A Harrisburg synagogue that burnt to the ground in 2009, has transformed into a new place of worship. On Tuesday, hundreds are gathering at the new home at Green and Vaughn Streets, in Uptown Harrisburg.
Rabbi Ron Muroff recalls a tragic time on April 3, 2009, when the light in the sanctuary wasn’t shining as bright for his congregation.
“Standing outside the building as the fire was destroying our sanctuary, the past president said we couldn’t decide so God intervened,” Muroff says.
Candles used during a service ignited tablecloths, growing into the massive spring fire on Fifth and Division streets. Yet, in the midst of tragedy, these Torahs were saved and now, they have a permanent home.
And for the first time since Chisuk Emuna was founded in 1883, the new location stands in a new direction.
Muroff says, “Traditionally Jews orient their synagogues facing Jerusalem and so for the first time in 80 years our 130 year old synagogue is facing the right direction.”
The over 13,500 square foot building is a single level. Constructed on the former Riverside School, the building features a flexible floor plan including a main sanctuary, social hall, small chapel/library, classrooms and an outdoor terrace. Most of the funding for the building has been raised through a $3.5 million capital campaign.