Jeff Rose, left, Susan Green and Marty Lyon

Jeff Rose, left, Susan Green and Marty Lyon hope to unveil the Wood River Jewish Community’s first synagogue next year.

For the first time since its inception 45 years ago, the Wood River Jewish Community will have a permanent home of its own.

“As this is Sun Valley’s first synagogue and the first permanent home for the WRJC, we are very excited to share the news with our community,” said Jeff Rose, co-chair of the WRJC building campaign.

Located in Elkhorn Village, the two-story building at 95 Badeyana Drive was originally built to serve as a community center and at one time housed a small market. It will now serve as a synagogue for about 200 Jewish families, including both permanent and part-time residents.

“The new synagogue will provide an opportunity for Jews to connect to Judaism in whatever way they choose,” said Rabbi Robbi Sherwin. “The Wood River Jewish Community also plans to welcome others to the building for different events, making it a community space for all.”

The fundraising campaign for a synagogue began last year in part due to a demand for additional space for young people eager to learn more about the Hebrew tradition and Jewish faith, WRJC Co-President Susan Green said. A fundraising campaign over the winter raised enough money to purchase the building this month. It will be renovated and available for use in about a year.

“It’s pretty much a miracle that this happened and we are very happy about it,” Green said.    

The WRJC has for many years participated in the interfaith community and worshipped at various locations since 1976. Recently, the community has been centered at an office/temple on Leadville Avenue in Ketchum and at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley, where the community celebrates the High Holy Days in the church sanctuary.

“St. Thomas has been a wonderful partner for us for many years,” Green said. “This is a relationship that we hope to continue.”

Rabbi Sherwin said the community has been meeting outside since May, with plans to return to St. Thomas Church if coronavirus restrictions allow for inside meetings again. She said eventually there will be a ceremonial march with the WRJC’s Torah, or Five Books of Moses, from Ketchum to the new synagogue in Elkhorn.

“There will be a joyous parade and an opportunity to celebrate this wonderful achievement,” Sherwin said.

For more information about the Wood River Jewish Community, go to wrjc.org.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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