This month marked a great milestone for my family and for the Lake Norman Jewish community. Our first day of religious school in our very own building.

That may not sound like much in a city where new churches seem to open almost every month.  But do you know how many temples have opened between Charlotte and Statesville in the last decade? The last century?  Zero. Not one.

Until now.

It’s a bit of a long story, of course, and I’m not going to tell it here. We’re saving that for the book we joke about writing (“So You Want To Build a Temple…”).  Here’s part of how it came together. Six years ago, six families in Lake Norman decided it was time to break away from a satellite program offered up here by a Charlotte temple.  That temple was wonderful and generous but we needed something of our own.

Those six families quickly found other Jewish families north of Charlotte and grew into the Lake Norman Jewish Congregation. Then, last year,  we merged with that still on-going satellite program (which had become Beth Shalom of Lake Norman) and became Temple Kol Tikvah.  We now number  more than 170 families.

Temple Kol Tikvah bought a building, fixed it up, cleaned it up and opened last Sunday.  My husband, Slade, is co-president of our congregation and he spent most of last week with a mop and a check list, making sure the building was ready for school. If anyone has a picture of him with cleaning gloves on, let me know!

(l-r) A few 6th graders study together, Rabbi Michael Shields and Slade, there are 120+ students in the school

(These great pictures courtesy of my friend, Gayle Shomer. Btw, she’s offering a photography class w/limited enrollment (click here for info). It’s a great opportunity – she’s a former NC Photographer of the Year.)