Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Barry Brian's Story

Barry Brian’s Story


Probably the biggest event that occurred during my four years (1992-1996) as president of Or Hadash was finding, buying, and moving into our very own home as a congregation. The building, at 190 Camphill Road, was originally named Fairwold.


We had looked at various buildings for a number of years but never found the right one. In early 1995, Melanie Gansler, z”l, was driving down Camp Hill Road when she saw a “for sale” sign. She said to herself, "If Or Hadash is going to find a new home, then I'm going to have to do something about it." She turned into Gay Way, drove up the hill, and was the first Or Hadasher to see our future home. When she got home, she called me and said that there was a building near her home that we should check out. I immediately called the chair of our building committee, John L. Palmer, and asked if he could look at it as soon as possible.


The next day John called me back and said, "This place does a good job of meeting our needs. We should give it serious consideration." I asked John to arrange for another showing of the place for that evening, called the executive committee, and after a tour, we agreed that this building was likely the one. That night, we launched the phone tree and the following Sunday nearly 90 households saw the building. We held another showing within the next seven days and called a special congregational meeting to discuss purchasing the building. In preparation for that meeting, we prepared a list of every question we could possibly think of about the building, along with our best answers. The following week, we voted on whether to purchase the building and over 90% of the congregation agreed.


Approximately three weeks after Melanie first noticed the “for sale” sign, we made a formal offer on the building. Voting down two prior properties facilitated the extraordinary degree of participation and cooperation within the congregation. When we saw Fairwold, we knew what we were looking for.