After almost 100 years at 2 Lake Street, Congregation Emanu-El has launched Emanu-El Next

Since the 1800’s, Emanu-El has been where we’ve educated our children, found sense of self and fostered a community.

Emanu-El Next will transform Emanu-El’s physical infrastructure, and build our endowment and our capacity to serve our sacred Jewish community. Our home, however, is in great need of repair and renovation. Our building was not designed to meet today’s seismic or security standards, nor does it welcome intimate gatherings or allow us to provide the kind of quality education we would like. 

What This Project Will Achieve

Our building is comprised of three elements – the Main Sanctuary, the Courtyard Wing and the Temple House. Congregation Emanu-El is proposing construction of a new Courtyard Wing within the existing Lake Street and Arguello façades, along with significant upgrades to the adjacent Temple House. This project provides an opportunity to address the seismic and safety needs of the Courtyard Wing, and to expand our ability to meet the strategic goal to be a welcoming, accessible home to all Jews throughout the Bay Area.  

Our Six Strategic Initiatives

To ensure the continuity of the congregation and the building, we have identified six strategic initiatives that will be met with this campaign. 

We have to prioritize safety and security improvements – a significant investment is necessary to address existing seismic challenges in the Courtyard Wing. Additional improvements will include new areas for both large gatherings and intimate interactions, from learning classrooms to areas of play. These spaces will facilitate life-cycle events and the improvement of one’s self through enlightened exchange. It’s time to move our place of worship and community into the 21st century with a cutting edge, functional, warm and safe haven open to all those looking to enrich their lives in the Jewish faith.

What's New With Emanu-El Next

Donor Spotlight: The Ehrlich Family - Oct 2022

In our fourteenth donor spotlight, Chris Ehrlich shares how our clergy and congregation helped his family through devastating times, reconnected them with Jewish life, and made them proud to be Jewish.

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Donor Spotlight: The Ehrlich Family - Oct 2022

Chris and Sara Ehrlich were non-practicing Jews when they came to California from the east coast in the early 2000s. When they sent their daughter, Charlotte, to a Catholic private school, she came home one day and told them that her friends were getting confirmed – and asked – could she get confirmed, too? They wanted her to know their roots, so they enrolled her in the Youth and Family Education program at Congregation Emanu-El. As Sara said, “Charlotte, it’s time that you learned who and what you are.”

It was fortuitous timing. Just weeks later her two year old brother, Campbell, passed away unexpectedly. The family found the temple to be an indispensable guide through that unspeakable trauma. “When our son died, we realized how fleeting life is,” says Chris. “It made us think of our legacy and how we wanted to make an impact.” It was a difficult way to find religion, but since then, the Ehrlichs have recommitted to Judaism and built strong ties to our congregation.

Chris grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, where his family essentially hid the fact they were Jewish, celebrating Christmas and Easter in lieu of the High Holidays. His father, a pediatric orthopedist, helped young kids walk. Chris remembers people approaching his dad when they went out to dinner, thanking him for helping their children. “I was impressed. And my dad told me: don’t go into medicine! It’s a terrible lifestyle tradeoff!”

Despite the warnings, Chris became a biotech strategy consultant, helping firms in Boston develop their business. The end users of the drugs they produced were doctors – some of whom were friends of his father – and Chris felt comfortable gathering feedback from them to improve his clients’ products. He was a successful consultant, but the biotech industry primarily exists on the east and west coast, and over time, Chris grew tired of the cold in Boston. He found himself dreaming of a new life in California. He put some feelers out and, on Memorial Day of 2000, got an interview for a dream job at Interwest, a venture capital firm. “I had a great life on the east coast, but I never looked back.”

Over a 30 year career in biotech, Chris and Sara got more and more involved in philanthropy. Passionate about oncology, they continue to support efforts that impose a business discipline around academic research to ensure life-saving products have a chance of reaching the market. Chris remarks that one of his proudest moments as an investor was helping bring a drug to market that his father, who had cancer, was able to take to extend his life span. They also give to the Rivers School in Weston, MA, to support internships for kids who want to explore summer jobs in biotech. Furthermore, they contribute to the cancer accelerator at Dartmouth college and the Healthcare program at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, both of which Chris and Sara attended.

“I think it’s really cool to see a gift actually help people,” Chris says. “To see students develop an interest in biotech and want to go off and contribute. To see a cancer drug reach the market and impact lives. And, in Emanu-El’s case, to build our community so it’s there in perpetuity.”

The Ehrlich family see their gift to Emanu-El as a lifelong investment. “You’re at your synagogue forever,” Chris says. As an institution that celebrates birth, observes death, and gathers people together constantly, he sees no other institution with as much longevity as his temple. “Make an investment at 30, and you’ll be around to see it when you’re 70.”

They see their gift to Emanu-El Next as just one piece among the many “co-owners” of the synagogue. “This is like an equity investment. We like the experiences we have and it makes us feel great, and we get to be part of it.  Contributing to make the institution what it deserves to be is a privilege.”

Of note, Sara and Chris are grateful to Rabbi Ryan Bauer for recruiting the family to go on a trip to Israel years ago, where they had a cathartic, life changing time and made friends with whom they still keep in touch and, in fact, travel internationally every year.  They also appreciates the effort Emanu-El, particularly Julie Weinberg, have made to host events in support of Emanu-El Next. They thank our congregation for bringing the family back to Judaism. Says Chris, “Emanu-El got me through losing my son, my mother and my father. I’m eternally grateful. They make me and my family proud to be Jewish.”

Perhaps even more interesting, their kids have embraced Judaism in a way they would never have dreamed. When their son, Harrison, came back from Maccabi Camp, he told the family he wanted to wear a necklace with the Jewish star to represent his religion proudly. When his daughter, Charlotte, was bat-mitzvahed at our temple, she wanted to come back to teach in the YFE program, where she found a community of teachers, kids and their families. “As someone who went to a Catholic school where I felt like an outsider, Emanu-El was the first place I would call home,” Charlotte says. “I love it. I know some people say they don’t want to go to church, but I’m always excited to go to temple for the high holidays.”

“Emanu-El Next will make our synagogue even more interesting and relevant to people today,” Chris says. “But it’s not just about making a nice place that people want to go to. When people get in the door, it gives them the opportunity to discover the substantive meaning of Judaism on their own.”


