Frequently Asked Questions



Updated July 27, 2017

You can find a list of frequently asked questions and their answers here. Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Contact Mitch Shenker or Barbara Shamir.

What’s up with the parking?

When High Holidays fall during the middle of the week, we have connections with Washington University and can arrange for parking at their parking garage at the corner of Maryland and Jackson, one block from our new building. If we have to use this Wash U parking lot, Kol Rinah will provide a shuttle from that lot to our building.

For special occasions that fall during the middle of the week (funeral, large special event…),in addition to the parking spots on the site, and the parking at the the Pierre Laclede lot, there is ample street parking (over 50 spaces) along Maryland, Linden and the adjacent streets. The neighbors in Clayton have told us that they understand and expect that this will happen, and that they have been living with this situation from other institutions for decades.

Why don’t we move back to BSKI or stay at Shaare Zedek?

Beginning with the merger discussions (six plus years ago) and continuing through the selection of the new property, the Facilities Committee and later the Board, carefully considered the relative merits of our two 50+ year old facilities and a third site.   The goal of the process was to identify a property that would serve to unify rather than create conflict for our two congregations,  provide opportunities to develop  a facility that suits evolving needs over the next fifty years, and responsibly use funds generated by the sale of our existing properties.   An important consideration was which site would best support the fund-raising needed to renovate and/ or build (a necessity for both facilities we currently own as well).

Can we afford to renovate or build on the new property?

The sale of our real estate, including Rabbi Skoff’s (z’’l)  home, enabled us to purchase the new property without a mortgage and to start our Capital Campaign with over two million dollars.  We also have current pledges for our Capital Campaign exceeding $800,000. Based on our estimates of the costs to develop the new property to meet our needs, we believe we can raise the sufficient necessary additional funds. On March 16, 2017, the Kol Rinah Board voted that the site in Clayton is suitable for our intended use, and to close on the contract to purchase the property.

Why is this taking so long? Why is this moving so quickly?

In 2013, based on an in-depth analysis undertaken by merger committees, as well as additional analysis after the merger and a recommendation of the Facilities Committee, the Board approved a resolution providing that our new congregation would not reside in the Hanley facility for more than 3-5 years.  If all goes according to plan, we will meet that goal.  This goal gave us adequate time to locate suitable property, which given our geographic requirements, was a very time-consuming process.  This goal also gives us the needed time to carefully consider the financial needs of the congregation, both specifically for the development of the new property and more generally for our operations. With the closing of the contract to purchase the property in Clayton, we are now focused on what specifically it will take to renovate, and/or build an addition to, the existing building to meet our needs, now and in the future. And we have begun a fundraising campaign to help us achieve that goal.

Why did we buy a church building and why did the Journey purchase the Hanley facility?

We purchased a property on Maryland Avenue between Hanley Road and Linden Avenue.  The largest building on the property is a multi-story school building.  According to our architect, the church building can be beautifully renovated to suit our tastes.    The fact that this property is already zoned for a religious institution makes the property more affordable and easier to develop.

The Journey owns multiple properties in the southern part of both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.  To the best of our knowledge, this is an opportunity for the Journey to reach into the northern part of our area.  Also, the Journey needs a larger facility 52 weeks of the year.  By contrast, the Journey property affords us the opportunity to develop a facility that serves our needs most days of the year rather than the traditional synagogue model that focuses on High Holiday needs.

Will we have an Early Childhood Center (ECC)?

Whether or not we have an Early Childhood Center on the new site will be determined by whether or not we can raise sufficient enough funds to pay for the development of a new Early Childhood Center. We believe that the location of the ECC in central Clayton will provide unique opportunities for the congregation, raise the profile of the ECC, facilitate the growth of the ECC and provide a real benefit to the Jewish community as well as central corridor families.  While we are developing the new property, and potentially further into the future, the Journey has agreed to allow us to continue the operation of our ECC at the Hanley building.  We are actively pursuing sources of funding specific to the ECC.  The Board has committed to planning for the eventuality of an ECC on the property as active fundraising for an ECC continues.

Will the stained glass from Hanley and the Boccia paintings from Linden move to the new facility?

The contract negotiated with the Journey provided us with the ability to remove the stained glass from Hanley.  The Boccia paintings and the stained glass from the sanctuary are in storage. The stained glass in the chapel and the alcove outside the chapel will remain in Hanley until it can be reinstalled in our Clayton property. The architects are recommending locations in the new facility to accommodate key heritage pieces.  They are planning to incorporate both the Winfield stained glass and the Boccia paintings in a variety of locations in the new buildings.

We have established and are accepting donations for a separate “Stained Glass Fund”, to be used only for the removal, storage, and incorporation of the stained glass into the design of our new home. Direct any questions regarding the Stained Glass to our President, Randi Mozenter.

Why did we consider a third facility/property?

We are looking for Kol Rinah to be sustainable for the next fifty years and beyond.  The Board decided not to renovate/build on either the Linden or Hanley properties, based on a number of factors carefully balanced and weighed by the Facilities Committee.  The factors included: (1) the cost to adapt either building to contemporary use, (2) the suitability of the location to attract new members, (3) the need for a space that neither legacy congregation would feel is the home of the other, and (4) frankly, the likelihood of greater fundraising for a third property, than for renovating an old one. 

