On Sunday, September 7, 2014, over 500 TBS congregants, families and friends gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony at the TBS location. Despite the record-breaking heat, the gathering was festive and everyone attending appeared excited and hopeful about the rebuilding. In addition to breaking ground, the synagogue honored the fire department that responded to the devastating fire in February.
The new structure is a compilation of synagogue members, architects and construction companies. Facing an estimated cost of $12 million to complete the project, the TBS Living Legacy Campaign and Emergency Fire Fund has raised $6.5 million to date. Staff, such as Susie Amster, Director of Living Legacy, and the synagogue’s clergy, Rabbi Heidi Cohen, are as involved and dedicated to the process of rebuilding as much as the volunteers and professionals. But where would a Capital Campaign be without the volunteers? The Ground Breaking Committee is co-chaired by synagogue members Jeff Merkow, Joyce Mogabgab and Hollis O’Brien; the Living Legacy Committee is chaired by Jeff Winston; and the Capital Campaign Committee is co-chaired by Bernie Horowitz and Linda Weissberg. On the construction side, The CORE Architectural Committee is co-chaired by Dan and Linda Weissberg; CORE professional consultants are Richard Berliner, Principal and Lead Architect; Scott Nusinow, Project Manager Architect, and Minah Yeo, Design Architect. JR Van Dijs, Inc. and Del Amo Construction are the construction manager and estimators respectively. Major donors have also contributed, and longstanding pillars of the Jewish Community, such as the Horowitz Family (Bernie and Brad) and the Fainbarg Family (Alan and Sandy,) continue to contribute significantly to TBS. Bernie Horowitz joined the synagogue close to 50 years ago, along with his wife Maxine (z”l); the Fainbargs were founding members of TBS.
It was a beautiful day for a ground-breaking, and to see the smiles and determination of TBS staff, clergy, members and friends was worth the heat. Sharing memories, and reflecting on the past several decades since the inauguration of the synagogue, the TBS Ground Breaking was really a celebration of the future. And in spite of the unforeseen circumstances of the fire, you can believe it when the Campaign resounds, “We can. We will. Rebuild TBS!”
Dr. Lisa Grajewski is a psychologist working toward licensure. She is a therapist with Jewish Federation Family Services and is a psychological assistant for a private practice in Tustin. Dr. Grajewski has been writing for JLife since 2004.