(From left to right): Sara, Charlotte, Chris and Harrison Ehrlich.


To participate, please contact Julie Weinberg, Director of Development, at: [email protected] or 415 750 7557.
Or make a generous contribution today by clicking the following link to our Donation page!
This article appeared in an October edition of The Emanu-El Chronicle.
Project Update - Sept 2022

With groundbreaking anticipated to begin in June 2023, we are laying the foundation for a transformed Emanu-El that better serves our collective Jewish community—from the oldest member to the youngest—while adapting to a changing world.

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Project Update - Sept 2022

Emanu-El has continued to make wonderful strides in the transformational Emanu-El Next project. We are grateful for our community’s dedication to building a bright future for our congregation.

With groundbreaking anticipated to begin in June 2023, we are working to ensure the least impact on services and congregational life as possible, including arrangements for off-site locations for preschool and religious school. We are on track to complete the Design Development phase this fall/winter. And we are navigating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, assessing the environmental effects of our construction plans. This represents one of the last major steps in completing the entitlements process and gaining the approvals we need to enter the construction phase.

A key upcoming aspect is the public comments period, in which community members will have the opportunity to raise any concerns or objections to the project. Emanu-El is committed to being a good neighbor and involving the broader community—that’s why we’re planning a new round of outreach and additional town halls this fall.

We have been blessed with widespread support from every part of the Emanu-El community of individuals, families, and institutions who have contributed to this campaign. While we achieved our initial fundraising milestone, we continue to seek additional funds to help with the unforeseen costs to the project that have resulted due to COVID-19, supply chain issues and inflation.

We are laying the foundation for a transformed Emanu-El that better serves our collective Jewish community—from the oldest member to the youngest—while adapting to a changing world. Thank you for being part of this sacred journey.

To participate, please contact Julie Weinberg, Director of Development, at: [email protected] or 415 750 7557.
Or make a generous contribution today by clicking the following link to our Donation page!
This article appeared in a September edition of The Emanu-El Chronicle.
Donor Spotlight: Myrna & Stuart Aronoff - June 2022

In our thirteenth donor spotlight, Myrna and Stuart Aronoff talk about the joys of generosity, their gratitude for the Jewish community, and their pride in the strides the congregation has taken to adapt to our ever changing world.

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Donor Spotlight: Myrna & Stuart Aronoff - June 2022

Myrna and Stuart Aronoff sit side-by-side in their home immersed in abstract works of art. They talk of the cities they’ve lived in, the projects they’ve accomplished, and the insights they’ve learned along the way. Supporters of Emanu-El Next, they view their contribution as a gift to the younger generations who will succeed them. “I believe in giving when your hand is warm, not cold,” Myrna says with a forthcoming smile. “We should be generous while we’re alive – while we can see the happiness it brings others.”

The Aronoffs have lived in San Francisco since 1980. Stuart became Treasurer of Emanu-El in 1991 during our congregation’s last major capital project before Emanu-El Next – the renovation of the Temple House. Over the course of his service, he introduced a new dues structure to reestablish Emanu-El’s firm financial footing by the late 90s. He also instituted the consolidation of the Home of Peace and Hills of Eternity Cemetery operations.

With humility in his voice, Stuart tells the story of an unprecedented speech he made from the Bimah during Rosh Hashanah in the days when, “no one ever talked about money during the high holy days.” He told our congregation: “Now is the time to give. Shrouds don’t have pockets, and we should be generous while we live.” He remembers how some had considered it a heretic remark. But Stuart understood the urgency of the campaign and stepped up to institute change. As he reflects on the years he’s been with Emanu-El, he takes pride in the strides the congregation has taken to adapt to our ever changing world.

Myrna shares her husband’s fortitude and strong Jewish identity. She grew up in Springfield, New Jersey, always knowing she’d marry somebody Jewish, and when her children were born they would be members of a synagogue and follow in the Jewish tradition. Stuart’s father was the oldest (at 94) serving head usher at Temple Emanu-El in Beverly Hills. Stuart was bar mitzvahed there, graduated from UC Berkeley in 1954 (where he was president of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu). He then went into the army for two years and pursued a twelve-year IBM career.

Myrna and Stuart married in 1967 in New Jersey. Myrna was a very independent person and traveled before she got married. She feels that Stuart supported her wholeheartedly in her independence throughout their marriage, which was especially meaningful to her at a time when not many women were in her position.

In 1969 they moved to Los Angeles where their first son Alan was born. There, Myrna got to know Stuart’s family – the Aronoffs and the Dillers. “It was lovely to come to LA and have all these cousins because I’m a very family minded person,” Myrna says. The couple had their second son, Todd, in 1971, and Stuart again moved the growing family in 1972 to their next stop: London. Myrna remembers with great fondness the nine years they spent there, where they became members of West London Synagogue, grew close with the Jewish community and volunteered with the Joint Israel Appeal.

The Aronoffs came to San Francisco in 1980 when Stuart was appointed executive vice president of Booth Financial, a computer leasing company. They made new friends, found a home and adorned it with marvelous collections of glass and abstract art. To Myrna, art is a passion. She lives immersed with it and shares it with her children, family and friends. Her passion for collecting art, and the feeling of serenity it brings her, has only grown with time.

Early on in their years in the Bay, they toured synagogues to find their Jewish home. When they visited Emanu-El, the couple received what Myrna calls an unbelievably warm reception from Rabbi Asher. They joined our congregation, both their boys were bar mitzvahed here, and Stuart became deeply involved.

“I believe that being Jewish comforts who you are and helps you strengthen your community,” Stuart says. Over the years, he’s been on the board of the JCCSF, the Jewish Community Federation, the President of the Northern Division of Israeli Bonds, and Board President at Congregation Emanu-El. Knowing that he could provide in his small way a prolonging of the Jewish tradition has always meant a lot to him. He thinks synagogues have to be on the forefront of community involvement, and to do so, they have to be realistic about the circumstances of modern society. “It’s our ability to adapt to everyday life and consider new ideas that makes us relevant,” he says. To that end, Stuart believes Congregation Emanu-El has excelled through the years.

