Synagogue Community Center

Introduction

On October 25, 1884, the initial organizational meeting of the First Hungarian Hebrew Congregation, Agudas Achim, was held at the home of the Cohen brothers at 213 Maxwell Street. Ever since that eventful day, Agudas Achim, now Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation, has striven to meet the needs of Chicago Jewry. From its humble beginnings to its first building, formerly a Baptist Church at 307 Maxwell Street (1888), to the construction of its first purpose built Synagogue on Marshfield and Polk (1907) and our present building built in 1922, Agudas Achim has grown with Chicago Jewry. Today, our magnificent Synagogue, the last of the famed grand Synagogues of Chicago functioning in the 21st century, recalls the piety and commitment of past generations of Chicago Jewry. Through its activity during the past 120 years, Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation has garnered for itself a rich and fruitful history of Jewish dedication and purpose, enriching the lives of tens of thousands of Jews spanning five generations.

עד מאה ועשרים שנה

How many times have you heard the phrase, Ad Me’ah V’esrim Shana – “May you live to 120 years!” Considered by the Jewish People as a full and complete life, 120 years is a wondrous accomplishment. For our Synagogue as well, this year celebrating its 120th birthday, it is a special milestone. While we can rightly take pride in our past accomplishments, we realize that Providence has placed before us the most demanding task ever to confront our Congregation. For not only are the Uptown, Andersonville and Edgewater communities experiencing a rebirth through gentrification, the Jewish community in these neighborhoods is being infused with many new Jewish residents as well. And so, Agudas Achim rises from its well-earned “rocking chair” to once again, through innovative and creative means, service a new and young Jewish community in Uptown, Andersonville and Edgewater.

This pamphlet encapsulates our vision for the future – Agudas Achim North Shore Jewish Community Center. With the addition of a new structure which will more than double the size of our present Synagogue, Agudas Achim will expand to include a full array of programming and activity meeting the religious, educational, cultural, social and physical needs of a growing and vibrant Jewish community.

Meet the Community Center of
Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation!

Our Center

Architecture

Our Center, which will replace the present Hebrew School building, will be a five level structure complementing our famous Synagogue. Its façade will represent many of the accents on our Synagogue’s façade. To avoid detracting from the beauty and dignity of our Synagogue, the main staircase of the Center will be encased in a tower of glass, allowing for the full majesty of our Synagogue to be seen, as well as providing a soaring effect for our Center building.

Lower Level

Meeting room – A large meeting room, accented by an area for growing plants and flowers in natural sunlight, will serve varied purposes. During the day, it can be utilized as a senior drop-in center. In the evening, it may serve as a meeting room for community groups, Synagogue committees and adult study, etc.

Physical fitness center – Included in this area are two locker rooms with showers and whirlpools, a steam room, a sauna and a large workout area. Programs for seniors, adults, teens and children will utilize this mini-workout center.

Ritualarium – A mikveh, preparation room and waiting room complete this level. Accessed through the rear of the building as well, the Ritualarium will provide a Mikveh (ritual bath) for the community.

Street Level

Our street level will provide access to our main building, incorporating its lower floor into the general planning of the Center.

Kindergarten – Two kindergarten rooms with children’s bathrooms will serve as the entry stage for our envisioned Jewish Day School.

Day Care – A large day care center will offer professional day care to the community at large. Utilizing our remodeled kitchen in our main building, the Day Care Center may offer nourishing hot lunches. Our present social hall and envisioned roof garden on the Center building will afford ample space for exercise and play.

Classroom – The first grade classroom of our planned Day School will be located on this level.

Offices – Ample office space, housing our general office and staff, will be located on this level.

Second Floor

An auditorium with access to our Main Sanctuary will occupy this level. With its own entry hall, bathrooms and cloakroom, this significant space will accommodate wedding receptions, Bar and Bas Mitzvah celebrations, parties, community programs and events. Its professional stage will accommodate orchestral recitals, Jewish Theater and also Day School and Kindergarten programming. With the addition of folding back-boards, the auditorium can serve as a basketball court as well.

Third Floor

Jewish Day School – Well-lit and ventilated classrooms, a teacher’s room, a library/conference room, bathrooms, offices and storage areas will comprise the floor plan for this level. The Day School will be able to utilize our present social hall, with its state of the art audio-visual system, our new auditorium, our planned roof garden, our physical fitness center and the remodeled kitchen in our main building, to provide a fully functional Day School facility. The classrooms will be built with the necessary wiring to support individualized personal instruction through the utilization of the latest computer technology. Your child’s educational experience will be one of constant accomplishment. In our Day School, no child will ever experience the trauma of failure.

Roof Garden

Since we are an inner-city Congregation, we will utilize our large roof as usable space to host an assortment of activities. From our Synagogue Succah, to an outdoor reception, from an open air play area and arts and crafts center for our Kindergarten, Day Care program, Day School and summer camp, to a wonderful relaxing space for our seniors, the roof will provide a unique, private and tranquil area which will complement many of our activities. Consideration will be given to the conducting of open-air religious services for Shabbat and other occasions, weather permitting, of course!

Elevators

The facility will contain two elevators – a passenger elevator and a service elevator. The passenger elevator will be constructed to provide access to our Sanctuary’s main floor and balcony making them wheelchair accessible. The elevator will be designed to serve as a Shabbat elevator.

Be part of the rebirth of Agudas Achim. Together, let us make the next 120 years of our historical Synagogue 120 years of accomplishment and service to the new and vital Jewish Community of Chicago’s North Lakeside.

 

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