West Bloomfield's Congregation B'nai Moshe, known by its members as the "small synagogue with a large heart," will officially get bigger in membership Saturday morning.
will welcome about 40-50 families from Congregation Beit Kodesh, a Conservative synagogue in Livonia that closed in October due to to the decline of Jewish population in western Wayne County, according to B'nai Moshe Executive Director Chuck Berris.
Although there's bound to be bittersweet feelings about the closure of the building that has served as Beit Kodesh's home since 1971, Berris said, the congregation that formed in 1958 is expected to complement the West Bloomfield synagogue well.
"Everyone is excited about it. We have a small congregation but an active one — in terms of volunteerism and just devotion. What we’re seeing is that activity being transported," Berris said.
"We're both homey, casual congregations. We know each other's names, and we call each other friends."
Berris added that geographically, the shift is not a difficult move for many. He estimated that more than half of Beit Kodesh's membership lives in Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield. Those in Livonia and the surrounding areas have made the transition smoother by carpooling, he said.
During the 9 a.m. service Saturday, Rabbi Elliot Pachter will formally welcome the new members and will rededicate the Beit Kodesh Memorial Board, Tree of Life and other items that have been incorporated into the B’nai Moshe building.
The synagogue has advertised that any former members of Beit Kodesh (or of the Livonia Jewish Congregation, the previous name of the synagogue) are welcome to attend. According to a Detroit Jewish News story, Congregation Beit Kodesh numbered 90-100 families as recently as the early 1990s.