Why Am I Here?

by Robbin Botnick, June 4, 2017

From remarks make at the Board Installation Service, Friday, June 2, 2017:

As I take on a new leadership role at Solel I must begin by thanking Joel Brown who has worked so hard over the last 3 years as president, and several years before that, on behalf of Solel. Joel has lived Solel with his heart and soul and his dedication and commitment to our congregation is far beyond the role of president. Joel led us through the difficult time of rabbinical transition and helped Solel to remain strong and vibrant. On behalf the board and the entire congregation I would like to thank Joel for all that he has done and all that he will continue to do for Solel. As for me, as I begin this new journey I would like to share an excerpt from my remarks at the Installation Service:

“It is not enough for me to ask questions; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?” Abraham Joshua Heschel

I am using this quote as my own personal Torah Study for this year. As I start to think about how to answer this question, I have to ask myself why? Why I am here?

WHY? I am fortunate to have grown up in Solel. My family joined the congregation in 1975 and I am very proud to say that my mother and all of my brothers and sisters and their families are still active members of Solel.

WHY? Because the greatest sadness in my life was the sudden loss of my father when I was 18 years old and the Solel community supported my mother and my family during this terrible time.

WHY? Because one of the greatest joys and the greatest fortunes in my life is, having my entire immediate family live within 20 km of each other, our children have grown up more as sisters and brothers than as cousins, my mother has been a large part of our lives and the lives of our children and Solel continues to bind us all together.

WHY? Because the greatest role model in my life is my mother who is one of the most caring, compassionate, brilliant and giving people I know and I want to be just like her when I grow up. And in the pecking order, it is her grandchildren and then Solel and then her kids.
WHY? Because perhaps I took to heart, L’dor va’dor, from generation to generation, and I honour my parents as I take on a leadership role in a congregation that has been such an integral part of our lives.

I am here because for 44 years we have had volunteers and teachers who have worked hard to grow and develop our congregation. I am here because we have had board members and committee members who truly want to serve our community both inside and outside of Solel. I am here because we have very dedicated staff, both Carol and Neelan support Solel every day. I am here because we have been fortunate to have a founding Rabbi Emeritus who still considers Solel his family and our Rabbi Pollack and her husband Phil and their family, who have quickly become part of our family. I am here because I want to be part of all of this. I am here because 19 past presidents cared deeply about Solel and left a legacy for me to carry on.

I am here because 5 Directors of Education were passionate about teaching our own.

And I am here because I would like to pass the future of Solel onto our children, and they will learn by seeing the example we set, L’dor Va’dor.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to be President of this congregation and I am committed to ensuring that Solel continues to thrive. There are many things that I do not know but I am committed to working with the board and with our committees and our professional staff to continue to build our Solel. The goals of the board over the next two years will be to continue to grow our future leaders; To focus on membership growth and ensure that we are meeting the needs of our current members; To ensure financial sustainability; To develop and execute a plan to update our building and ensure that our updates make our building more accessible; To continue to focus on Bet Sefer Solel; And to work together to ensure that Solel is a place where we honour and respect diversity, where we ensure that we create an inclusive and welcoming environment and a safe place to study, pray and gather together as a community.

“It is not enough for me to ask questions; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?”


Filed under: President's Message

« Read more articles