K’sav Sofer shul, the old shtiebel at 646 Empire Boulevard, has recently undergone a major renovation.
Affectionately known as “Rabbi Mangel’s shul”, K’sav Sofer, expanded exponentially when the back lot was gut renovated and added to the existing space. The new lot added about 50% in space to the small shul, and is now used as the women’s section, which had been lacking until now.
Much needed bathrooms and washroom were built, to accommodate women and children.
“While doing the renovation,” says Tammy Holzman, who did the interior design, much of it hands-on, as well as hired manpower and oversaw the entire project, “the goal was to preserve the feeling of the familiar shtiebel which had endeared the shul to a group of veteran Chassidim. Those Chassidim continually use it every day for learning and davening. At the same time, the idea was to create a draw-in for a newer and younger crowd, in order to keep the shul alive.”
The shul therefore had to look modern and up-to-date.
The biggest challenge: a very tight budget. Building was made possible through donations from the shul regulars. Nothing pricey was considered. The completed look had to be accomplished using basic materials at their cost price. Efficiency was important, too; the shul had to be easy to clean and maintain.
Regular congregants, who have been attending the shul for years and by now feel like a family, excitedly participated in the “re-birth” of the shul, either through donating or by providing sage advice.
All this was orchestrated by the irreplaceable, very devoted gabbai of the shul, R’ Zalman Raksin, (owner of “Post-Mark-It” shop on Kingston Avenue) who shouldered the very heavy load of raising and treasuring the money.
A pleasant surprise was discovered while gutting down the walls: a document was discovered behind the wooden panel, dated to 1949. Apparently, it was a letter sent to all school parents, written in Yiddish and mapping the school bus route for that particular year. The route included what is now the Park Slope neighborhood.
It was amazing to see how big Jewish Crown Heights was at the time!
Baruch Hashem, the shul is now ready to open its doors to all local residents, young and old. The goal of making it look beautiful, elegant and functional was achieved with flying colors, and newcomers are more than welcome to join and enjoy the family feel, the coziness and the convenience of a prime, central location.
The shul will now be open for small simchas as well.
Layout planning, and blueprints courtesy of Mrs. Miriam Rochester, of MRochester Design, designer of the beautiful “21 Flavors” and “Welcome Home” on Kingston Avenue.
Guiding the project: R’ Eli Betesh, of BHGC Contracting.
This shul was originally Rabbi Walkin’s Shul. My father Rabbi Chaim Y. Strasser later became Rov and named the shul Ksav Sofer.
because some people in the shchuneh still go to work and they get home late, that’s why 9:00pm is perfect.
This was formerly my Father’s Rav Chaim Yehuda Strasser Shul. So happy to see the major renovation and beauty of the Shul. Thank you for everything. Major Hatzlacha.
Now that the chitzoniyus has been renovated it’s time to revanp the davening time. Especially. there needs to be a Maariv bizman; ther only minyon they have is 9PM. Why do we have towait until 9PM in winter when it is dark a little after 5?
What did they leave in the walls this time around to be discovered in 66 years in the year 5,842 when it will long have been relocated to Yerusholaim by then?
zalman – you did a great job!!!!!!!!!!!!
A real heimish feel,warm and inviting.
Thank you chazzan Shimon Herz for your most beautiful Gresham this shmini azeres. I was deeply moved. Thanks to the gaboim for bringing R’ Shimon to our shule for Geshem
Shacharis: 6:45 AM – 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Mincha: Candle lighting time
Maariv: 9:00 PM – Motzei Shabbos time
May the shul grow and increase m’chayil el Choyil ! It is beautifully ready for the Geula now !
the main beauty and component of any Shul in Rabbi Mangels eyes are the Seforim
This is really very nice.
I think this leaves only “Shain Shul” the very last Shul in Crown Heights to still keep the old-time appearance.
what are the minyanim schedule?
first minyan 6:45