Renovation Update Week 4
Dr Rena Secter Elbaze, Executive Director

March 6, 2024

Welcome to Week IV of our weekly renovation site update series, part of our L’Dor Va Dor Capital Campaign and Renovation Honouring Our Past and Embracing Our Future.

In this video recording I am standing in the Rabbi Berkal Chapel with a portion of the memorial plaques still up on the wall behind me. The plaques are indexed and have been professionally photographed to keep a record of their placement and are now in secured storage.

As you will see in the video, the Leo Mol stained glass windows have been removed for restoration along with the wood paneling, radiators, and the lower-level plaques.

Prior to undertaking the renovation, the bronze memorial plaques occupied the space you see behind me and also the top half of the dividing wall between the Chapel and the Sanctuary. Some plaques were also located at the back of the Chapel above the entrance.

With the renovation upgrades, the dividing wall between the Sanctuary and the Chapel was raised and can no longer support the plaques that were there before.

Given the importance of maintaining the plaques in the Chapel, the House and Building Committee along with the architects needed to find a solution that would not only keep the plaques in the Chapel but also provide for a denser presentation that would accommodate all of the plaques on the walls between the stained glass windows, while also keeping the plaques grouped together as they have been.

Some of the challenges reusing the existing bronze plaques included:

  • Limited space to put back all of the 2000 existing and 150 pre-paid plaques * No room for expansion with the existing format
  • Obsolete, manually controlled lighting for each plaque (physically turn each bulb)
  • No possibility to digitally program turning lighting on and off to commemorate yahrzeits
  • Dark bronze plaques took away from the brightness of the stained glass windows and darkened the space

After much thought and research, a solution was found to provide an elegant, brighter, upgraded etched glass plaque design with an automated lighting system, that will accommodate all of the existing plaques and provide room for expansion.

There will be no extra cost to those congregants who already have a plaque or who have pre-paid for a plaque. All existing bronze plaques will be replaced with an etched glass plaque and congregants will be invited to purchase the old plaques and boards as a keepsake if they so desire. The cost of the renewed plaque wall and system will be covered by future new plaque purchases, any bronze plaques purchased as a keepsake by family members, and the sale of the remaining bronze for recycling.

In the spirit of Honoring Our Past, we are mindful of the importance of these plaques to our congregants and will respect the placement of plaques to their original family groupings.

Final pricing for new plaques will be available once all of the costs have been evaluated and the congregation will be advised as soon as possible.

In the coming weeks, as the renovation unfolds, I will take you on a walk-through of our new Childcare Centre and later this spring, on a visit of our state-of-the-art conference room, classroom, event spaces, offices, and more.

Each week will bring us closer to our project’s completion and our opening for Rosh Hashanah at the beginning of October 2024.

Please be in touch if you’d like to have a conversation about the progress and specific details of the renovation. Please feel free to forward your questions to me at

Warm regards,

Dr. Rena Secter Elbaze
Executive Director

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