Myrna’s involvement with Jewish fundraising has been an important factor of her life. She got involved in 1981 and was campaign chair for the San Francisco Women’s Division and held various other positions in numerous Jewish organizations. She was also on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Her life has been fulfilling, and she has felt a part of the San Francisco Jewish community.

“You have to keep moving forward,” Stuart says. “Whether it’s physically, financially or philosophically. And that takes effort and intensity.” Stuart asserts that the continuity of Jewish life depends on young families. He brings up the Emanu-El Next initiative to upgrade our religious school as an important example of how the temple is moving forward by giving young families the spiritual, yet modern, education their children need in order to continue to cultivate a vibrant Jewish community.

“Thanks to our community’s generosity, Emanu-El will be here for years to come,” Myrna says, proud of the part that she and Stuart have played in helping give long life to our temple. Myrna and Stuart say that Jews hold hands around the world. Wherever they are, they hold hands and think about one another. “This is our way of holding hands with the next generation.”


To participate, please contact Julie Weinberg, Director of Development, at: [email protected] or 415 750 7557.
Or make a generous contribution today by clicking the following link to our Donation page!
This article appeared in a June edition of The Emanu-El Chronicle.
Show more Updates

Our Impact Over Time

  • 1906
  • 1920s
  • 1963
  • 1969 - 1989
  • 1985
  • 1995
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 1900
  • 1920
  • 1940
  • 1960
  • 1980
  • 2000

San Francisco Earthquake Recovery Efforts

Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger led recovery efforts through instituting an ad hoc ambulance system and spearheading hunger relief and housing programs for the homeless and others suffering due to the disaster.  

An Opportunity to Serve

Building on the history of community service, Emanu-El women volunteered to sew bandages for local hospital patients.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Addresses our Congregation

Committed to racial justice, Rabbi Alvin Fine invited the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to address Congregation Emanu-El as he led our nation in the struggle for civil rights. Emanu-El continues to partner with a diverse coalition of local and national organizations in the pursuit of social justice.

Soviet Jews Welcomed

Congregation Emanu-El’s members organized efforts that advocated for persecuted Soviet Jews to emigrate to the United States to find religious freedom and economic opportunity. The congregation continues to support efforts for international human rights.

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic

At a time when mainstream religious groups avoided confronting the HIV/AIDS crisis, Emanu-El clergy addressed the issue through bold sermons and activated the community to respond by raising funds for the Shanti Project. Throughout the 1980s, Emanu-El developed initiatives to respond to the AIDS crisis and combat pervasive homophobia. 

Protecting the Redwoods

Rabbi Stephen Pearce viewed halting the clear-cutting of the redwood ecosystem as our moral obligation. Here, Rabbi Pearce’s effort to protect something larger than Emanu-El is carried out by joining with interfaith leaders and environmentalists to save Northern California’s treasured forests.

Standing Up Against Hate

When white nationalist hate groups announced their intention to demonstrate in San Francisco, Emanu-El hosted the city-wide Interfaith Gathering Against Hate. Emanu-El works in coalition with local civic and religious organizations dedicated to strengthening our democracy and promoting the civil rights of all people. Photo courtesy of Laura Paull for J. The Jewish News of Northern California.

Confronting the San Francisco Housing Crisis

Congregants conduct food, supply and clothing drives to benefit homeless youth at Larkin Street Youth Services. In 2018, Emanu-El partnered with city and business leaders to launch Heading Home, a $30 million initiative to transition 800 homeless families into permanent housing. 

Driven by the core Jewish belief of tikkun olam, to make the world a better place, Emanu-El has a long history of deep involvement in the local community. 

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

After almost 100 years at 2 Lake Street, Congregation Emanu-El is proposing construction of a new Courtyard Wing within the existing Lake Street and Arguello façades, along with significant upgrades to the adjacent Temple House. This project provides an opportunity to address seismic and safety needs of the Courtyard Wing and to expand the ability to meet the strategic goal to be a welcoming, accessible home to all Jews throughout the Bay Area.

To ensure the continuity of the congregation and the building we have identified six strategic initiatives that will be met with this campaign:

  1. Safe, Secure and Sustainable
  2. Welcoming
  3. Small Gatherings and Intimate Spaces
  4. Joyous Celebrations
  5. State-of-the-Art Education
  6. Financial Accessibility

The project will add approximately 20,000 square feet of usable space, predominantly in the Courtyard Wing, with approximately 2,400 square feet (of the 20,000 square feet) added to the Temple House.  

In order to achieve its six strategic initiatives, Emanu-El is undertaking the Emanu-El Next project. The various components of Emanu-El Next include construction of a new Courtyard Wing within the existing Lake Street and Arguello façade, significant upgrades to the Temple House, and a campaign to fund both the hard and soft costs of this construction and increase the size of the endowment.

This investment will transform Emanu-El both with respect to its physical infrastructure and its capacity to serve the community. Guiding these efforts are six initiatives that capture our vision for Emanu-El Next:

Safe, Secure and Sustainable: Emanu-El Next will invest in modernizing and upgrading the Courtyard Wing to today’s seismic standards. The temple will also be redesigned to incorporate best practices in security, with one entrance with multiple layers of security, the perimeter of the building entirely secured, and the children’s play area relocated to the top floor. The original building was designed to be open and accessible in a period very unlike today, when security practices are absolutely necessary.

Warm and Welcoming: Emanu-El Next will restore the original entrance from Lake Street with an inviting welcome center that leads into a light-filled courtyard that draws focus toward the Main Sanctuary. The Courtyard Wing will be bustling with people making friends, taking classes and engaging with the community. This welcoming ethos will be incorporated into the entire building, with a design focused on fostering engagement and accessibility to meet the needs of all community members.

Small Gatherings and Intimate Spaces: Emanu-El’s current building is packed beyond capacity, with more than 1,100 programs taking place annually, students studying in stairwells, and adult education courses being held in classrooms designed for children. With this transformation, Emanu-El will become the perfect destination to enjoy small, intimate gatherings through the creation of new, flexible spaces such as a lounge, the Jewish Experience Lab, classrooms with modern technology, and small conference rooms.