As a bonus, we got the opportunity to acquire the Journey property, which looks very much like it will meet our needs.  We are currently gathering cost, financial feasibility and capital campaign information to guide us in the decision making process.  All members will be given the opportunity to review this key information as it becomes available over the next few months.  The opportunity for all who wish to ask questions and comment will be a critical part of the review and decision-making process.

Will a new sanctuary at the Maryland location meet our needs for the High Holidays?

Based on our most current information, we estimate that a new sanctuary will accommodate approximately 250 congregants.  If and when we can raise the funds needed, the architects have provided an option in the design of the Main Sanctuary to expand the seating by another +/-100 seats. There are other spaces in the building that can accommodate several hundred more people. There are three days of the year that may require additional seats: Rosh Hashanah Day 1, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur.  We believe that there are enough areas on the property to accommodate over 700 people on these days, using multiple spaces simultaneously in the building (as we have been doing in the Hanley building for the past several years).

When will we know how much the Journey project will cost and who is responsible for determining the cost? 

The sale of our real estate, including Rabbi Skoff’s (z’’l) home, enabled us to purchase the new property without a mortgage. From the money we earned due to those real estate sales, we spent one million dollars to pay off the debt that was secured by the Hanley property. That left over one million additional dollars at the start of the Capital Campaign.  We also have current pledges for our Capital Campaign exceeding $2.7 million. Based on our preliminary estimates of the costs to develop the new property to meet our needs, we are optimistic that we can raise the sufficient necessary additional funds. On March 16, 2017, the Kol Rinah Board voted that the site in Clayton is suitable for our intended use, and to close on the contract to purchase the property.

Our architects are currently generating a design that will provide the basis for a realistic cost estimate.  The architects have been given construction cost budget parameters of 4.7 million dollars for the first phase of the project (exclusive of the cost to develop the ECC, which is being held as a separate cost, and donors are being pursued exclusively for the ECC part of the project). As part of our architects’ services, they will provide a cost estimate developed by a consultant team of cost estimators, and the general contracting firm of SM Wilson.  Our Finance Committee is simultaneously developing a five-year cost model that we can use to forecast the project cost on a month-to-month basis. And our Capital Campaign Committee is hard at work actively pursuing as many fundraising avenues as possible to help us achieve our goal of building a beautiful new home for Kol Rinah.

Why didn’t the entire congregation vote on the future location of Kol Rinah?

According to the Kol Rinah bylaws, the congregation at large elects a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors represents the rest of the congregation in all matters that need to be reviewed and voted upon, according to the bylaws. The Board of Directors serves as the “voice” of the congregation in all of these matters, accordingly. As such, and after over a years’ worth of review and consideration of design options, financial information, future ramifications, congregational feedback, and questioning of various committee members on the work that they’ve done, the Board of Directors voted on March 16, 2017 that the Clayton property was suitable for Kol Rinah’s future needs, and to close on the real estate contract for the property.

With the pending construction by the Journey in the Hanley building, where and when will be synagogue office be relocated?

The synagogue office has now been relocated to the former Youth Lounge area on the second floor.  Kol Rinah retains the use of the small chapel, the auditorium and kitchens, the Sara Myers room, the Mirowitz auditorium and the ECC.

Where will our services be held once the sanctuary is under construction, and when will this happen?

There will be no change in daily minyan services. They will still be held in the Guller Chapel.  We will still have access to enter the building from Amherst. Shabbat services will be held in the Mirowitz Room on the lower level as we have for the past few summers.  Kiddush will continue to be held in the auditorium.  The Lobby and Sara Meyers room will provide additional space, if needed.  A Leaving the Sanctuary Ceremony was held on June 11, 2017 similar to the final ceremony held at BSKI in April 2016. [As a side note: We retain exclusive rights for use of the kitchens. The Journey will conform to our standards of Kashrut.]

When exactly will Journey be moving into the building and holding all their activities/services here?

Construction in U. City is scheduled to begin in late July.

How will this affect our High Holidays, will they still be in this building or offsite? If in the Hanley building, where will they be held?

High Holiday services will be held in the Hanley building this year.  We will offer simultaneous services in the auditorium and downstairs in the Mirowitz.  There will be additional services, ie., youth and family services offered in the Sara Myers Room and the Guller chapel.

How can I help and/or communicate my suggestions and concerns?

Feel free to approach Randi Mozenter (President), or Sherri Sadon (Chair of the Board), or Rabbi Arnow, or Dan Rosenthal (Co-Chair Facilities Committee), or Sue Albert (Co-Chair Facilities Committee), or Dave Cooperstein (Vice President, Facilities), or any other Facilities Committee member if you have questions or comments.

Continue to look for weekly “Moving Forward” updates from the Facilities Committee, via email and postal mail.

Look for Pop-Up Coffee Talks held by Randi Mozenter and Sherri Sadon on a regular basis, to come ask questions and voice your concerns in an informal setting.

We also value your suggestions on the best way to communicate.  Feel free to attend Board meetings that are held once a month on the third Thursday at 7:00 p.m.  Both Facilities and Finance updates are generally on the Board meeting agenda.

And please attend any Congregational Meetings that will be held to update the congregation and facilitate discussion of relevant issues.