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Seismic Retrofit & Cemetery Endowment Receive $9.25 million

The sale of a commercial property on Geary Boulevard will enable Sherith Israel to begin the second phase of construction on the seismic retrofit in 2016. It will also ensure the viability of the Hills of Eternity cemetery’s endowment for generations to come.

Sherith Israel’s share—one-third of the sale price of the property at 5200 Geary housing Ross Dress for Less and Walgreens—amounted to $9.25 million. The Sherith Israel Board of Trustees and the Hills of Eternity cemetery board voted to allocate $5 million to the Seismic Retrofit Campaign for the second phase of construction. The boards also voted to retain the remainder of the proceeds for the cemetery’s endowment.

The new funds will enable Sherith Israel to jumpstart the second phase of our capital campaign to finish the seismic retrofit work we started in 2010, fulfilling the city’s mandate for us to do the work.

The additional $5 million means that the Seismic Retrofit Campaign has amassed more than $13 million of the $16 million needed. David Newman and Lynn Sedway, co-chairs of the campaign, point out that the proceeds from the sale put us in a strong position to reach out to outside donors and foundations, as well as our congregants, for the remaining $3 million.

Craig Etlin, co-chair of the buildings and grounds committee, anticipates that the final round of seismic work will take 10 to 12 months. “Much of the exterior work needs to be scheduled during the dry months, and we hope to have our new senior rabbi celebrate his or her first High Holy Days without disruption.”

The next phase focuses on putting buttresses along the north wall of the sanctuary building, adding ”outriggers” to the foundation for more stability and installing the innovative nitinol tension-tie system in the attic. We will also waterproof the dome and remove the last remnants of the salmon-colored paint that once covered the entire building. Finally, we will make accessibility upgrades, including an ADA-accessible restroom.

Fri, July 3 2020 11 Tammuz 5780