Joyous Celebrations: Emanu-El Next will focus on renovating and updating Guild Hall to serve as its premier event location. While Guild Hall has many built-in advantages, it is not currently set up to meet the needs of congregants who want to celebrate milestones and simchas surrounded by family and friends. We will update the space to bring in more natural light, provide a more central entrance, add modern amenities and create greater flexibility to allow for multiple events at the same time. The space will pay tribute to our beloved building’s history and be available year-round for B’nei Mitzvah, parties, weddings, and other life-affirming events. The renovated space will also allow Emanu-El to make more room available for our community partners, such as those working in the social justice sector.

State-of-the-Art Education: Education is central to Jewish practice and a core value for Emanu-El. Yet our classrooms are undersized, outdated, and without modern technology. In Emanu-El Next, classrooms will be designed to correspond with best practices in modern educational approaches – larger rooms with more open space that allow for collaborative activities and experiential learning, outside environments for learning and play (such as gardens), and integrated technological infrastructure.

Financial Accessibility: A crucial part of the Emanu-El Next project is to make a significant investment in our reserves and endowment. The future of Emanu-El is dependent on our ability to welcome all Jews looking to practice and explore Judaism regardless of their economic circumstances. We currently offer membership to anyone who would like to join, and we need additional resources to sustain this model. Simply raising our dues and fees to match rising expenses would make it too difficult for many of our members to actively participate in Jewish life. The increase in our endowment will help secure a future with a vibrant membership from diverse backgrounds and ensure there are sufficient resources to maintain our beautiful new home and provide a wide range of high-quality programs and services.

Construction will start depending on approvals from the City and funding for the project. Given the necessary City approvals, we anticipate construction to start sometime in 2023. 

Our intention is to carry out the proposed improvements as one project. We are seeking approvals that would give us flexibility to build the project as one phase, or should it become necessary, two. If it were to become a two-phase project, the Courtyard Wing would likely precede the Temple House changes, although the order could be reversed. 

While existing programs will likely continue, we do anticipate the new spaces will allow new programming as a result of the enhancements created by improved facilities and finances. Some examples include:

  • The Jewish Experience Lab – an innovation lab to allow for Jewish experiential learning through creation and collaboration
  • Community Empowerment Zone – new and updated Emanu-El Next space allows for more collaboration with community organizations
  • New Welcome Center – provides interactive information about what’s going on at Emanu-El
  • Café Emanu-El – a place to relax, gather and look at the latest in Jewish media
  • The Jewish Meditation Place – for meditation, Yiddish yoga, etc.
  • Small Gathering Spaces – will allow us to focus on learning groups, providing engagement for adults without children
  • Emanu-El Next Beit Midrash – the library reimagined, with texts available in book form and tablets

We are designing and budgeting for enhanced security measures at the entry and throughout the building, and to maintain on-going staff.

Security is a top priority, although it needs to be balanced against our desire to welcome our congregants. The renovation plans have been reviewed with a security firm, and we will continue consulting with them on an ongoing basis.

We do not believe it is in our community’s best interest to specify the security improvements, except to say that our protocols have been adjusted in light of recent events and will continue to be reviewed and reconsidered as additional information becomes available. We ask for our congregants’ understanding and patience in the event they are inconvenienced as a result of our enhanced security protocols.

During construction, the contractor will have a site safety plan in place to address access as well as the impact from construction. There will be a designated site safety contact who can be reached at any time.

The project will include renovation or new construction of approximately 72,000 sq.ft. total within the new Courtyard Wing and renovated Temple House.

After construction, the net increase in square feet is only about 20,000 square feet more than the total amount of square feet that exists today. The net increase in space is located predominantly in the Courtyard Wing, but about 2,400 (of the 20,000) square feet is new space added to the Temple House by way of a new dormer. 

The Temple was built before the existing 40 ft. height limit was put in place and you can see that the dome and the Temple House exceed the 40 ft. limit. The additional floor and rooftop play yard on top of the new Courtyard Wing will be higher than the existing Courtyard structure, but it will still be significantly lower than the top of the Temple House. The new dormer on the Temple House will also exceed 40 ft. but it, too, will be lower than the existing highest points of the Temple House.

The exterior footprint is not increasing.

Gould Evans is the master plan architect and completed the master plan in 2017. Mark Cavagnero Associates is the design architect.

We are relocating the preschool play area to the rooftop to achieve a higher degree of safety and security.

There will be some additional minimal programming on the rooftop, mostly during the daytime, such as the annual Sukkot celebration.

We are not anticipating increased enrollment above the 123 we are currently licensed for, but as we have in the past, we will continue to experience annual enrollment fluctuations. 

We will be working with a transportation consultant and civil engineer to create a new drop-off location along the reinstated original entry on Lake Street.

Bollards will be added along Lake Street for safety.

Efforts will be made to leave existing vegetation along Lake Street and Arguello. 

While there may be less expensive approaches to address only seismic and security needs, this is an opportunity to reposition Congregation Emanu-El with a safe and welcoming facility that meets its programmatic needs of the next century. Addressing the seismic and security needs does affect significant portions of the building, so this would be the most efficient time to also make other improvements that meet Emanu-El’s strategic goals, such as creating welcoming space for large and small gatherings and ensuring long-term financial accessibility.

Youth and Family Education will benefit from upgraded facilities throughout the Temple House and new facilities surrounding the Courtyard Wing. All classrooms will receive technology upgrades. The modernized spaces, along with innovations in curriculum, will improve the overall YFE experience.

The projected cost of the project is $79M all-in with an $18M endowment campaign (for a total of $97M). This includes hard construction costs, design costs (architects, engineers), project management, permits, fundraising and financing, relocation, contingency and an endowment. 

The primary cost of the project will be covered by broad support from the Emanu-El community, but we are also looking to several foundations. We are relying on contributions to the Emanu-El Next campaign, not increased dues.

The Board approves all investment-related policies. The Investment Subcommittee of the Finance Committee is charged with oversight of the management of the endowment and for directing the CFAO (Chief Financial and Administrative Officer) relative to investment activity.

We are relying on donor contributions to the Emanu-El Next campaign, not increased dues, to pay for the project.

The only planned increase to membership dues is the annual increase we would have anticipated independent of the building project. Membership dues typically increase annually to cover increases in operating costs (staff, utilities, program innovation). The increased endowment will help us keep dues increases to a customary level, which have been under 3% over the past several years.  

