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Synagogue expansion approved by BOC
Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Levi Mentz speaks Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, during an event to unveil plans for a new synagogue campus. - photo by Ben Hendren

Forsyth County’s first synagogue has been approved for a major expansion project.

At a regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 17, Forsyth County Commissioners unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for Chabad of Forsyth to expand and operate a place of worship, a parochial school and a daycare center in buildings totaling 60,650 square feet with 90 total parking spaces on 9.99 acres at 785 and 795 Brannon Road.

“I just want to stand here and say, on the Jewish calendar this is actually the last day of the year, and in our tradition, we say everything goes after the end,” said Rabbi Levi Mentz. “This year has been a dark year, and we thought about the amount of light we could bring tonight, on the last day on the biblical calendar to this county that will not only shed light to the families of this county, not only shed light to all of the communities in this county, will shed light to the state of Georgia and this great country.”

Mentz said the approval was a historic moment for the county and the county’s Jewish community and a groundbreaking ceremony will be held during Chanukah on Sunday, Dec. 13.

Plans for the proposed project include a café, 2,000 square feet of office space, an 8,000-square-foot school/daycare, a 6,000-square-foot social hall, 5,000 square feet for a sanctuary and a 29,000 square foot synagogue for Chabad of Forsyth.

Earlier this year, Congregation Beth Israel and Chabad of Forsyth hosted an event to debut plans for the facility, which will replace the existing Congregation Beth Israel building at 795 Brannon Road and is expected to cost about $4.7 million, which will be raised by the congregation.  

Congregation Beth Israel came together in 2016 with members meeting in a local business and, in 2017, opened the current synagogue, the first in Forsyth County.  

The proposal cleared the county’s planning board in August, where speakers including neighbors and members of the congregation spoke in favor of the project.