The $13 million expansion at Rodeph Shalom, an impressive Byzantine style synagogue built in 1927 on North Broad Street, is going strong and recently raised its last iron structural beam as work continues on the project. The plan, designed by Kieran Timberlake, calls for a medium sized event space to be built on the Broad Street side of the property. The sanctuary can hold up to 1,400 people, but it's too large to accommodate events mid-sized events and gatherings. The new multipurpose room will also provide more gallery space for Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, which is located within the synagogue. The taller part of the structure is set back from Broad Street and will house classrooms. According to Rabbi Eli Freedman, the south side entrance will be revamped and they'll be tearing down the uninviting fence that used to surround the lot in favor of more welcoming, drive up entrance on Green Street, which will be surrounded by trees and landscaped for proper storm water management. Rabbi Freedman also mentioned they're excited with the progress of the soon-to-be gathering space as well as being apart of the revitalization of North Broad Street, pointing to their efforts alongside Eric Blumenfeld's with the Divine Lorraine as well as the restaurant and event space across the street that houses Alla Spina. They recently partnered with The Food Trust to open a Farmers' Market on the corner of Mount Vernon and Broad Street and the hope is that the expansion project wraps up sometime in May or June of 2015. Basically, North Broad Street is brimming with action.
Fun fact: Frank Furness designed the original Rodeph Shalom synagogue on this site in 1866. It was razed in 1920 for the larger one you see today.
· Expansion approved for North Broad synagogue [Plan Philly]
· Rodeph Shalom Expands for the Future [Kieran Timberlake]