Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT

Sanctuary Redesign

The mission: to design a sanctuary at BEKI that is inspirational, warm, inclusive, accessible, and feasible.

Project Overview

A sanctuary redesign means rethinking how we use BEKI’s sanctuary.

The room was designed in the late 1950s for a formal, hierarchical style of worship. The rabbi and cantor led services on a high stage, like performers, with congregants seated like a passive audience.

A redesign means creating a sanctuary that reflects our 21st-century values of warmth and inclusiveness, egalitarianism and engagement. It means enhancing our volunteer-led services, in which we are all participants, not audience members. It means a design that expresses our BEKI values and helps us live those values more fully.

The overarching goals involve making our sanctuary:

  • more physically comfortable (which includes heating, cooling, ventilation, and seating);
  • more accessible for everyone;
  • more intimate and participatory in scale and layout;
  • more inviting to everyone;
  • more environmentally sustainable.

What’s the Latest?

Date Added
Seating arrangement renderings
Chair choices
Project update
Another update
Yet another update

President’s and Rabbi’s Messages
Architectural Concepts
Frequently Asked Questions
Project Communications
Sanctuary Photos – Yesterday and Today

Redesign Committee

Carole Bass, co-chair
Rick Saltz, co-chair
Lynn Brotman
Eric Dunsker, Board liaison & House Committee chair
Jonathan Gordon
Howard Gralla
Marga Hirsch

Our Process

  • Review previous plans and ideas for redesigning the BEKI sanctuary.
  • Research other congregations that have undertaken similar projects.
  • Present information and ideas to the BEKI community, and gather feedback.
  • Provide consistent updates.
  • Synthesize community feedback and produce several possible designs.
  • Bring those designs to the congregation and incorporate additional feedback.
  • Produce a design that has the support of the congregation and Board of Directors and is ready to implement.