We are increasing the endowment by $18 million, and the resulting increased interest from the endowment, together with our on-going annual revenues, will more than meet the need for any increased maintenance costs. We have already received contributions that can be used for this purpose only.

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted Emanu-El’s normal income stream in dues, giving, and fees, particularly school fees, and will likely do so even more over the next fiscal year. Emanu-El made the decision to keep our team, including our full clergy team, administrators, our incredible pre-school and YFE teachers and the maintenance staff who has served us so well over the decades. In order to do so, we applied for and were approved for an SBA Payroll Protection Program loan. We likely would have been forced into other decisions without the PPP loan.

Our PPP loan was approved by the bank and the SBA, and will be carefully used according to the program’s guidelines. We are grateful we were able to secure approval due to the incredible efforts of several senior staff and volunteers on our finance committee. Our approval also took a little luck, as funds were claimed quickly and not all who were eligible were able to secure funding. This left many worthy non-profits in a situation where they did not receive funding through no fault of their own. We asked our congressional representatives to pass additional funding measures and are encouraged that Congress has done so.

As always, we have been a community partner and continue to focus our efforts on serving our congregation and the broader community by ensuring other worthy non-profits obtain the help they need.

Emanu-El will go through a qualification and proposal process to select a general contractor with experience building projects of similar scope and scale.

We anticipate construction to last approximately 22 months. But we believe that work in the Temple House, which includes the Martin Meyer Sanctuary, will be completed in 12-15 months (one school year) allowing that building to come back on line more quickly. 

We are working very hard to minimize disruption from construction.

Based on the experience of other synagogues during construction, we do not anticipate that members will leave as a result of the project, though our membership is constantly fluctuating due to people moving in and out of the area and changing family needs.

There will not be any pile driving. There will be other noise generated from construction activities such as noise from demolition, excavation, concrete, steel, and building enclosure work. The contractor will be required to follow City regulations regarding any noise-generating activity.

The City of San Francisco allows construction from 7 am – 8 pm seven days a week, including holidays.

We do not anticipate regular weekend construction, although there may be certain activities that occasionally need to be scheduled on the weekend. These will be coordinated in advance with Emanu-El staff, and notice will be provided to congregants and neighbors of any disruption to regular activities. Typically construction will occur on weekdays between 7 am – 4 pm. 

The contractor will be required to follow City-mandated protocols for noise, dust and vibration – all of which will be monitored during construction through a construction management plan, the details of which will be provided closer to construction.

We will conduct an extensive outreach process, will designate a single point of contact for neighbors to contact, and provide updates on our website.

We will not be shutting down the preschool.

We anticipate needing to move the preschool to an alternate location for one year.

We have a team, including the preschool director, which is working on identifying potential locations for the preschool during construction.

We will minimize the impact to Bar and Bat Mitzvah scheduling to the extent possible by scheduling as much work as possible in the summertime. The Main Sanctuary will remain available for B’nei Mitzvah throughout construction.

The contractor will likely need to use the parking lane along Arguello and/or Lake Street for work in the sidewalk/street and for deliveries. They will coordinate safe drop-off access to the Main Sanctuary as needed for on-going programming and events, to be more fully described in the construction management plan. 

Congregation Emanu-El will require its contractor to provide off-site parking for its workers and to encourage them to use public transportation to reach the site, the details of which will be more fully developed in the construction management plan. All-day paid parking is available in the Presidio.

The contractor will follow City requirements to minimizethe impact to neighborhood parking and will use traffic controllers when there are large deliveries. 

