Beginnings, Endings, Continuations…

by Arliene Botnick, May 31, 2018

It formally began on Friday night as Kitah Alef, our grade 4 class, skillfully, with both keva and kavanagh, led services. The “I Can Read Ivrit” service marks the official affirmation and confirmation by our Grade 4 students to become our service leaders.

Although in every earlier grade they had small parts, they led the Alef service in its entirety. Under the skillful and caring teaching team of Julia, Susan, Logan and Lindsay, our 9/10 year-olds amazed us, awed us and we all “quelled”.

The next morning, our Shabbat service was completely led by our Kallah students (our graduating class). This was the official end for these youngsters at Bet Sefer Solel. With poise and skill, they too led the entire service (including chanting from Torah) as they showed that their dedication to Solel and Jewish life has continued well past the Bar/Bat year. With Rabbi Pollock, Brad Bass, Mark and Arliene Botnick as their teachers, these young adults showed how they have truly become knowledgeable in service leadership, while their meditations reflected the challenges that lie ahead of them.

They talked about how difficult it can be to be the ‘only Jew’ in a school, how they often have to both explain and defend their Judaism, how good and comfortable it is when they are amongst other Jews where they can “just be”.

So, once they leave Bet Sefer Solel, where can they find that Jewish Community? Where can they just be “Jews” – no explanation needed?

Of course, the first place is their Jewish home, where they can celebrate Shabbat, light candles, say the brachot. Then, there are the holidays which are also home based – Chanukah, Sukkot, and Rosh Hashana. All of these Jewish times are also celebrated and honoured at Solel: the Friday/Saturday services, the monthly Family and Adult Shabbat Dinners, the Chanukah and Purim parties, the 2nd Passover Seder and so on.

Finally, our school still needs these young people. They are our future and they can role model for our younger kids the dedication and commitment to life-long Jewish learning and living.

Therefore, we invite our graduating class to come back, no longer as students, but as our teachers; not as Bar/Bat Mitzvah learners but as Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutors. We invite them to volunteer to chant or to take any part of many services – just ask the Rabbi!

We invite them to join the many upcoming trips and events we are planning for our senior students next year – Holocaust Study at Earl Bales Park, a possible youth trip to Ottawa, a visit to a Kosher Chinese restaurant in North Toronto and many other activities still in the planning. (We are also open to requests!)

Beginnings, endings, continuations. “I Can Read Ivrit” service, Kallah Graduation – and then we carry on. That’s what we Jews do! It is very important to note that the 4 Alef Teachers are all Solel graduates themselves; 2 graduated many years ago, 1 having graduated last spring, and the last who has been a part of our most recent graduating class this past weekend.

Solel is blessed to have such dedicated students and teachers, and may it continue for generations to come.

Keyn Y’hi Ratzon

Filed under: Educator's Message

« Read more articles