Saturday, August 20th, was a bittersweet evening for members of the B’nai Tikvah Congregation.
Their building at 5820 Manchester Ave. in Westchester will soon be torn down to clear the way for a condominium project.
Some wept over the closing of the Westchester congregation’s building, while others looked forward to B’nai Tikvah’s efforts to branch out and reach more people at two new locations —Ýone in Westchester and one in Mar Vista.
“I ran the congregation out of a classroom in the back (of the building) with 80 folding chairs,” said Rabbi Marvin Bornstein, who oversaw the construction of the current B’nai Tikvah building in 1959.
“When I think that this is going to come down and be rubble in a few weeks, my soul won’t let that happen,” Bornstein said. “We are bringing to a close an era of Jewish life in this community.
“This was our spiritual home.”
B’nai Israel Congregation merged with Beth Tikvah in 1968 to form B’nai Tikvah.
Saturday, Bornstein, Rabbi Paul Dubin, who was rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation, and Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen, current rabbi at B’nai Tikvah were all a part of a moving ceremony that celebrated the history of the congregation and its building.
Congregants participated in a prayer service, followed by songs, a procession through the old building and a candlelight vigil.
The evening was capped off by the opening of a time capsule that had been in the building’s cornerstone and by reminiscences by congregants and former rabbis.
While the occasion was sad for those who had helped raise the funds to build the building almost 50 years ago and those who had worshipped in it since, Bornstein said B’nai Tikvah will continue on.
“The soul of a congregation is not in the physical structure of its synagogue building,” Bornstein said. “It is rather in the hearts and minds of its members, and in the dream they share for the future,” he said.
In fact, the congregation’s future looks bright.
B’nai Tikvah will be branching out to two new campuses.
The congregation will move its religious and nursery schools to the site of the former Montessori school at 8820 Sepulveda Eastway in Westchester and will celebrate most services at the adjacent Westchester Christian Church site.
In addition, the congregation will co-locate with Temple Beth Torah at its site at 11827 Venice Blvd. in Mar Vista.
Van Leeuwen said two community events will help usher in the synagogue’s new era.
At 7 p.m. Friday, August 26th, B’nai Tikvah will join with members of Temple Beth Torah at the Venice Boulevard location for a “Torah Stroll” —Ýa ceremonial walk featuring the move of B’nai Tikvah’s sacred Torah, the scroll of parchment containing the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, to its new home.
“This will be a coming together ceremony with our newly allied congregation, followed by a joyous Kabbalat Shabbat service,” Van Leeuwen said.
Then, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, September 18th, B’nai Tikvah will join with the Westchester Christian Church to celebrate a Festival of Faith with fun, food and live music at the new B’nai Tikvah site at 8820 Sepulveda Eastway in Westchester.
The public is invited to attend both events.
GUILDED CAGE HITS 30 —
The Guilded Cage — a nonprofit gift boutique business staffed by volunteers and located in the Mayfair Square Building across the parking lot from Longs Drugs in the Westchester Business District — turns 30 in September.
The purely volunteer effort has been a major fundraising source for Airport Marina Counseling Service.
In fact, volunteers have sold enough merchandiseÝto enable the Guild to give nearly $400,000 to the counseling service since 1975.
Volunteers from the Westchester Mental Health Guild keep the store open six days a week, year-round, and run all aspects of the business, from shopping for merchandise, pricing and display to selling, bookkeeping and recruiting and training new volunteers.
From Saturday, September 17th, through Saturday, September 24th, the Guilded Cage will hold a week of celebration of its 30 years in business, featuring one-of-a-kind and handcrafted items and highlighted by a public event at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 17th, that will include refreshments and a day of indoor and outdoor sales at the store, 8917-B South Sepulveda Blvd.