Shaare Emeth announces $9.5 million capital and endowment campaign

A proposed rendering of Shaare Emeth’s new southwest area entry from the exterior, featuring a same-level entry to worship spaces, nearby parking, covered passenger drop-off and new landscaping.

Congregation Shaare Emeth’s capital and endowment campaign, Shaare the Vision, is well underway, with more than $5.1 million raised to date. The campaign aims to increase the temple’s endowment and provide for enhancements and renovations to exterior and interior spaces. 

Proposed renovation plans include: 

• Creating an accessible, single-level entry and new lobby adjacent to the temple’s worship spaces

• Renovating the sanctuary, chapel, auditorium and youth lounge 

• Dedicating a separate space for memorials

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• Updating preschool and religious classrooms and areas

• Creating new program and religious school learning spaces 

• Adding parking 

• Developing new green spaces 

Proposed endowment plans include 

• Increasing the overall endowment 

• Allocating funds restricted for upkeep of the renovated facilities

The committee for the member-driven campaign is co-chaired by Joe Pereles, immediate past president of Shaare Emeth, and Josh Wallach, vice president. 

“The immense success of the quiet phase of the capital and endowment campaign demonstrates our members’ commitment to helping us grow as a temple and as an organization,” said Pereles. “We were able to quietly raise $5 million in just a year’s time. That is truly inspirational and a sign that we have the support and means to move forward publicly with our renovation and endowment plans.” 

Shaare Emeth serves 1,700 families with approximately 4,500 individual members. The congregation’s ability to accommodate the increasing demand for space and services is currently near capacity, Shaare Emeth leaders noted. 

“We are bursting at the seams,” says Wallach. “We are at a point where we have to take care of our current prospering membership and ever-changing needs while anticipating what our future needs will be.”

Shaare Emeth President Greg Yawitz said one of the most important aspects of the renovation is an increase in areas that are accessible to all members. The design plans for a single-level entry near the temple’s worship space on the Ladue Road side include parking spaces; a completely accessible, graded entryway with protected drop-off area for vehicles; and a larger, expanded lobby and oneg space just outside the chapel and sanctuary. The accessible lobby will flow into a dedicated memorial space and updated multi-use auditorium and event space. 

The capital improvements also will serve to enhance the congregation’s security by providing upgrades in targeted areas with materials that meet higher safety standards. Earlier this year, Shaare Emeth received a $75,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to enhance security measures in vulnerable areas of the facilities. These measures will be incorporated into the facilities’ renovations.