DAVID A. SEGAL FAMILY SIMCHA PLAY CENTER
About two years ago, our member Rachel Segal and close family friend Barry Borodkin approached us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate our growing young family and school communities, and to put our shul on the map in a brand-new way. They gave us the chance to design and build the playground of our dreams, fully-funded by their remarkable and extraordinary generosity.
Rachel and Barry have spent countless hours working with Rabbi Shira Wallach, sharing their vision of an Eitz Chayim, a tree of life, that when planted and tended, fills its garden with untold riches. “Our children are our tree of life,” Rachel said. “We must bless them with best of what we have."
The image above is a rendering of the central tower of our new playground, designed by the company Kompan, with graphic panels by Israeli artist Eli Kaplan-Wildmann.
Imagine our front lawn as you walk toward the North entrance, on your right you'll see a 30-plus foot tall climbing adventure, surrounded by play elements that encourage teamwork and friendship for all ages. We’ll build a space to share a festive meal that’s shaded for daytime and lit for nighttime. We’ll also dedicate a sacred space for prayer and learning, surrounded by an outdoor orchestra of musical instruments. In the area of our existing playground, we’ll build a playscape especially designed for our preschool-aged children.
The drawing above is a sketch of Eli’s mural that will serve as a centerpiece to honor the David A. Segal Family Simcha Play Center. The central teaching, chanoch lana’ar al pi darko, reminds us to guide each child on their own path. That is to say— to honor the unique ways that each of our children learns, plays, and grows.
We extend deep gratitude to Rachel and Barry, as well as to Staci Reznik, Sarah Davis, and our Director of Education, Sarah Lipinsky, for serving as Rabbi Wallach's creative partners. We also thank the Shearith Board of Directors and the Foundation Board for their invaluable insight and feedback to ensure that we take on this project with utmost fiscal responsibility.
Shearith Israel President, Irving Prengler, says, "I don’t have to tell you what this will mean for our community. For years, we have been nurturing and growing our Family Center and School families, and these playgrounds will only deepen our ongoing commitment to celebrating each and every child and their grownups as they pursue sacred encounters in the context of our kehila kedosha, our holy community."
Watch your email inboxes for more information in the coming weeks, including a complete 3D rendering of both playgrounds, and a save-the-date for our communal groundbreaking. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate!