Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Building designs included on this site are artist renderings and do not necessarily reflect the final construction plans for this project.


Why is this project necessary?

The building has aged and requires critical repairs to roofing, heating, cooling, and ventilation, as well as important upgrades to wiring for data communication. To perform this work, the walls and ceilings will be opened, exposing asbestos that has been sealed for decades and will need to be removed. Capitalizing on the structurally sound “bones” of the building which will have been exposed, it is an opportune time to invigorate the shul’s interior and modernize the space.

What other renovations are planned?

In addition to repairs and upgraded building infrastructure, the project will feature significant improvements to underutilized space in the Sanctuary, Social Hall (Auditorium) and lower level overall.  Washrooms will be upgraded to accessibility standards.  A portion of the lower level will be developed as a daycare space. This will require adjustments to the entrance off the parking lot.  Technology enhancements will help adapt gathering spaces to accommodate different scales of events with considerations for hybrid in-person and online participation, and allow for better acoustics to manage sound when there are simultaneous programs and events taking place.

What will stay the same?

The Sanctuary and Chapel spaces will remain where they are with pews for seating. Many members have expressed the importance of the Chapel services and the need for the Chapel to remain an inviting, safe and warm space. The daily Minyan is the beating heart of Congregation Shaarey Zedek. The Sanctuary will also maintain its independence from the Chapel and Social Hall, and will utilize technology regarding the walls, ceilings, floors and acoustics to allow for more flexibility in transforming the space to adapt for multipurpose use. A portion of the lower level will continue to be available for use as a gathering space before and after the services, with upgrades to the space that contribute to a more flexible gathering hub. Reorganization of the offices, storage space, and public washrooms will take place. The lower level entrance will remain, but will be upgraded, as it is often used as the main entrance given its proximity to parking.

What considerations are being made regarding accessibility?

Accessibility and access for all ages and abilities is important. Our elevator will remain in place, bathrooms will be modernized for all abilities, and safety elements such as non-slip flooring will be taken into consideration when choosing materials and treatments. The area formerly referred to as the lounges will house the daycare, and will be reconfigured as a single space that no longer requires stairs, as it will be situated on one level.

What considerations are being made regarding sustainability?

Construction materials, finishes, and the recycled use of certain existing elements in the synagogue, will be incorporated into plans and design wherever possible.

What design elements are planned for the Sanctuary and Chapel spaces?

Each space will retain their Aronei Kodesh (arks). The memorial plaques located in the Chapel will remain in their existing location and will be incorporated into the new design. More natural light will flood into the space given the exposing of original windows that were covered up years ago to accommodate upgrades to heating and air conditioning. While many physical components of the original space will remain in the new space, providing a memory connection for the current congregation, some elements may be reconfigured or upgraded depending upon the element and its ability to allow for flexibility in a space. For instance the pulpits (reading tables) in the Sanctuary will be replaced with movable ones.

What design elements have been raised for the building overall?

The renovation will respect its mid-century modern design intent, while meeting modern needs. The design team is aware and understands the importance of the renovation being not only beautiful, but that it must also capture the essential holiness and spirituality of this place.

What will happen to the Synagogue’s Judaica?

The renovated interior will be a beautiful background to our important artifacts and Judaica. Keeping multipurpose use in mind, consideration is being given to include wall space throughout the building to serve as a gallery space: some permanent, and possibly some as program space.

Will there be upgrades to Security?

Security of the building is incredibly important and has been an item of concern in the past. The design team has this in mind while continuing to develop plans relating to enhancing security.

Will the infrastructure be there for audio/visual transmission / broadcasting?

Yes. Wiring for data communication is a key component of the repairs and upgrades to modern standards of internet speed and connectivity, as well as other audiovisual equipment.

What is the construction plan?

Beginning December 2022, phase one will focus on critical upgrades and renovations needed to keep the building safe and in good condition — a new roof, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, wiring, and asbestos removal. This work is estimated to take 6 months to complete. Phase two is related to invigorating the shul’s interior. This phase is estimated to take 14 months.

What is the budget for the project?

The Board previously approved an overall budget of $14 million in September 2021, representing an earlier projection of $12 million in hard costs and $2 million in soft costs.  However, because of supply and inflation issues, as well as changes to the renovation plans including the installation of an operable dumbwaiter (to replace the current inoperable one), as well as a daycare space, the current budget recently approved by the Board in August 2022, is $16 million.

What is the campaign goal?

The total campaign goal is $16 million, as approved by the Board in August 2022, which will be raised through congregant donations, members and non members, foundations, government and businesses.  As well, the Shaarey Zedek organization will allocate up to $3 million of its own funds.

What is planned to bring people in and increase utilization of the upgraded space?

We will be marketing our new ‘transformative’ spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, with modern features and technology that provides for engaging events that are flexible and scalable in size; life cycle events, social engagements, community functions, classes, meetings, programs, playgroups and more. We will continue to serve our congregants and the community through current and future programs in spaces that are designed to meet their needs, while also having flexible space to accommodate more events running simultaneously.

Since programming has increasingly become a hybrid combination of online and in-person, this has been taken into consideration regarding infrastructure upgrades and is being planned for throughout the design process via upgraded audio-visual capabilities. Finally, our space will be marketed to the greater Winnipeg community as a welcoming - and cutting-edge - multipurpose event space.

The synagogue organization is currently working with consultant, Ken Goldstein of The Goldstein Group, to help us develop a business strategy. Our goal is to affirm our identity and role in the community, and to create clear business and financial goals, while optimizing our operations.

How will renovations effect services, catering, events, and administration during construction?

During the renovations, we will be operating out of two locations:

Temple Shalom at 1077 Grant Avenue will host our temporary administrative offices, as well as daily Minyan and funeral services.

The Berney Theatre at the Asper Campus at 123 Doncaster Street will be our temporary home for Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat Morning Services, as well as some public and private events. Our catering department will also be at the campus, sharing space with Schmoozer’s Café, offering dairy/pareve options only.

If you need to reach our team, visit the Clergy and Staff website pages for phone numbers and email addresses — we’re-here to help.

Do you need volunteers for any aspect of this project?

YES! Anyone interested in participating in the project and willing to canvass potential donors is encouraged to contact Jodi Novak at 204-452-3711 or