In 1974, members of the Boone Jewish community began meeting at each other's homes and at Appalachian State University buildings for services, community events and holidays.
The group included Boone residents and others who lived in Watauga and surrounding counties. They adopted the group moniker, logically enough, the Boone Jewish Community.
For many years, the Boone Jewish Community has been holding its services at the Boone Unitarian Universalist Church. But that will soon change with the construction of the new Temple of the High Country in Boone.
Groundbreaking for the new Temple of the High Country will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, at the construction site on King Street, near the entrance to the Lois Harrill Senior Center.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be officiated by Boone Jewish Community president Chuck Lieberman, Rabbi Dan Levin and special guest ASU Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock.
The Temple of the High Country's groundbreaking weekend will also feature several other special events. Shabbat services will be held on Friday, Aug. 26, with Rabbi Dan Levin from Temple Beth El in Boca Raton, Fla. The services will take place at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Boone, beginning at 7 p.m.
A benefit concert for the Temple of the High Country and ASU's Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies, featuring musician Michael Feinstein, will be held at Farthing Auditorium on Saturday, Aug. 27. The show begins at 8 p.m.
Front and center tickets, with post-show champagne meet and greet reception with Feinstein, are $150 per person. Premiere seating tickets are $100, patron seating tickets are $50, and student tickets are $20.
To purchase tickets, call Farthing Auditorium at (828) 262-4046.
After the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, a celebration brunch will be hosted by Judy and Bob Prager at their Linville Ridge home. RSVP by calling (954) 815-2389.
Temple of the High Country
The building of the Temple of the High Country has been a dream for decades and began to become a reality last year with the donation of $1 million from Blowing Rock residents Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer for the purchase of the lot and the construction of the building.
Since that time, numerous contributions have poured in, many of them in response to naming opportunities. Sandi and Leonard Solomon donated $360,000 for the temple's sanctuary, Marla Schaefer, in honor of Daniel and Nicole Weishoff, donated $180,000 for Hillel and Social Hall, and Leslie and Joan Berman, in honor of Allen and Jean Berman, donated $90,000 for the front entry doors. An anonymous donation was made for $100,000 toward the construction of the Chuck Lieberman Classroom.
A number of other naming opportunities have been made, and others remain available. The temple is also offering the opportunity to donate to purchase one of 10 stained glass windows depicting each of the 10 commandments. All but the 10th commandment have been spoken for.
When completed, the Temple of the High Country will serve as a sanctuary for Shabbat and holiday services, a home for ASU Hillel students, a venue for the annual Martin and Doris Rosen Summer Symposium on Remembering the Holocaust, home to the Schaefer Community Center, a meeting place for the Jewish Film Festival and Purim Festival, a religious school offering Hebrew classes, and a social gathering place for Passover seders, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, baby namings and other important events.
The groundbreaking event this Sunday is free and open to the public.