(Editor’s note: Rabbi Simcha Snaid (above) is pictured having fun with the UofL and UK murals in the basement of the new Anshei Sfard building at 2904 Bardstown Road. The building, which is undergoing extensive interior renovations, should be ready for use by Feb. 1. The basement murals will be painted over as the space is prepared for youth activities. Community will publish photos of the new synagogue following its opening. (photo provided by Rabbi Snaid)
By Lee Chottiner
Saying it has outgrown its current space at Shalom Towers, Congregation Anshei Sfard is moving from Dutchmans Lane, its home since 1958, to a new building on Bardstown Road.
The congregation signed a lease in December for a 3,400-square-foot storefront at 2904 Bardstown Road – the old Six Mile Creek Distillery office. Rabbi Simcha Snaid said the congregation expects to move in at the end of the month and hold its first minyan there on Feb. 1.
Interior construction on the building, making it ready for synagogue use, is underway.
The new synagogue will be a five-minute walk from Snaid’s home in Strathmoor and within 10 minutes for many other families.
“We’re smack in the middle of the eruv,” Snaid said.
Located in the Upper Highlands, Strathmoor is becoming the new neighborhood of choice for many of Louisville’s Orthodox families, necessitating a new synagogue in that area.
“This is the next stage of our growth,” Snaid said. “We’ve grown out of our space in Shalom Towers, so we need a bigger space, sanctuary wise, and we have a growing youth program.”
Sitting between Frank Otte Nursery and Assumption High School, the new Anshei Sfard is located in a small business plaza with parking out front.
But the front entrance will not be the main entrance. Worshippers will enter through the alley entrance, stepping into a lobby that is still under construction. The rest of the floor will hold the sanctuary, an office and two restrooms. The parking lot entrance will be blocked by a moveable ark and the front windows will be curtained.
The basement will house a kitchen, the rabbi’s study and a youth space, which currently has UofL and UK murals painted on the wall,. The murals will be painted over.
“I think it used to be a bar,” Snaid said of the space.
Both the basement and the upstairs sanctuary will be available for services by Feb. 1.
Anshei Sfard currently has 45 families. More importantly, it now has 20-25 kids, precipitating the need for a new synagogue with room for youth programming.
Most of the newcomers are from the New York/New Jersey area; they come looking for a more affordable city.
“People want to be able to buy homes,” Snaid said. “They want to be able to live, and it’s very expensive there.”
To continue attracting new families, Anshei Sfard will participate in a the Orthodox Union’s Virtual Committee Relocation Fair on Feb. 13. Some 65 cities will have “virtual booths,” gathering to entice young families to their communities.
Established in 1892, Anshei Sfard held services first at 7th and Market streets, then at 511 South First Street, before purchasing property on Dutchmans Lane adjoining the JCC campus. They would occupy the building for the next 60 years.
The congregation moved to Shalom Towers in 2018 after selling its building to the Jewish Community Center.
While Anshei Sfard is moving to Bardstown Road, it won’t be entirely gone from Dutchmans Lane. Snaid said arrangements have been made to hold one service per month at the JCC to accommodate members living in Almara Circle who will find it difficult to get to the new building.