A Gem Grows in Brooklyn
by Rabbi Andy Bachman
Earlier today, I stood on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art together with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many of Congregation Beth Elohim’s (CBE) neighbors and friends—the Brooklyn Public Library, The High Line, the Guggenheim Museum, the Tenement Museum, and many, many others. I was absolutely thrilled when the mayor announced that CBE has been chosen from among hundreds of applicants from throughout the five boroughs as one of only 40 finalists in American Express’ Partners in Preservation (PiP) program with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
What an exciting and historic moment for our community!
American Express will reward a total of $3 million, and CBE—the only synagogue or Jewish institution selected as a finalist—has a chance to win the top prize of $250,000 to restore the beautiful stained glass windows in our main sanctuary. I cannot think of a more fitting or celebratory way to kick off our 150th anniversary as an open synagogue community serving Brooklyn!
To learn more about our community, view a brief documentary film, produced by American Express, which highlights CBE and our many community programs, and features the special relationship we share with our friends at Old First Reformed Church and their pastor, Rev. Daniel Meeter.
A distinguished panel of civic leaders and preservation experts will join Mayor Bloomberg as judges for the program. In addition, an international voting campaign that allows individuals to vote – once per day – for their favorite institution begins today.
Here’s how you can help:
- Vote for CBE daily at Partners in Preservation
- “Like” us on Facebook and share the link so others can do the same
- Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to vote for CBE
- Join us for CBE Connects, our Open House event on Sunday, May 6 from 2 to 5 p.m.
To thank you for voting in person at CBE or tagging the CBE Facebook page in your status update, we’re raffling off a year’s free membership at CBE and an iPad. So, as Chicago’s late Mayor Daley of Chicago was fond of saying: Vote early and vote often!
Rabbi Andy Bachman is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, N.Y.