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Congregation Beth Emek working on facility upgrades

Synagogue uses funds for solar, HVAC units, outdoor remodel

After approaching its $1.25 million fundraising goal, Congregation Beth Emek has begun work on capital improvements on the synagogue property on Nevada Court in Pleasanton.

The campaign, which began last fall, has been highlighted publicly by Beth Emek leaders in recent weeks as they've nearly reached their initial fundraising goal.

"We are serving the Jewish community in the Tri-Valley area -- we provide full service things like the worship services, Shabbat services, religious school and Hebrew school for Jewish children," campaign co-chair Karen Holtz said.

Beth Emek, a Jewish congregation in the Tri-Valley that began in 1956, is more than 80% of the way toward raising capital in the amount of $1.25 million to improve its facilities.

"We've already surpassed the million-dollar mark; we're trying to raise another couple $100,000 because the more we raise, the more we can put into the improvements that we're trying to make on the facility," Holtz said.

The congregation's goal is to improve the grounds for members. Officials are particularly excited about the outdoor work, improving a patio for outdoor services, meetings and social events.

"The hopes are to upgrade the grounds of our synagogue property, to make them more useful to leverage them more for our different congregational populations, more space for kids, more space for teens, easier setup and takedown for outdoor services and other religious events,'' Board President Maxwell Norman said.

Another project is the installation of solar panels on the roof, which will save costs on electricity bills.

"We're replacing all of the original heating and air conditioning units. That's not a very exciting project, but it does matter when it's 100 degrees outside and people are sweating inside," Holtz said.

The congregation is trying to be more energy-efficient as well as save costs in all possible ways, she said.

"It just makes it clear that dynamic Beth Emek is a strong presence in the community, that the congregation is thriving, that we're planning into the future, and that we expect to be here for a long time," Holtz added.