Temple Shaarey Zedek. Facing changing demographics, the two congregations joined forces in 2008. With this merger, over 150 years of Jewish history and the collective histories of several congregational histories came together. As the first Jewish congregation in Buffalo, Temple Beth El had been established as Congregation Beth-el in 1847. In contrast, Temple Shaarey Zedek, a forty-year old congregation had a history of merger built into its founding. It brought the combined histories of Temple Emanu-El, Temple Beth David-Ner Israel, Temple Beth David, Congregation Ohev Zedek and New Israel Congregation together. After the merger, in 2011 Temple Beth Tzedek absorbs assets of Temple Beth Israel of Niagara Falls and in 2017, the combined history of Anshe Lubavitz, Ahavas Achim, Ahavas Achim-Lubavitz and Congregation B’nai Shalom became another part of the Temple Beth Tzedek story. This last incorporation was further cemented, as Temple Beth Tzedek broke ground for a new sanctuary on the former site of Congregation B’nai Shalom in 2017.
In its decision to sell its former home at Getzville Road, the congregation has planned for a more appropriately sized, modern and more flexible worship space for its members. This thoughtfully combined space, whose overall footprint was planned by a committee headed by Harvey Sanders, Temple Beth Tzedek was able to re-use an existing commercial kitchen and social hall area, as well as add a minyan space, administrative offices and multipurpose areas, rooms for teaching, meetings and convening. It has also enabled the design of an award-winning sanctuary that gives a view into the natural surroundings recalling the style of historic wooden synagogues in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. Designed by Moe Finegold, a principal at Finegold Alexander Architects, the timber arched sanctuary forms both a boundless yet intimate space. The10,000-square-foot addition with a 60 feet wide and 35 feet high window behind the ark, has incorporated the twelve tribes in stained glass montages from Shaarey Zedek, connecting congregants to nature, history and identity.
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