Emanu-El Next Supporters

We would like to thank our generous donors for making Emanu-El Next a reality. We have always been a place for people who are not afraid to dream and build for the future of San Francisco, and we are proud to see how our community has embraced this bold new vision. Thank you for your generosity to our campaign, your dedication to our congregation and your strong belief in its future!
$10,000,000 - $25,000,000
Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund 
$7,500,000 - $9,999,999
Koret Foundation
$5,000,000 - $7,499,999
The Helen Diller Foundation 
Janie & Donny** Friend/The Friend Family Philanthropic Fund 
$2,000,000 - $4,999,999
Nellie & Max Levchin 
Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston Levin z"l/The Shenson Foundation 
John Pritzker Family Fund 
Leesa* & Martin Romo 
Leah & Benjamin Spero 
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999
Mem Bernstein, Suzanne & Elliott Felson, Jennifer & Tony Smorgon 
Dianne Feinstein & Richard Blum z"l
Chara Schreyer & Gordon Freund
Marcia & John Goldman 
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation 
Hellman Foundation 
Maribelle** & Stephen Leavitt 
Julie* & David Levine 
Estate of Yvonne Levy 
Moldaw Family 
Deborah & Kenneth Novack 
The Pincus Family
Barbara & Richard** Rosenberg 
Christine Russell & Mark Schlesinger**/Gaia Fund 
Nicole Shanahan
Shorenstein Family 
Lisa Stone Pritzker Family Foundation 
$500,000 - $999,999
Susan & Mitchell** Cohen 
Josh & Jaime Cohen
Marissa & Stuart** Corvin 
Fisher and Feigenbaum Families  
Paulette Meyer & David Friedman 
Karen Pell & Heather Lupa 
Laurie & Josh Olshansky 
Richard & Roselyne** Chroman Swig Family
Kirsten Wolberg 
Zeff Family  
$250,000 - $499,999
Pam & Larry Baer 
Nancy z"l & Joachim Bechtle
Jennifer Chaiken & Sam Hamilton
Adele Corvin** 
Rebecca Arons & Eric Fastiff
Jill, Jeff & Ashton Finegold 
The Kowal Family
Kerri & Mark* Lehmann 
Jan & Robert* Newman 
Susan E. Lowenberg & Joyce G. Newstat
Gary Schnitzer & Sandra Wilder
Richard Segal & Dorothy Connelly Segal
Dana & Gary** Shapiro 
Todd Sisitsky & Holly Hagens
Lisa & Brian Sugar 
Mary & Steven Swig
Valli Benesch & Robert Tandler* 
Taube Foundation For Jewish Life & Culture  
Ingrid D. Tauber** & Frank Taforo/The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation 
Dana Corvin** & Harris Weinberg 
Carey & Noah* Wintroub 
$100,000 - $249,999
Matt** & Amy Berler
Dana** & Robert* Blum 
Leela de Souza Bransten & Peter Bransten
Stephanie & Mark Breitbard 
Steven J. Cohen** 
Tria & Barrett* Cohn 
Jeanne Dinkelspiel
Steven** & Pamela Rose Dinkelspiel 
Susan & David Dossetter 
Sara & Christopher Ehrlich 
Jessica & Michael Eisler
John & Sarah Esterkyn 
Bunny & Steven Fayne 
H. Michael Feldman & Christine Glastonbury
Ellen* & William Fleishhacker 
Claire & Jeff Fluhr 
Jonathan & Kimberly Garfinkel
Michelle Mercer & Bruce Golden 
Golubchik Family
Claude Gruen 
Marsha** & Ralph Guggenheim 
Mimi and Peter Haas Fund
Maurine & Philip Halperin/Silver Giving Foundation 
Lorie & Ron Hirson
Jon Holman* & Diana Grand
Sarah & Jordan Hymowitz 
Barbara** & Ron Kaufman 
Debbie & Scott Kay
Wendy Kesser
Cathy & Jim Koshland 
Marla Miller & David Kremer 
Lisa & Brian Krim 
Rhiana & Theodore Maidenberg 
Jamie & Mark Myers 
Eleanor Myers 
Sheryl & James Reuben 
Susan & Alan Rothenberg 
Dr Krista Ramonas and Gordon Rubenstein
Kimberly & Dan Sanner
Maya & Ned Segal 
Sheri & Paul Siegel 
Janni Lehrer-Stein & Leonard** Stein
Darian, Rick**, Adam & Benjamin Swig Family 
Gunda Trepp* 
Rory & Jamie Weinstein 
Audra & Jim Weiss 
Hilary Zarrow* 
Mr. & Mrs. Naftali Zisman 
$50,000 - $99,999
Jennifer, Jared, Lily Battat
The Blatt Family Foundation 
Alla Gershberg & Dale Boutiette** 
Anthony Brenner 
Libi Cape
Larry & Kimberlee Colvin
Robert & Randi Fields
Robert Friedman
Andrew & Cynthia Friedman
Susan & David Golden
Angela Lin & David Goldman** 
Susie & Alan* Greinetz 
Irina & Sasha** Kovriga 
Cheryl Frank & Michael Linn 
Melanie & Peter** z"l Maier
Eve & Harvey z”l Masonek  
Laurie & Joel* Roos 
Julie Goldman & Bob Rosner 
William & Alice Russell-Shapiro
Charlene & Bart Schachter 
Jake Schatz & Katie Albright
Susan Diamond* & Martin Schenker 
Sally & Jim** Shapiro 
Rabbis Beth & Jonathan Singer 
Vera & Harold** Stein 
Sara & Don** Sweet
Esta, David & Howard Swig Family  
Wendy Tonkin & Family
William Witte & Patricia Sakamoto
$25,000 - $49,999
Anonymous (3)
Allison & Ron Abta
Myrna & Stuart** Aronoff 
Alisa Arquilevich & Rabbi Ryan Bauer 
Lenore Naxon, Bill & Ilana Black 
Elyse Salven-Blatt 
Jeffrey Bornstein & David Bornstein  
The Burrows Family
Charles** & Margaret Charnas
Kevin & Christine Chessen
Frances Dinkelspiel  
Sandra & Conrad Donner 
Betsy & Roy Eisenhardt 
Howard & Carol Fine
Frankel Family Foundation  
Lisa Zuckerman Gamshad & Mohsen Gamshad 
The Goozh Family
Kelly & Mike Halper 
Lynn Altshuler & Stanley Herzstein 
Tali Rapaport & Nick Josefowitz 
Dorothea & Kevin Kaz 
Susan L Rothstein & John Koeppel
Sharonjean & Richard Leeds
Meredith & Erez Levy
Libitzky Family Foundation
Howard & Siesel Maibach
Susan May 
Rabbi Sydney Mintz & Family 
Laura Myers
Richard & Carol** Nathan
Bernard** & Gail Nebenzahl
Mark & Susan Oscherwitz  
