The Miracles That Surround Us

by Robbin Botnick, November 28, 2018

Gratitude and miracles, two things that we can use more of in this world. As we begin the transition from the season of thanksgiving and gratitude to the season of miracles I think about all that I have to be thankful for and for the miracles that surround us every day.

Following the atrocities of Pittsburgh I found myself fearful of the world. It is hard not to get caught up in fear but I have spent the last couple of weeks looking for good. I will be the first to say that I get caught up in my own life, embroiled in the day to day, not always paying as much attention to what is really happening around me as I should. Pittsburgh reminded me that we have an obligation to pay attention and paying attention has made me realize that I have a lot to be grateful for. What happened in Pittsburgh was a senseless tragedy, but what happened after Pittsburgh restored some of my faith in humanity. I saw this humanity on a cold Shabbat morning a few weeks ago. For some the Ring of Peace was viewed as somewhat of a political statement, but for many, it was viewed as an expression of hope. I was overwhelmed at the attendance and support we received from our interfaith community and our neighbours as they formed a Ring of Peace in front of Solel. Talking to many of those who came out, they all had the same message, “We are here because we want you to know that we care, that we support you and we will stand with you against hate and anti-Semitism”. They came from churches and mosques and schools and community groups and 200 strong they showed the community that we stand together. I am grateful to everyone who continues to spread the message of peace and for those who not only believe we can live together in peace and harmony but whose actions demonstrate this. I am also grateful for the support that we as a congregation have received from the Peel Police. This is a difficult time but we have strong friends. Officers from 11 and 22 Division have been talking to us about how we can work together to keep our community safe and we have been working with them to create safety plans for Solel. In a show of support, officers are also spending more time patrolling near Solel and dropping in during special events to meet with our community. When officers do come in, please say hello and thank them for their efforts.

The oil lasted for eight days, this is the miracle of Chanukah. There are many stories of miracles, but I believe that miracles happen every day, we just don’t always recognize them. Some come in the form of acts and deeds, people who make a difference, with no recognition and nothing to gain, other than to make the lives of others better. As a Solenik I am also grateful for all of the work that Solelniks do every day in Solel and in our community. To all of the members of our committees and their leaders, who work so hard on behalf of Solel, I am grateful, for the countless hours that you spend. I appreciate that at times this work seems somewhat thankless and that you do not always get the turn out for events that you are looking for but please know, that you are making a difference, and even if you impact only one life for the better, that is a small miracle.

I am also thankful for my Solel friends and family. Earlier this summer when I lost my job and subsequently found a new one, I was so grateful to be able to reach out to some of my Solel friends for guidance and support and wine. Solel is more than a building it is people. The miracle of community is that it is here for you when you need it.

Finally I am grateful for family, blood relatives and all those who have become family over the years. I am grateful that no matter the circumstance my family will always be there.

On the grey days we need to remember all that we have to be grateful for and look for the miracles that surround us every day.


Filed under: President's Message

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