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Bridging the Gap

“Oh, I hope we put the holes in the right place. We measured it five times,” said Oakwood City Engineer Kevin Weaver. He needn’t have worried. The composite bridge put in place on Friday, thus joining the banks of Houk Stream and the newly-named Centennial Park, went into place with nary a hitch. “This is the single largest piece of property aside from Sugar Camp,” said City Manager Norbert Klopsch of the 20-plus acres that make up Houk Stream and Centennial Park. The bridge was donated and constructed by Lockwood, Jones and Beale, a local construction firm and had a big hand from the Oakwood Rotary Club who oversaw the project. “It’s the power of giving that’s for sure. It’s increased access to our Centennial Park and is a legacy of our Centennial year,” said Mayor Judy Cook.

Rabbi Bernard Barsky invokes Psalm 30 for dedication.

Beth Abraham members make dream a reality

It began with a conversation between Lee Shear, a member of Beth Abraham, and his Rabbi, Bernard Barsky, four and a half years ago. Sunday saw the result of that conversation – the dedication of the new Beth Abraham Synagogue now located in Sugar Camp.

A full house heard the tributes to those who made the dream of a new home come true. Masters of Ceremony Steve and Linda Horenstein presided over the program, a vibrant gratitude to all who contributed to this effort. Welcoming greetings to the new synagogue were given by Oakwood Mayor Judy Cook, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church minister, the Rev. John F. Koepke, and Rabbi Judy Chessin of Temple Beth Or in Centerville.

Making the dream a reality took the efforts of not only the Campaign Co-chairs Renate Frydman and Bernie Rabinowitz, but, it was said many times, it took the efforts of all the members of Beth Abraham.

Susie Katz, whose inspired interest provided energized impetus, gave an eloquent appreciation to those gathered, praising members of the whole community for their efforts in fulfilling the dream of the new synagogue.  She, in return, was honored with words of praise – and a standing ovation - for her dedication to the vision of a new home for Beth Abraham.

Following the tribute to Susie Katz, a new piece of music composed especially for the dedication by Jerome B. Kopmar, Beth Abraham’s Cantor Emeritus, was performed by Beth Abraham cantor, Andrea Raizen, but not before Cantor Kopmar presented to Rabbi Barsky an autographed copy of the score. A flute and piano provided the accompaniment for the song which concludes with a joyous ending.

The formal dedication of Beth Abraham was made by Rabbi Bernard Barsky who began with words from Psalm 30, a song for the dedication of the temple of David.  Rabbi Barsky began his tenure at Beth Abraham five years ago. He saw a dim picture of the viability of Beth Abraham, should it continue in its location on Salem Avenue where it had been located since its inception in 1960.  Few children comprised the congregation, there were demographic problems, there was loss in the Jewish community from a population of 6,000 to 4,000. Without a new home, a new vision, Beth Abraham probably would have had to close its doors, Rabbi Barsky said.

But that did not happen. The idea which “began in skepticism, uncertainly and self-doubt” has resulted in today’s achievement. The “vision became energy, and the energy became action,” Rabbi Barsky said. “Today our dedication is for tomorrow and what we will do with tomorrow. We live in a broken world, and our charge is to heal it. We live in a world widely cursed by hatred, and our charge is to love and be a blessing...we dedicate ourselves and all our tomorrows to think and act from the love of God in everything we do, to find God in every human face, and to gather here to worship God for the refreshment of our souls, so that we may go out from this holy place and repair our world.”

And this new “holy place” is tucked away in what was once NCR’s Sugar Camp, its new address 305 Sugar Camp Circle – as of Sunday, properly dedicated.

The synagogue was designed by Levin/Brown & Associates Owings Mills, Md., one of the premier synagogue builders in America.  Surrounded by the tall, stately, graceful trees of Sugar Camp, the windows take full advantage of their beauty.

City OK’s amended Sugar Camp plan
Schools can handle any increased enrollment

The Oakwood City Council met on Monday, May 5, with councilmember William Duncan absent but excused. Centennial co-chairs Madeline Iseli and Dick Good gave a presentation of the various events and programs planned over the next few months celebrating Oakwood’s Centennial. Her events calendar was depicted for the council members and visitors verbally and on the overhead display screen. A Centennial calendar of events mirroring Iseli’s presentation can be found on the editorial page of The Oakwood Register under Norbert Klopsch’s article “Get ready for the Centennial.”

The city council also passed the modifications requested for the Sugar Camp development project. The structures will included 2 seven-story midrise condominiums, 4 six-unit town homes and an increase of single unit homes increasing from 125 to 147.

Concerns were raised April 9 by the Oakwood Planning Commission that there was a chance that Oakwood schools might feel a strain if a large number of families with children move into the projected new homes.

Dr. Mary Jo Scalzo, superintendent of Oakwood schools gave a short presentation allaying such concerns, citing a 2001 enrollment projection study showed that current figures, 2,156 students K through 12 currently enrolled are topping off. Dr. Scalzo also announced that the schools are commissioning a new enrollment study projecting enrollment figures for the next 10 years and due out in six weeks.

After some clarification concerning green space and tree conservation, the motion was put to a vote and passed unanimously.

The next formal meeting is scheduled for June 9, 2008.

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