Nelli & Kevin Perkins
Erica & Ben Portnoy
Gunilla Haegerström-Portnoy and Robert Portnoy
Maxine & Justin Raphael  
Toby & Sally Rosenblatt 
Sandra Bragar** & Jerome Rossen 
Marcia & Stephen Ruben 
Betty & Jack Schafer
Harmon & Jorun Shragge
Barbara Shragge 
Gayle & Eric Starr 
Jaimie Sanford & Ted Storey**   
Mark A. Sugarman 
Lauren & Matthew* Van Horn
Steve & Aimee West
Michael Zwibelman
$10,000 - $24,999
Lorna & Stanley O. z”l Altshuler
Anita Barzman, MD 
Cathy & Lance Bayer
Eileen & Nersi* Boussina 
Shelley Bransten and Ethan & Elliot Perelmuter
Susan & Richard Colsky
Andy** & Suzy Colvin 
Joshua & Jackie Endler
Michael Engle & Amy Saper
Ellen A. Friedman
Stan & Stephanie Garber 
Gretchen & Robert Kahn Gardner  
Kate Ditzler & Stuart Gasner
Meredith Goldsmith 
Julia Vetromile & David Goldstein
Alia* & Travis Gorkin, Caryn & Steven Wechsler 
Gary & Judy Grossman
Susen Grossman
Marcy Lynn & David Hershenson 
Joshua Kazdin
Terry Kraus 
Ann Blumlein Lazarus** & Jim Lazarus 
Robert & Alexandra Leitstein
Michael Lesh & Ann Kao
Roger Low** 
Gregg Lynn & Glenn Risso
Rachel Melman** 
Pamela Mann** & Mark Miller
Maxwell z"l & Elaine Myers
Cynthia Ostroff  
Alexander & Sarah Papoff
Laurie & Rabbi Stephen Pearce 
Dave & Gina Pell
Martin Robinson
Francis Benjamin & Rabbi Jason Rodich  
Anne & Martin Roher 
Betsy Blumenthal & Jonathan Root  
Samuel & Brigitte Saks
Sue Ann Levin Schiff
Adam & Hilary Seligman  
Dore' Selix-Gabby  
German & Cynthia Shegalov
Silver Yolles Family
Ruth Stein
Carey Lifschultz & David Stiepleman
Marjorie Swig
Marsha & David Veit 
Marilyn & Murry z"l Waldman 
Wartell Family
Caroline Kahn Werboff** & Larry Werboff 
Wiltsek Family
Jill Einstein** & Peter Yolles 
Paul Zarefsky** 
$5,000 - $9,999
Anonymous (3)
Cantor Marsha Attie
Cantor Roslyn Barak 
Ron Blatman** & Emerald Yeh  
Bari & Sean Cessna
Andy & Melissa Cohen
Eric Cohen & Patricia Moncada 
Erika** & Dovid Coplon 
Sarah & Clive Downie
Debra & Stuart Eisendrath 
Mac Esters 
Lara Ettenson**
Alexandra & Samuel Fell 
Zachary & Rachel Felson
Craig & Marina Greenwood
Stefanie & Chris Gross
Gary Grossman & Michelle Sintov
Louis & Cheryl Haas
Susan Hirsch & Susan Leal
Katie Morris & Joshua Hoffman
Salima Taplin & Matthew Jacobson
Lisa & Jed Katz
Ellen Klutznick
Dara Friedman & Robert Kostow 
Allan Lerch
Cantor Arik & Rachel Luck
Jeff Magnin 
David Melnick
Susan Morris
David Nelson & Inna Gartsman
Paula Pretlow* 
Oren Henry & David Rak
Lila S. Rich**
Lee-Lan Yip & Dale Rogers 
John & Ellen Rothmann
William & Renee Rothmann
Francis Scarpulla 
Peter & Judith May Schumacher
Rita Semel* 
Karen Hall & Steve Sherr
Charles & Shabana Siegel 
Kira & Marc Steifman
Susan Swig  
Katie & Brian Taylor
Tracy Tilin McKendell 
Julie Weinberg 
Lisa Stern* & Rebecca Wolff 
$3,600 - $4,999
Anonymous (5)
Denise Aptekar
Terezie & Norman z"l Bohrer
Steven & Jenna Feinberg 
The Felsenthal Family 
John & Dena Gardi
Elena Gary 
Norman** Gordon
Susan G. Hootkins
Robert & Ellen Jasper
Ronald Kahn & Julia Rowe  
Ronald & Eva Lackenbacher
Lois & Douglas Lawrence  
Kenneth D. Laxer, MD
The Lent Family
Norton/Lisker Family
Claude Lowen
Juliet Sampson & Simon Mays-Smith
Jeanne E. Newman 
Abigail** & Jason Porth 
Jessica Dines & Ivan Resnikoff
Susie & Denis Roy 
Murray z"l & Marcia Schneider
Eric Shapiro & Leora Goren
Tim Stuebbe & Motty Pavlovsky
Charlene Tuchman z"l
Larry Wolf
$1,800 - $3,599
Anonymous (8)
Camille Angel & Wendy Brummer & Lilah Segal-Angel
Rabbi Allen B. Bennett
Carol & David Berluti
Anne & Matthew Bertenthal 
Peter & Isabel Blumberg 
Abigail Brenner, M.D.
The Buchler Family  
Rachel & Scott Burger 
Ruth DeHovitz
Billy & Jessica Deitch 
Joan Withers Dinner 
Betty Dvorson
Estoque Family
Nancie & Sandy Garfinkel 
Elizabeth Goldbaum 
Alexandra & Steven Gordon  
Marjory Kaplan & Dan Granoff 
Linda Gerard & Daniel Grossman
Andrew Heller  
Karen Hindin and Abby and Sam Pasternak
Roberta Cohen Holden & Rusty Holden
Jerry & Marilyn Jacobson
Susan Friedman & Michelle Jean
Leslie Karren
Allyson & Matt Kaufman
Jennifer & Peter Keith
Roberta Keller  
Trela Caler & Lexy Loewenstein
Natalie Sacks & John MacGregor
The Maidman Family
Lisa & Alex Mann
Jeanne Miller 
Frana Price & Rick Ohlrich 
Patricia & Charles Ortenberg
Meta Pasternak
Erica & Dana Rabb 
Morton Rivo
Alanna Klein & Gregory Robin 
Kelly Jane & Alexander Rosenblatt 
Amy M. Ross 
Cathy Manshel & Bill Rusitzky
Katherine Salazar-Poss & Antonio Salazar-Hobson
Ed Segal & Lynne Newhouse Segal
Ingeborg Ruth Manber, Helen Manber & Bradley Solomon
Robin & Geoffrey Strawbridge
Chloe & Mark Sugarman 
Holli Thier 
Leslie Tyler 
Joanne & Alan Vidinsky
Albert Villa
Howard & Diane Winer
$1 - $1,799
Anonymous (27)
Amy & Harish Abbott
Audrey Adelson
Alexander & Tracy Akin  
The Alban Family 
Anjali Alban, Jake & Lily Gosline 
The Albucher Family  
Paulette Aroesty
Stephanie & Milton Assang
Bailin Family
Dr. Scott Barshack & Lana Nguyen
Eileen & Ralph Battat 
Asa Bauer
Rosyland & Bob Bauer
Paula & Carl Baum 
Bay Area Single Jewish Parents Meetup
Lisa Berg 
Winifred Berman
Richard & Kathleen Bilella 
Lenore & Charles Bleadon 
Carol & Gene Block
Robert & Claudia Bluhm  
Michael & Patricia Blumenthal
Jared & Kimberly Boigon
Joseph Breall
Marilyn & Marvin z"l Brenner
