Solel – One Busy Place

by Arliene Botnick, October 31, 2022

Solel is one busy place. I thought I’d like to fill you in on some of the amazing things that have been done in the past few weeks and just remind you of a few upcoming events. There is also one very special reminder. Many of our programs have received support from the Aaron Tarek Memorial Fund. For those of you who may not have known Aaron, he was an amazing young man whom we lost at far too young an age. He became a bar mitzvah at Solel; he graduated from our confirmation program; and then he went on to be one of the most exceptionally involved and reliable office assistants in our school. In his memory, a fund was established many years ago by his family, and when we have our special programs or events or guest speakers, we are able to benefit from this fund to make sure that all our programs are accessible to every Solelnik. I want to again thank Aaron’s mother Linda and his father Morris and his sister Aleesha and let them know that we will always remember a wonderful young man who was so much a part of the fabric of Solel.

The first program I want to make sure you know about is our amazing trip to Cincinnati on Nov 21-23 with 11 of our senior Chai school students and six more senior students from Har Zion synagogue. Rabbi Pollack and the clergy from Har Zion and I traveled in a fun filled coach ride to Cincinnati with our perennial bus driver Phyllis. Our kids had the privilege and the opportunity to attend services at Hebrew Union College (the birthplace of Reform Judaism in North America) and hear the sermon given by a student graduating from her final year at the College. The students were given a tour of the American Jewish Archives where they saw a cablegram that had been sent to the US in 1942 telling the President of the dire events happening under the Nazi Regime. No action was taken on that cablegram unfortunately. The students also saw the infamous menu from the “traife banquet” hosted by Rabbi Meyer Wise for the 1st 4 graduates of Hebrew Union College. Our students also had a chance to study with us both Friday evening and Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, after the catered lunch, we were able to visit the Freedom Museum and the grandiose Plum Street Temple, where we were given a complete tour by Rabbi Kamrass. None of the kids could count, though they really tried, how many lightbulbs are lit in the temple, and you must visit it yourself and you can count them! We had our traditional walk towards the Ohio river on whose shore the Freedom Museum is located – the point of entry for the historic Underground Railway – and of course we stopped for Starbucks ON THE WAY! That evening, after our catered dinner and Havdalah, the students and adults all walked together to Graeters’ Ice Cream Parlor and had a delicious ice cream feast. In the hotel where we were all staying, the students had a chance to socialize, to get to know one another and to be with new Jewish friends. Many said that it was a special experience to be able to talk openly about being Jewish.

Continuing the theme of Jewish children getting together, on Saturday evening Oct 29, with the help of Michael Van Thyn and Hillary Kudlatz and Eleanor Stoch (and the Rabbi and I), we had another youth event for our students in grade 5,6 and seven. It was a hotdog and potato chip feast, with a song filled Havdalah service. And each child was able to spend time carving a pumpkin to take home. The evening ended with the students watching the newest Ghostbusters movie. We are planning more youth events for this age group, and if you have any ideas or wish to help plan, please contact us at Solel.

And Education is a lifelong opportunity! Our adults had a thought-provoking Lunch and Learn presentation by Honest Reporting on Tues Oct 25. We learned about how the organization deals with the abundance of misinformation about Israel and Jews in the press, and how the efforts of Honest Reporting have been able to have retracted many antisemitic and anti-Jewish rhetoric in the media. For future programming, we will be having another lunch and learn on November 29 at 11:30 on zoom where Rabbi Englander will be talking about MAID (medical assistance in dying). And we will learn what the responsa is from the Reform Movement to this very complicated concept. This session will hopefully answer many of the questions that you have asked us and perhaps set your minds at ease!

For those of you who like reading, our next book review will be Monday, November 14 on zoom, and it’s a big book, so please start reading. It is a continuation of the story we began when we read “The Golem and the Jenni last year and this one is called “The Hidden Palace”. We learn that love and life even are complicated for mystical creatures like a Golem and a Jinni. And before the end of the secular year, of course, we will be having a number of services where our students will be participating; there will be lunches for families; we have Shabbat dinners coming up and one timely reminder, Friday, November 11, 8 PM service, both live stream and live stream, ( preceded by a Shabbat dinner at 6:15 – registration needed) we will be acknowledging Kristallnacht and we will see a taped interview between our rabbi and a young man named Avi Wisnia as he tells us a little bit about his grandfather’s story upon which an award winning movie is based …How Saba Kept Singing. Avi‘s grandfather survived the concentration camps because he had such a beautiful singing voice. It is an amazing and uplifting story! We are hoping in the Spring to get the movie here once it is officially released, but the presentation on the 11th will give you a real sense of the Wisnia survival story. And I’m going to end the way I began. Many of these programs are costly and many of our speakers do get honorariums. As well, our children get financial support to attend some events. The Aaron Tarek fund helps make all this possible and any support you can give that fund would be greatly appreciated! Hope to see as many of you as possible at our upcoming events

Filed under: Educator's Message

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