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Interview with Bruce Vineberg


Part 1 - Interview with Bruce Vineberg – House Committee Chairman

House Committee

Our beloved Shaar building is almost 100 years old. With its 33 roofs, water infiltration and an aging HVAC system that has exceeded its life expectancy, we must undertake immediate and urgent upgrades and repairs to our synagogue. The House Committee, chaired by Bruce Vineberg, has been working diligently over the past 18 months determining these pressing needs and the priorities.
We sat down with Bruce to get more insight into the studies, the process and the recommendations that are being brought forward.
Shaar: Bruce, can you tell us a bit more about the current state of the Shaar building?
Bruce: The Shaar is a Heritage Building. As you can imagine, its care and upkeep are extremely important. There is no getting away from it – the building needs major infrastructure repairs which must be done as quickly as possible.
Shaar: Who is on the House Committee? What expertise do they bring?
Bruce: We are very lucky to have a talented and dedicated group of individuals who have volunteered many many hours of their time. It is important to know that they are volunteering in the areas of their business and professional expertise – they are industry professionals with a combined experience of over 300 years in project management, engineering, architecture, real estate management, design, and development. This great team includes: Bruce Burnett, Michael Esar, Peter Fraenkel, Carl Frymel, Benjamin Kracauer, Chuck Rubin and Moise Saban.
Shaar: In general, what are the major concerns?
Bruce: We need to bring the building up to present day standards and regulations. As I mentioned, these repairs are not optional. They demand immediate and significant intervention. The needs are urgent and are necessary to preserve the integrity and sanctity of our very beautiful and very old building.
Shaar: The synagogue is where we come to pray, to celebrate, to study and to connect. We talk about the Shaar Family. Can you please tell us a bit about your special relationship with the Shaar?
Bruce: The Shaar is more than just a building to me and my family. We have been members of the Shaar for six generations. I attended the Shaar afternoon school, celebrated my Bar Mitzvah here, my wedding, the Bar Mitzvahs of our sons, and all three of our children were married in our sanctuary. This is our spiritual home.
Shaar: Thank you Bruce.
In the weeks ahead the interview with Bruce continues. We will learn more about the House Committee’s mandate and we will share with you the details of the various projects the Committee is undertaking from replacing the ventilation, air conditioning and controls, to exterior brick work, improvements in lighting, and repairs to the Cote-Sainte-Antoine plaza. These are investments for today and for the next generations of our Shaar family.

Part 2 – Interview with Bruce Vineberg – House Committee Chairman

House Committee
Our conversation with Bruce Vineberg – House Committee Chairman continues
Shaar: Bruce- In last week’s edition you introduced us to the members of the House Committee, and mentioned some of the urgent upgrades and repairs needed for our synagogue. Can you tell us about the committee’s mandate?
Bruce: The committee is responsible for the care and maintenance of the Congregation’s buildings. It is a huge undertaking given the size and the age of the building and all of the complexities involved. The original building was built in 1922, the school building was added in 1948 and the major addition of the Chapel, Cote St Antoine Lobby and Lande Hall was completed in 1967. One of the main challenges is the way the building is used today versus how it was first conceived.
Shaar: Tell us how this relates to the need to upgrade certain systems.
Bruce: The original building was not air conditioned. This feature was added much later, and with each expansion, additional systems were added. Today, given the number of events and activities taking place at any given time, it is critical that we are able to manage and control different temperatures in order to provide comfort for all. Our current chiller is well beyond its life expectancy, and no longer meets building code and environmental laws. It is critical that we update immediately.
Shaar: Are there any other benefits to upgrading this system?
Bruce: In addition to providing us with the ability to better control the temperature in various parts of the building simultaneously, the new system will lead to greater energy efficiency and be more cost effective than our current outdated system, not to mention be more environmentally friendly. It will also allow us to bring the system up to today’s standards in terms of technology and building codes.
Shaar: Can you describe the committee’s decision making process?
Bruce: The committee reviewed five proposals from well-established, reputable mechanical engineering firms. Three companies were brought in for further discussions and one company was awarded the contract. After reviewing various options, we are now working with them on final plans. It is a very complex field. We are grateful to have the expertise of committee member, Peter Fraenkel, who has extensive knowledge of mechanical engineering systems.
Shaar: When will the work be completed on the system?
Bruce: Our goal is for the new system to be completely installed and functional by Spring 2016.
Shaar: Thank you Bruce. We look forward to hearing more about other building projects when we resume in August.
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 22 Kislev 5784