Temple Judea Breaks Ground
The congregation is building a new, larger synagogue on Rogers Road in Doylestown Township.
Freezing temperatures did nothing to dissuade the 300 people who showed up Sunday afternoon on a plot of overgrown land to celebrate the expansion of Temple Judea of Bucks County.
The future home of the reform synagogue will be built on eight acres of land at Rogers and York roads in Doylestown Township. Plans call for a two-story, 20,000-square-foot building that will incorporate "green" features such as the use of native plants in landscaping, the ability to collect roof run-off to water the plants and the creation of bike paths around the building.
It’s a plan that has been in the works for several years. The 270-family congregation has long outgrown its current home along Swamp Road on the edges of Doylestown Borough.
“Who’s ready for the groundbreaking?” shouted Temple Judea President Jerel Wohl, addressing an audience bundled up for winter’s chill.
“Yeah!” the crowd shouted.
‘Well, we gotta wait a little more,” he told them, since not all the buses that were used to shuttle those attending had arrived from starting points of Linden Elementary School or Temple Judea. “We’ve been waiting for 10 years – a few more minutes won’t hurt.”
Interim Rabbi Ilene Bogosian, who came aboard this past year, said, “We are blessed to reach this day. It’s an honor to be with you for this wonderful moment.”
The new synagogue, expected to take about a year to complete, will continue to provide “peaceful prayer, study and community service” in its mission, said Wohl.
Local, state and federal-level politicians were on hand to offer their congratulations to members of the congregation, which was founded 52 years ago. It has been at its present location since 1967.
Yellow plastic hard hats were handed out and some children carried beach shovels for the occasion. One of the young members, Kate Minlionica, contributed leftover programs from her recent bat mitzvah, that contained wildflower seeds embedded in them. They will be planted at the construction site.
Members, young and old, got to have their turn at turning soil over with shovels provided by Temple Judea.
That included 7-year-old Allison Troth, dressed for the cold in a stylish black-and-white panda hat.
Mom Johanna Frank, who’s been at Temple Judea a handful of years and was watching nearby, said the new synagogue would alleviate overcrowding.
“This will allow people to continue to expand and participate in programs,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”