Robin Breuner
Nancy Brody 
Ali & Michael Brody 
Stan & Julia Bromley
Jeffrey Brown  
Trudy & Joseph Burger
Steven Burrows 
Sherry Scherotter-Burwen & Michael Burwen 
Nancy & Robert Cappelloni
Lynne Carberry 
Ivor & Sheryl Caro  
Solomon Cera  
Eileen Kahaner & Daniel Coleman
Jackie Quella & Philip Conley
Lori & Scott Cooper 
Marilyn & Laurence Cosden 
Judy & Brent Daniel 
Cathy & Peter H. Deutsch  
Victoria Dobbs
Michael Dubin 
Leilani Aster & Peter Dwares
Cynthia Easton
Mendy Eckhaus
Mike Edelstein & Rachel Styne
Diane R. Ehrman
Shirley & Ben Eisler 
Kathie & Russell Eng 
Marsha Felton
Marsha Fine
Joanna Forster  
The Freedmans  
Peter Friend
Mahdokht Frouzan
Jennifer** & Robert Futernick
Milton Galant 
Jason Geller & Lisa Borah-Geller
Rhoda Gilbert
J. Henry Glazer
Marly & Stephen Goldblatt
Rebecca Goldfader 
Will Goldfarb & Heidi Adams
Claire Conly & Kevin Gough
Michelle Patterson & Michael Graham
Joan & Donald Green 
Adrienne Green  
Jeffrey Greendorfer
Gregory Dravland Grunberg  
Monica Banchero-Hasson & Bruce Hasson 
Jeanine Hawk  
Paul & Judith K. Heim
Pam & Nelson Heller
Nancy & Allan Herzog 
Marilyn Higuera
Cathryn Sampson Hilliard
The Hochschild Family
Deborah & Craig Hoffman
Susan Horenstein 
Sharyn & Jay Howard  
Carolyn & Rick Hutchinson
Frederick Isaac
Roean Iscoff
Reuven & Zehava Itelman 
Joan & Neil Jacobs
Lois & Jerome Jacobs  
Adrienne Jonas 
Jason Jungreis
Laurie Kahn  
Scott** & Vicki Kahn
Alison Datz & Joel Kamisher 
Susan Kaplan
Susan Karp
Thor & Lecia Kaslofsky
Reesha Katcher
Sally Kaufmann Cowan
Ms. Jerilyn Keyak and daughter, Molly S. McDonell
Susan Kitchell
Laura & Robert Klapper 
John & Jane Knox
Susan Kolb 
Zandy Krischer
Robert & Joyce Kurtz
Joyce Lampert
George Landau
Teri Lehmann  
Arlene & Paul Leiber
Pamela Lyss-Lerman & Jason Lerman 
Patricia & Richard Levenberg
Kyle Levine 
Nancy & Rich Levine 
Gershon & Jean Levinson
Thomas & Diane Levison
Mr. & Mrs. Svetlana Leykin 
Bradford Liebman 
Howard & Janet Lockshin
Barbara Loften
Sheri Lucas
Lawrence & Elinore Lurie
Lawrence & Marcia Lusk
Terry Mack Magnin  
Marlene Mann
Rodney Manson 
Tristie & Damon Marshall
Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey R. Mass 
Leigh & William Matthes 
Laurie Miller
Eleanor z"l & Howard z"l Miller
Julie McKenzie & Ken Miller 
Jacqueline Shelton & Craig Miller  
Cindy & Craig Morris  
Mark & Nicole Mosheim
Rachel Moussa 
Ellen & N. James Myerberg
Marilyn & Harry Nebenzahl
Sarah & Max Neiman
The Neuschatz Family
Elaine Neuwirth 
Judith & Gary Pasquinelli
Robley & Adele Passalacqua  
Daniel Perman & Sheva Tessler 
Pietsch Family
Donald Pino 
Steven Polevoi & Kate Kardos-Polevoi
Susan Wolin & Ralph Protsik
Alan & Nancy Raznick
Cindy Gilman Redburn & Chris Redburn
Moshe & Julia Reder
Lorie & Baxter Rice 
Diana & James Rogers
Julianne Rich Roos 
John E. Rosenbaum 
Sandra Rosenberg
Andrew & Jennifer Rosenthal  
Rotenstreich Family
Andrea Rouah 
Merle Ryan
Samuel & Alexandra Salkin  
Sharon Litsky & John Sampson**  
Daria Saraf
Benjamin Schalit
Dana Scheer 
Harry Scheer
Pamela & Michael Schneider  
Lisa Schuller
Ed Schuller
Mauri Schwartz  
Stephanie Ernst Scott
Dena & John Selix
Frada Shapiro
Gloria Shiff 
Roni Silverberg
Ann Singer  
David Bancroft Sloan
Audrey Sockolov 
Joan Solomon
Larissa Siegel Solomon & Rowan Solomon
Melanie Sperling
Michael Spinrad 
Julie B. Stahl
Elizabeth Ozer & Cliff Staton
Jill & Seth Steinberg  
Janet Surkin & Robert Stillman
Janet & Rod Stoller 
Charles & Sherri Sugarman 
Rebecca & Phil Susser 
Mr. & Ms. Yefim Sverbilov
Anita & Stuart Tanenberg
Joann Terdiman 
Susan Terris 
Michael & Maureen Terris 
Nick & Eugenia Vestel
Alan Warshaw
Herbert Weiner
Weinstein-Lorenzen Family  
Andy Weissman & Debbie Carini
Wellner Dickey Family
William Wexelblatt
Kate & Joseph Wineroth 
Connie Wolf
Karen Wolff 
Wolf Family  
Steve Zafft & Javier Suazo
Judith Kneeter & Rabbi Edward Zerin
Total Raised
To participate or for more information, please contact Julie Weinberg, Director of Development:

Informing and Engaging the Community

For almost 100 years, Congregation Emanu-El has been an inclusive space for all Jews throughout the Bay Area. We value the participation and opinions of each congregant, just as we value the opinions of our neighbors throughout San Francisco. This page will provide regular updates regarding congregational meetings, community meetings and Emanu-El Next. We plan to be transparent throughout this process and are open to any and all concerns. Thank you for your support!

Upcoming Meetings

  • There are no upcoming meetings at this time.

Past Meetings

  • Pre-Application Meetings May 6th, 7th and 13th, 2020

    In light of guidance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health regarding COVID-19, and in consultation with the Planning Department, we conducted this Pre-Application Meeting in two formats: 1) via a remote Zoom Webinar on May 6 at 6:00 pm; and 2) via telephone conferences on May 7 at 9:00 am, and May 13 at 4:00 pm.

  • Public Neighborhood Meeting December 9th, 2019: 6:00 - 8:00 pm

    Congregation Emanu-El welcomed our neighbors to the Temple to learn more about Emanu-El Next.

  • Annual Meeting/Town Hall November 17th, 2019: 9:30 - 11:00 am

Stay Informed