Case Western Reserve University and The Temple – Tifereth Israel have announced an historic partnership with a lead donation of $12 million from the Maltz Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland. The gift represents a catalytic challenge for the transformation of The Temple's iconic building in University Circle into the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center. The initiative also will preserve the historic building as a place of worship and celebration for the 1,400 families of The Temple - Tifereth Israel community.
"Milton and Tamar Maltz have given us a remarkable opportunity," said Barbara R. Snyder, President of Case Western Reserve. "This project has the potential to create enormous benefit for our university, for The Temple congregation and for the community at large."
Built in 1924, The Temple in University Circle is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Located at East 105th Street at Silver Park, The Temple contains a library and a museum, as well as a beautiful chapel and sanctuary. The structure came into being through the vision of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who led the congregation from 1917 through 1963.
Today The Temple's primary home is in Beachwood. Even so, the congregation still uses The Temple site in University Circle for High Holy Days and other holiday services, and events such as weddings, b'nai mitzvah ceremonies, and funerals. As part of this partnership, congregants will continue to be able to gather at the University Circle location for these observances.
"This building carries great emotional, historic, and spiritual meaning for our congregation," said Richard A. Block, Senior Rabbi of The Temple – Tifereth Israel.
"The ability to keep it as a place where we can return for worship, and at the same time open it to new uses, is the best of all possible outcomes."
The performing arts have a proud history at Case Western Reserve and continue to be a core of the CWRU experience. In 2009-2010 for example, the university enrolled more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students seeking majors or degrees in music, dance and theater. In any given semester, more than 1,000 undergraduates take courses in these areas, and more than half of our undergraduate students participate in extracurricular ensembles including the CWRU-University Circle Orchestra, IMPROVment, the Mather Dance Collective and many more.
In 2008 the university identified Culture, Creativity and Design as one of four primary academic alliances in its strategic plan, Forward Thinking. The Temple project will be an integral part of advancing that alliance. Plans call for the creation of a performing arts venue to feature programs and performances from the music, dance and theater departments. The 100,000 square-foot facility will also feature rehearsal rooms, classrooms and faculty offices.
"The partnership between Case Western Reserve and The Temple can bring dramatic new life to The Temple," said Milton Maltz, president of the Maltz Family Foundation, "and at the same time honor the building's status as a historic religious icon. We are pleased to be part of launching this project."
The university estimates that the total renovation of the building will require $25.6 million, with an additional $7 million needed for construction of a pedestrian bridge/walkway to connect the building to the university campus.
The Temple building is adjacent to a 14-acre parcel of land that once served as the home of the Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Case Western Reserve acquired this property in 2001. Today that parcel is home to the Cleveland Center for Structural and Membrane Biology as well as the Wright Fuel Cell Center.
Case Western Reserve University is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve offers nationally recognized programs in the arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing, and social work. For more information, visit the Case Western Reserve University Web site.
Organized by 47 German-speaking families in 1850, Tifereth Israel, as it was then known, was one of America's first Reform congregations and it has long been one of its foremost. Among eleven senior rabbis who have led The Temple, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver stands out for his 46-year tenure and his extraordinary achievements, including his role in creating the State of Israel. Once a "Classical Reform" synagogue, The Temple introduced the study of Hebrew to its curriculum and embraced Zionism three quarters of a century ago. Under the inspired leadership of Rabbi Richard A. Block, it continues to evolve in response to contemporary needs and sensibilities, striving for excellence, meeting the diverse needs of its congregational community, and combining a warm approach to tradition with creativity and innovation. For more information, visit The Temple – Tifereth Israel Web site.