Temple Beth Shalom celebrates groundbreaking for construction


November 20, 1997|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THIRTY-SEVEN years ago, a handful of county residents got together to organize a synagogue. They named it Temple Beth Shalom.

Rabbi Robert C. Klensin arrived in 1974, and under his guidance, the congregation has grown to include 275 families, flourishing to such an extent that obtaining additional space for services and religious classes has become critical.

Though the synagogue, built in 1973, is too small for the congregation, the 11-acre property it occupies on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Arnold offers more than enough room for growth.

"This has remained an ideal place for the synagogue over the years," said Klensin, "because it's so central to the county."

And so, after years of planning, on Sunday an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 500 celebrated the groundbreaking for an enlargement of the building. A library, religious classrooms and office space will be provided, and, ultimately, a new sanctuary will be constructed.

"The emotions that day were so wonderful," Klensin said. "It was so exciting."

Guests included County Executive John G. Gary, Councilwoman Diane R. Evans and Beryl Blickstein, president of the Washington-based Mid-Atlantic Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. They were joined by an Australian cantor, Michel Laloum.

To finance the construction, members have pledged about $1.2 million. The first section to be constructed will be a school structure that will add about 12,000 square feet to the existing building.

The classrooms will be used by the religious school, whose 270 students are under the direction of the rabbi's wife, Francine Klensin, and by a nursery school that the temple operates.

"We hope to have the classrooms, library and offices operating by late winter or early spring," the rabbi said. "The next step is to build a new social hall within another year to 18 months. Later on, we'll build a new sanctuary."

Helping the leaf-challenged

For some of us, the most exercise we get at this time of the year is an afternoon of uncomfortable sitting as we watch our favorite football team bite the dust.

Thank goodness for leaves.

Raking leaves gives our muscles a workout and requires no expensive equipment: All one needs is a rake (likely to be found encrusted with cobwebs in the garage or leaning against the tree where you left it last year), an old sweat shirt (your kid's might do nicely) and lots of industrial-strength plastic bags.

Begin by entering the garage. It won't take long to identify the handle with the rake on the other end among the collection of shovels and brooms in the corner. Locating the box of 300 leaf bags that seemed like such a good buy last summer could take a little longer.

Don't be discouraged by your neighbor (the one who has everything), who is armed with the latest hand-held leaf-blower. (His leaves will be removed by one of those big trucks that will come to his house and inhale all the leaves he piled in the street.)

That's all right. When you're finished, you'll be in fabulous shape.

Did somebody mention back strain?

Well, a month of visits to the chiropractor should cost about the same as a good leaf blower and the removal service. Maybe that's worth keeping in mind for next year.

Pub Date: 11/20/97

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