capital campaign : faqs
Brooklyn Heights Synagogue has enjoyed its home at 131 Remsen since 1995, so why did BHS buy 127 Remsen Street?The congregation has more than doubled in size to over 468 families since we moved to 131 Remsen Street, and our needs have grown commensurately. Almost every room in 131 Remsen (our present location) is used for multiple purposes every day. Uses range from pre-school in the morning, to religious school and adult learning in the afternoon, to congregational meetings and the shelter in the evenings. Some programs cannot happen because no room is available at a given time. 127 Remsen Street is the only adjacent expansion space to BHS’s present location. When the new building became available it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the synagogue to expand and meet the congregation’s needs.
What did it cost?
BHS paid $3.5 million before closing costs.
How was it paid for?
BHS took out a mortgage from Community National Bank of New York (“CNBNY”) for $3 million. We also had the Weissler Fund which earmarked a significant amount for this purpose. BHS has launched a capital campaign to retire the CNBNY loan. Early donations of approximately $1 million helped to provide the confidence that the campaign will be a success.
Are there tenants in the building?
There are no longer any residential tenants in the building.
What do/did you expect from the Capital Campaign?
Our goal was to raise $3.5 million in pledges by 2017. We sought the participation of all members of the congregation at whatever level would be comfortable for them, and appealed to others in the community for their support as well. If you know of anyone who may yet be interested in supporting the campaign, please let them know about it.
What will BHS use the new space for in the short term?
Last year, we completed some early, low-cost renovations on the garden level of 127 Remsen so that we could obtain 3 additional classroom/meeting areas, 2 handicap-accessible bathrooms and an outdoor deck space for congregational gathering and preschool playtime. We had moved the Clergy Suite (Rabbi Lippe's study, Cantor Ruben's study, and administrative office space for their needs) next door as well and improved the wi-fi capability through the spaces in use. We cleaned out the basement area to obtain additional storage space and began to utilize the upper floors for departmental storage for the Religious School, Preschool, Ritual, and Custodial departments.
Some possible uses for rooms in the new building, as they become available, include:
• office space, freeing up parts of our existing building for school and congregational use;
• classrooms for religious school and adult education;
• our library, creating more flexible use in 131 Remsen;
• outdoor space for social and recreational gathering.
How will the new building be used in the longer term?
When BHS was considering a renovation of the fourth floor of 131 Remsen, the Executive Committee commissioned a space needs assessment that was conducted by Kliment Halsband Architects. That study outlined several needs including:
• More classroom space for religious school, pre-school and adult learning
• Outdoor space for rituals, preschool, religious school, and events
• A larger space to celebrate life events
These same needs will be addressed by the new building. We will engage in a master planning process anticipating uses for all of our space.
How can I help?
1.Get involved. The Capital Campaign needs volunteers.
2.Make a donation or a pledge. Speak with a Campaign Co-Chair or Executive Committee member. Here are the pledge levels:
Architect: $250,000 and above
Planner: $100,000 to $249,999
Builder: $50,000 to $99,999
Supervisor: $25,000 to $49,999
Carpenter: $10,000 to $24,999
Mason: $1,800 to $9,999
3.Voice your ideas. Let us know your ideas about any of these topics.
Whom do I make out a check out to?
Checks should be made out Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, with “Capital Campaign” listed in the memo section. Checks can be sent to or dropped off at the BHS office.
To make a pledge, call the office to request a pledge form or to speak with Sue Gold. To encourage the most generous gifts, pledges can be paid out over time. We are asking that all pledges be fulfilled in 5 years.
Campaign Committee Co-Chairs
Rachel Schnoll and Stephen Yankauer - 718-809-3863 / 718-809-3839
Lauren and David Smetana - 917-545-5381 / 917-520-8043
Rachel Schnoll and Stephen Yankauer | 718-809-3863 / 718-809-3839
Lauren and David Smetana | 917-545-5381 / 917-520-8043
Sue Gold | 718-522-2070 x122 |