Emanu-El NEXT

After almost 100 years at 2 Lake Street, Congregation Emanu-El has launched Emanu-El Next

Since the 1800’s, Emanu-El has been where we’ve educated our children, found sense of self and fostered a community.

Emanu-El Next will transform Emanu-El’s physical infrastructure, and build our endowment and our capacity to serve our sacred Jewish community. Our home, however, is in great need of repair and renovation. Our building was not designed to meet today’s seismic or security standards, nor does it welcome intimate gatherings or allow us to provide the kind of quality education we would like.

Our building is comprised of three elements – the Main Sanctuary, the Courtyard Wing and the Temple House. Congregation Emanu-El is proposing construction of a new Courtyard Wing within the existing Lake Street and Arguello façades, along with significant upgrades to the adjacent Temple House. This project provides an opportunity to address the seismic and safety needs of the Courtyard Wing, and to expand our ability to meet the strategic goal to be a welcoming, accessible home to all Jews throughout the Bay Area.

Explore a 360º view of the Courtyard

Our Six Strategic Initiatives

To ensure the continuity of the congregation and the building, we have identified six strategic initiatives that will be met with this campaign.

We have to prioritize safety and security improvements – a significant investment is necessary to address existing seismic challenges in the Courtyard Wing. Additional improvements will include new areas for both large gatherings and intimate interactions, from learning classrooms to areas of play. These spaces will facilitate life-cycle events and the improvement of one’s self through enlightened exchange. It’s time to move our place of worship and community into the 21st century with a cutting edge, functional, warm and safe haven open to all those looking to enrich their lives in the Jewish faith.

What’s New With Emanu-El Next

Our Impact Over Time

Driven by the core Jewish belief of tikkun olam, to make the world a better place, Emanu-El has a long history of deep involvement in the local community.

San Francisco Earthquake Recovery Efforts
Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger led recovery efforts through instituting an ad hoc ambulance system and spearheading hunger relief and housing programs for the homeless and others suffering due to the disaster.

An Opportunity to Serve
Building on the history of community service, Emanu-El women volunteered to sew bandages for local hospital patients.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Addresses our Congregation
Committed to racial justice, Rabbi Alvin Fine invited the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to address Congregation Emanu-El as he led our nation in the struggle for civil rights. Emanu-El continues to partner with a diverse coalition of local and national organizations in the pursuit of social justice.

1969 – 1989
Soviet Jews Welcomed
Congregation Emanu-El’s members organized efforts that advocated for persecuted Soviet Jews to emigrate to the United States to find religious freedom and economic opportunity. The congregation continues to support efforts for international human rights.

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic
At a time when mainstream religious groups avoided confronting the HIV/AIDS crisis, Emanu-El clergy addressed the issue through bold sermons and activated the community to respond by raising funds for the Shanti Project. Throughout the 1980s, Emanu-El developed initiatives to respond to the AIDS crisis and combat pervasive homophobia. 

Protecting the Redwoods
Rabbi Stephen Pearce viewed halting the clear-cutting of the redwood ecosystem as our moral obligation. Here, Rabbi Pearce’s effort to protect something larger than Emanu-El is carried out by joining with interfaith leaders and environmentalists to save Northern California’s treasured forests.

Standing Up Against Hate
When white nationalist hate groups announced their intention to demonstrate in San Francisco, Emanu-El hosted the city-wide Interfaith Gathering Against Hate. Emanu-El works in coalition with local civic and religious organizations dedicated to strengthening our democracy and promoting the civil rights of all people.

Confronting the San Francisco Housing Crisis
Congregants conduct food, supply and clothing drives to benefit homeless youth at Larkin Street Youth Services. In 2018, Emanu-El partnered with city and business leaders to launch Heading Home, a $30 million initiative to transition 800 homeless families into permanent housing.