JOANNE RATHE/GLOBE STAFF/FILE
Congregation Mishkan Tefila voted overwhelmingly Sunday to sell its synagogue building and 24 acres in Newton to Boston College, with the sale expected to be finalized by the end of May.
Congregation president Paul Gershkowitz said more than 80 percent of the congregation voted, and more than 90 percent favored the sale of the property at 300 Hammond Pond Parkway in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood.
The decision comes two weeks after the Newton Board of Aldermen made it clear that any plans Boston College may have to build on the undeveloped portion of the land will be met with strong opposition.
Approximately 13 acres of the congregation’s property is undeveloped and is wedged in the middle of the Webster Conservation Area, which is used by hikers, dog walkers, and kids exploring.
“The congregation has been the steward of the land up until now, and we’re hoping Boston College will continue as a responsible partner with the city,” Gershkowitz said Monday.
Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said Monday the university would have no comment on the property until the sale is final.
Dunn said in August, when the purchase was announced, that BC is interested in using the building for administrative functions and the lots for university parking.
“Once the sale is finalized, we will begin to make appropriate decisions on the best use of the property for the university,” he wrote Monday in an e-mail to the Globe.
The two sides said the congregation can stay until 2019 if necessary, while the university looks at its options.
“Over the past four months I’ve heard from a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, what a pity Mishkan Tefila is done,’ ” said Gershkowitz.
“But people don’t understand, yes we are moving from the building, and we understand how important this building has been to our congregation for decades and generations, but it is only a building, and a building does not make a community,” he said. “The people are what make the community.”
Built in the 1950s on land acquired from the state next to The Mall at Chestnut Hill, the once thriving Conservative synagogue has seen its congregation shrink by more than half over the years. Declining membership makes the large synagogue building, which is in need of repairs and renovation, no longer financially viable, according to Gershkowitz.
“We are entering a period of visioning and looking at how we can continue to be a thriving, relevant Jewish community,” he said. “I am excited about our opportunities.”
There will likely be snow in the air from roughly midnight tonight all the way through the mid-to-late afternoon on Monday.Continue reading »
A federal jury last year found that State Police unfairly denied a black applicant. Now, he wants a judge to order the agency to give him a job.Continue reading »
The renowned institution where Boston Celtics and amateur athletes alike go sits amid two of Boston’s neediest neighborhoods. Yet just a tiny fraction of its patients are poor.Continue reading »
Gerald Alston, who served 11 years on the Brookline Fire Department, was fired in October 2016.Continue reading »
MGH is joining a growing number of US medical centers that are constructing private rooms, often at significant cost, to give patients and caregivers more privacy.Continue reading »
Paula Sharaga, 69, of Cambridge worked in public libraries in Brookline and Holliston, her husband said.Continue reading »
The McGraths are determined that 2-year-old Colin McGrath’s spirit will endure, by giving back to a community that rallied around them after Colin’s death last year.Continue reading »
An ethics expert warns that Conan Harris and Ayanna Pressley will have to be mindful to avoid any potential ethical and political pitfalls.Continue reading »
At issue is the practice in which clerk magistrates decide behind closed doors whether to approve charges before suspects are publicly arraigned.Continue reading »