A New Day Dawning

by Joel Brown, May 29, 2016

The past few years have seen a lot of change at Solel. In recent years, we’ve dealt with the retirement of our founding rabbi, undertaken major repairs to our building and a coped with some of the financial pressures which naturally follow these kinds of events. Despite all of this, we’ve managed to remain true to ourselves by focusing on those things which Solelniks value most:

  • Teaching our children and being life-long learners
  • Building supportive friendships
  • Celebrating Jewish culture and spirituality in a modern, egalitarian way which nevertheless respects our proud traditions
  • Building bridges to other faith communities
  • Mending the world through social action, and
  • Providing a warm, welcoming, caring home for Jews from all parts of the GTA and beyond.

Despite all of the challenges we’ve faced over the past few years, and in particular as we’ve come through our rabbinic transition, I’m proud and delighted to say that we currently have a lot to be happy about. Our community has a renewed sense of optimism and vibrancy. We have come through the emotional times of transition, and a new day is dawning for Solel.

We have an awful lot to be happy about and proud of, for example: Our Hebrew School, Bet Sefer Solel, remains the envy of synagogues everywhere. Our service attendance has been much stronger than in the past several years. We have many successful programs, including: Kuddle Up Shabbat, which is bringing a lot of young families and new families into the synagogue, allowing them to build strong connections with each other. We have great religious and educational programs for both kids and adults, including our Chanukah and Purim holiday services, amongst many others. And we have fun social events like our recent and highly successful “Wok This Way” dinner. Most important of all, Solel remains the caring, compassionate, supportive place which we all know and love.

As much as we love our shared Jewish home, we never stop looking for ways to make it even better. We’ve streamlined our operations by finding better, more cost effective ways of running the synagogue. We’ve modernized many of our communications, making it easier for members to find out what’s going on and for visitors and potential members to find out what we’re all about. And very importantly, we’ve taken major steps to renew our proud tradition of supporting tikkun olam by building new bridges with our Invite Your Neighbour Service, with our continued work with Pathway, and especially by working to bring an Iraqi refugee family to Canada. All of these are very positive signs which point the way to an even brighter future for Solel.

As we move forward, we need to ensure that Solel will continue to have strong leadership. That means clarifying our vision, and it means building our leadership capacity by giving the next generation of Solel’s leaders the tools they need to take on the challenges which we will face in the future. Your Board of Directors has already started on this important work, and we expect to make significant progress in the coming year.

Now is the time to dedicate ourselves to sharpening our focus on the future and to continue to build on the positive momentum created by the many successes of this past year.

The Tanakh teaches us that, after the death of Moses, our ancestors found themselves near the end of an enormous transition, a whole generation spent wandering in the wilderness. They’d found for themselves a new leader, Joshua, and despite a lot of trepidation and uncertainty, God reassured them that all would be well. But, as we all know, their rosy future was won with a lot of hard work along the way.

As Solelniks, we have many challenges yet to overcome, but we have an enviable base on which to build. We have an open, welcoming, compassionate community. We have a strong and substantial group of dedicated volunteers. Our Hebrew school and our Educator are the best around. And boy, did our Transition Team do a great job of finding us a spectacular Rabbi!

Although we may have had a rough couple of years, we have clearly turned the corner and, working together, we will ensure that our future will indeed be bright. I invite each and every one of you to join us in building this bright new day for Solel, together.

Filed under: President's Message

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