Rav Bar Oz* (From Strength to Strength)
Phase II: A Game Changer in the South Dade Jewish Community
by Rabbi Jeremy Barras
It has been quite an experience watching the construction month after month and seeing Phase I emerge out of the ground. Very soon our new school buildings will be complete, and Temple Beth Am will take a giant leap forward in its storied history. We have all been honored to be part of this breathtaking campaign to ensure the viability of our campus for generations to come. The purpose of Phase I and our new school has been pretty easy to explain. After all, everyone knows the purpose and mission of our school, and generally understands that as our world changes, the need to be technologically on the cutting edge of education is an imperative. But now that construction on our school is racing toward completion, it is time to unveil the exciting and game changing mission of Phase II.
In addition to having one of the finest Day Schools anywhere around the country, TBAM has a noted reputation for its innovative programming and beautiful campus. Phase II intends not only to maintain that reputation, but to enhance it dramatically. Just like Phase I, whose progress has been impressive and awe-inspiring, Phase II will add a stunning new structure that will include a new state-of-the-art gymnasium, performing arts center, café, social hall, youth wing, and more. No doubt it will service the needs of the myriad activities which already take place at TBAM every day.
But here is where Phase II will be unique: Phase II will be our very own version of the Jewish world. Each month we will have a different theme. Currently we host the incredible Miami Jewish Film Festival every January. In the future, we will host something every month. I foresee the day when we announce a schedule that looks like this: January is film month, February is music month, March is culinary month, April is Israel month, etc. Phase II will be our home for an explosion of Jewish culture and camaraderie. It will be a desired destination for Jewish entertainers, scholars, chefs, comedians, etc. for years to come.
It will be the place where congregants are streaming in and out of cultural events while basketball players and their families mingle before and after basketball games. It will be a place where you can meet a friend for dinner or a glass of wine, and then catch a Jewish movie or attend a concert. It will be a building that will sparkle and impress, but it will also be an outdoor “downtown square” equipped to host cultural and religious activity in ways never before imagined.
It will be the Jewish address in South Dade that will make Beth Am truly your home away from home. It will be a new way of imagining how synagogues operate and how we spend time together. It will be the next step forward that advances our Jewish community and makes South Dade one of the most significant Jewish locales in the country. And the best part is, it will be all yours to enjoy!
I cannot wait to share more details and plans with you as we progress, and I hope you will get just as excited as we are to enjoy this groundbreaking next step in the history of Temple Beth Am!
* The Barras family name was created during the Ellis Island Experience. Originally it was Bar Oz, meaning strength in Hebrew.