Even Covid Has a Silver Lining

by Roselyn Allen, October 1, 2020

As the Yomim Nora’im come to an end, I reflect on 5780 and look forward to 5781.

Last year was…trying for sure. COVID19 has turned the world upside down in many ways. We have remained a strong Solel community and there are many positives to focus on.

Rabbi and Arliene have managed the transition to online programs and meetings, with Bet Sefer classes online this fall. We have had the opportunity to meet with members of our sister congregation, Darchei Noam, on equal footing through our Zoom meetings, not to mention regular Solel programs to keep us on track together.

Along with Rabbi and Arliene, Carol has had to adjust to having a great part of the office work done at her house since our building has been closed. But since we aren’t in the building anyway, we are disrupting our operations minimally as renovations have started this week at Solel. When we meet again in person, our bathrooms and lobby will be reconfigured and beautified. What better time to do this?

Robbin Botnick, Jen Smith and Shauna Skryzlo worked to pull together lovely Rosh Hashanah gifts for the congregation. They obtained donations for the honey, apples, and printed prayers and cards with personal messages from Rabbi Pollack. Volunteers drove these packages and hand delivered them. We have received so many messages about how the gifts made congregants feel close to Solel, how they felt they weren’t alone at the holidays.

I also received many messages about how lovely the services were this year. Our High Holiday chairs, Leo van Thyn and Cheryl Shine, led a team of creative voices. Necessity is the mother of invention and moving to an on line format forced us to do what we could to make a meaningful experience. It was great seeing so many different faces and places. I’m sure many of these innovations will be brought forward, no matter how services are delivered.

And I must call out one particular person, without whom the delivery of online services would have been impossible. Joel Brown and his team worked tirelessly to ensure the technology was up to snuff for the program we wanted to bring you. The layout of the video with text, the editing of each piece with transitions, down to the soothing colour scheme of the presentation were mastered by Joel and we can’t thank him enough for his most impressive efforts. Joel lives by the adage “When life gives you COVID, make COmmunity VIDeo!”

We’ve had a hard slog through 5780, as has everyone. Six or seven months ago, we really didn’t know how we’d get through the shutdowns, layoffs, and general fear of the future. But we had great and thoughtful staff and volunteers to bring us through the High Holidays, into our long awaited renovations, toward a bright future.

As the song goes “The sun’ll come out tomorrow.” And it has. Shanah Tovah.

Filed under: President's Message

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