The Choosing People

by Roselyn Allen, August 25, 2021

Choice, selection, range, variety, option, preference, pick, array, diversity, alternative… a set of words from which you may discern today’s topic.

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is about choice; that gift of free will to choose to bite that apple…or not, has followed us through the millennia.

Pick a card.
Door number 1 or number 2.
Choose your career, your car, your spouse…

Through the last 18 months or so, many of us feel like we have lost that free will. The choice to travel or not, to go to the mall or a boutique or an online shop, to visit our family and friends, to go to a concert or a restaurant or a movie theatre, to go in to work or not… at various times during the last 18 months, these choices just weren’t available.

Sometimes it felt like we were given a choice – we went through surveys and decision trees to decide if we wanted our kids in online or in-person schooling… but even if we chose to send the kids to school, we mostly ended up online. I suppose it was nice to think we had a choice.

On the bright side, in Ontario, over 75% of those eligible have elected to be vaccinated for COVID19. This appears to have had the affect we were hoping for and, though we may be approaching yet another wave of the COVID cycle, hospitalization rates are affected for the better due to vaccines.

Solel offered less choice than we’d hoped for as well during the darkest days of COVID – would you care to watch Solel’s livestreamed services from our website, Facebook or YouTube? We were very lucky to have a professional staff and volunteers who allowed us to have that choice and eventually we had a plethora of programs to choose from, on our Zoom platform.

Since the first weekend in August, Solel congregation now offers the choice of in person vs. live streamed services. We recognize that we all have different comfort levels with regards to COVID. We’ve tried to make being in our sanctuary in person as stress free as possible and adherent to public health guidelines by requiring all attendees to be double vaccinated, pre-register for services, fill out screening questionnaires, wear masks, sit 6 feet from those who aren’t members of their own households, and take prepackaged Oneg outside. And though there’s no choice in how to attend in person services, we rely on our hybrid model, of simultaneously streaming online, to give people an option to attend in person or not.

So now you can attend in person, or at home in your pajamas, or on the dock at your cottage or however you’d like. And the same goes for High Holiday services – we are happy to have you at home or in person through Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

While you’ve fewer choices over the last 18 months, we’re thankful you continue to choose Solel as your Jewish home.

Filed under: President's Message

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