The Darchei Noam congregation achieved a significant milestone recently, becoming the first newly constructed Jewish synagogue in the Twin Cities in years.
The 5,000-square-foot building at Joppa Avenue S. and Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park was formally dedicated Sunday, with synagogue leaders inviting the greater community to join the celebration.
Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, who leads the Modern Orthodox congregation, said the new space will now meet the needs of the growing membership, which has nearly doubled in size since 2005, when the congregation was founded.
“There is definitely growth,” he said. “The plan is to grow more as time goes on. There’s a membership campaign to draw folks into the synagogue over a two-year period.”
For several years, congregants had gathered for worship in members’ homes until they found a larger space to rent in the education wing of St. George’s Episcopal Church.
The group raised money in a capital campaign and in 2008 bought the St. Louis Park lot where the synagogue was completed nearly two months ago.
The congregation, which started out with roughly 30 families, now has close to 65, Ozarowski said. Besides worship, the new space also gives them room to hold large gatherings, such as bar mitzvahs and holiday events.
“The space for services is lovely, the acoustics great,” Ozarowski said. “It was designed very nicely with the idea for having multiple uses. There’s the main sanctuary, which has a connection to a social hall. There are classrooms for children and adult programs.”
With the new synagogue comes a sense of excitement and thankfulness among congregants, Ozarowski said.
“I think we’re responding to a need in the community that wasn’t being filled,” he said. “I’m so proud to tell people I’m associated with Darchei Noam because it’s such a wonderful group of people.”