With major additions to its building scheduled to be completed in 2020, Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church announced last week that it had wrapped up its 14-month capital campaign after reaching its fundraising goal of $16 million.
Donations came from more than 1,100 households, according to Hannah Moore, the Reform congregation’s director of philanthropy. Rodef Shalom has a membership of 1,740 families.
The money will be used for an expansion of more than 15,000 square feet at the synagogue, where two new playgrounds (supplementing one that was recently moved ahead of the construction), bigger clergy and staff offices, additional classrooms and a small sanctuary will be built.
“To quote Isaiah, we’re lengthening our cords and strengthening our stakes to make a bigger tent,” Moore said.
As the overall population and Jewish community in Northern Virginia continues to grow rapidly, so has the Reform synagogue’s membership, according to Moore. In 2017, the congregation had 1,600 families.
“If you’d asked us 10, 15 years ago if we were going to continue to grow at this rate we would’ve said, ‘No, it’ll level off.’ That didn’t happen,” Moore said. “So we’re building for now and we’re also building for the future. … The growth rate is holding steady.”
In addition to the expansion of the building, the synagogue will nearly double its number of parking spaces. But it will also add bicycle parking and improved pedestrian access from the street, according to Moore.
“When this building was first built and conceived in the early ‘70s, I don’t think they imagined people walking, so it needs to be made more pedestrian-friendly and safer,” she said.
The synagogue held a ceremonial groundbreaking last September and work began in February, Moore said. The construction is expected to take about 18 months to complete.