An Update From Our Temple President - Mike Diamond
As many of you are aware, escrow closed on Thursday, December 5th, on 10313 W. Pico Blvd – AKA Isaiah-East, which is now an official part of our campus. This represents the culmination of almost 18 months of negotiations, fits, and starts, and most importantly, the hard work of many of our fellow Isaians. Our Past President, David Leichenger, and the FY 2018-19 Board initiated the purchase process, and I was fortunate to become President just in time to sign the initial purchase agreement. During the last six months, as we negotiated our bank loan with American Business Bank and went through the closing process, I was supported by the clergy led by Senior Rabbi Dara Frimmer, the current Board and many other lay leaders and congregants that gave their time and added their expertise. Please see our list of the many individuals who contributed to this effort – many of them serving on multiple committees, task forces, or working groups. I do want to give special recognition to Past President David Leichenger, who navigated the original purchase, Past President Norm Solomon, whom I call our purchase guru, and Loryn Arkow. While not currently a congregant, Loryn worked tirelessly to help us negotiate the loan with American Business Bank, leading us through the escrow process. I also want to recognize the firm in which she is a partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, for allowing Loryn to work pro bono on our behalf. I speak for all of us at Isaiah when I say to all who worked on this project – Thanks so much!
The purchase of Isaiah-East opens a new era in the history of Temple Isaiah. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to expand our facility and open new and exciting horizons for our congregation. Our vision is to be your home at the intersection of tradition and innovation. Isaiah-East is both a tangible and intangible manifestation of what this means. On a tangible level, the Isaiah-East property gives us the possibility to use the existing building for the short- and medium-term needs that are being examined by the Vision/Use Working Group. In the longer term, the property allows us to think creatively about how to re-envision and possibly rebuild significant portions of our campus.
But equally important are the potential intangible benefits. Isaiah-East lets us build on the traditional Jewish value of community in new and innovative ways. How can this space help 21st century Jews gather in meaningful ways to rediscover Jewish history, define contemporary Jewish identity, and dream together about a more just and compassionate world? How can this space help us build new rooms in our Jewish home, rooted at the intersection of tradition and innovation?
Over the next two to three years and beyond we will collectively focus on determining and funding the highest best use for Isaiah-East. Led by the Vision/Use Working group co-chaired by Beth Raanan and David Snow, we will be seeking ongoing input from all of you and keep you informed as we collectively create a vision for the Isaiah-East property and then turn that vision into reality.
In the immediate short-term we will be cleaning up the building, either filling or fencing the pool, and making the building suitable for limited purposes. If any significant expenditures are immediately needed for initial occupancy, the Board will be asked to approve these expenditures in accordance with our Bylaws.
Concurrent with the work of the Vision/Use Working Group we will begin planning for a capital campaign to fund significant improvements to the building, including possibly integrating a new structure into our existing structure. As is the usual case for capital campaigns, we will most likely begin with a feasibility study so we can better understand our needs, your vision for Isaiah, and how we can work collaboratively to fund that vision. As decisions are made, I will continue to provide information and updates on this portal.