Saperstein Jewish Center Undergoes Renovations

The Saperstein Jewish Center (Sap) was updated and renovated this summer after generous alumni donations. The center was re-carpeted and modernized with new computers and a flat-screen TV, a Smartboard and an updated kitchen.

Renovations went according to plan according to University Chaplain and Director of Jewish Life Rabbi David Levy.

“Project Manager Dennis Salm coordinated a terrific building effort. Thank God everything was on time and done to plan. I have no complaints,” he said.

The donations for the renovation came from alumni Charles Axelrod ’63 and Michael Saperstein ’62. Axelrod and Saperstein will attend a catered breakfast the Sap on Tuesday, Sept. 22, in celebration of the new renovations.

The Sap, which is located behind the Ho Science Center next to the African, Latin, Asian and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, opened in 1993 and was renovated at that time for use as a Jewish center.

“Conditions were certainly fine before. The update was to modernize the center and increase student use,” Levy said. “The Sap was well used and well loved but also well worn.”

The Sap consists of four main areas: a kitchen, a lounge, a synagogue area and a classroom. The kitchen was upgraded with new appliances including a new oven and a new refrigerator. It was also fitted with new utensils. The lounge was updated with three new Mac computers, and both the lounge and the sanctuary area were re-carpeted. The classroom was updated with a Smartboard, an electronic interactive blackboard.

“It’s an incredible space. The renovations are going to open doors for people to enjoy it,” former Colgate Jewish Union (CJU) President and recent graduate Hilary Stiss ’09 said. “I’m so jealous. The TV is really cool and it’s got a better kitchen space. It’s awesome.”

Jessica Dodge ’09, another former CJU President, hopes everyone will come see the Sap.

“Colgate does a good job of fostering an environment where students can reach out and be welcoming to different faiths,” Dodge said. “I hope not only Jewish kids see the Sap as a great place to hang out or study. I hope students take advantage of this space.”

“Jess and I basically lived in the Sap. We slept there. It is a hidden gem and it is perfect for everything,” Stiss said.

Current CJU member and President of the American Jewish Committee junior Zoe Gordon volunteered to set up the Sap after the renovations by helping with tasks such as unpacking boxes. Gordon hopes that work done on the Sap will help it draw students in the future.

“I hope it will bring more people, both of Jewish and non-Jewish, faith to spend more time together,” Gordon said. “I also hope more people will take advantage of the Sap as a study and lounge area because it is open for a large portion of the day.”

Like Gordon, Rabbi Levy hopes the space will be “used and loved” by students.

“I hope the Sap is well used. Students should see this as a place to celebrate Jewish occasions but also as a place to hang out and study as well,” Levy said. “I hope that everything, although built to last, will get worn out and well used.”