Temple Israel set to start construction

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Construction will begin soon on a 1,200-square-foot addition at Temple Israel.

Temple Israel held a celebratory cocktail party on the grounds of the 1948 historic building on Northville Turnpike Thursday evening.

Congregants Barbara Smith, architect Robert Brown, Rabbi Bill Siemers and Diamond Builders president Richard Israel wielded shovels and tossed dirt on the side of the building where construction will begin on the 1,200-square-foot addition.

The addition will include a ‘Shabat’ elevator, which will make the building handicapped accessible and it’ll be an elevator thats operation conforms to Jewish law. In addition to the elevator, the restoration work will also include construction of a rabbi’s study and office as well as a handicapped accessible bathroom in the back of the building, Mr. Israel said.

[Click here for previous coverage and description of the ‘Shabat’ elevator].

The elevator will take people to a balcony that will be built on the upper floor, where they then walk or take a wheelchair to the front door, Mr. Israel said. The elevator also will go to the temple’s downstairs social hall, he said.

He had hoped that the addition would be completed by the high holy days in September, but there have been some delays, so now he said he hopes it will be completed before winter.

The temple’s congregation celebrated its 100th year last September, and the building itself was built in 1948. Prior to that, the congregation met in a building on the corner of East Avenue and Northville Turnpike, which is now used as a warehouse.