Congregation Beth Shalom has a new home.
The congregation, which has been renting space from the MU Hillel since it began about 29 years ago, recently moved into a farmhouse at 500 Green Meadows.
The farmhouse sits on seven acres on which the congregation hopes to build a sanctuary. There are no specific building plans, but Rabbi Yossi Feintuch said he expects the building to be built sometime in the next two years.
The farmhouse, which was assessed by the county at $162,140, was purchased through funds raised by congregation members.
“We’re in the middle of a capital campaign to raise money. It’s up to our members,” said Sheri Radman, a real estate agent and congregation member.
The move was a mutual agreement between the congregation and the Hillel foundation. Although nothing official has been planned, both groups plan to continue doing activities together.
“We are one Jewish community even though we’re in separate locations,” Hillel director Kerry Hollander said.
The farmhouse and the Hillel have limited space, so large holiday services usually occur at First Baptist Church of Columbia. The high holy days Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which usually draw 400 to 500 people, will continue to be at First Baptist Church. The future sanctuary plans to be able to accommodate smaller festivities such as bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. The space the congregation had occupied at Hillel is available for rent. “We hope to find a suitable tenant,” Hollander said.
Hillel plans to move all its administrative offices to the west side, leaving about 3,100 square feet open on the east. Although the first service was on July 4, the congregation will have an inaugural ceremony at its new location at 4 p.m. on Sept. 14.