Arliene’s Distinguished Educator Award

by John Lewsen, January 1, 2023

“And these words that I command you today shall be upon your heart.
You are to teach them to your children and you are to discuss them, ….”

– Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

I first met Arliene Botnick in 1994 at an Erev Shabbat service after speaking to her on the phone about membership. She assured me that I would not need to ask for her as she would know who I was as soon as I walked in. Not only does Arliene know virtually everyone who is, or has been a member of Solel, but over the past 35 years has taught most of us and our children.

Arliene has been a teacher for her entire adult life. She started in her early 20s as a supply teacher after graduating from UofT and then became a teacher at the North York Board of Education. As a parent of five children in Bet Sefer Solel, Arliene learned Hebrew and then began teaching grade 4 Hebrew and Grade 6 Judaica at Solel. After the death of her husband in 1986, she left her position in the North York Board of Education to become Solel’s third Educational Director — and simultaneously earned her M. Ed at OISE and the designation “Reform Jewish Educator” from the National Association of Temple Educators.

Arliene’s role has broadened greatly over the years and now includes overseeing the education of our children, adult education, interfaith and community involvement and pastoral care. Anybody who goes into her tiny but crowded office will be astounded at how, in no time, she manages to find any piece of paper she needs. Her mind is equally impressive. She has an incredible memory of what needs to be done and by whom. Solel’s school has thrived under her leadership because of her energy, dedication, and commitment to Reform Judaism – as well as her connections with our members and the broader community.

Arliene is an avid proponent of the notion that “We teach our own”. Over the years she has personally taught and prepared several hundred B’nei Mitzvah students and coached, and encouraged numerous Solel parents, and alumni to join her dedicated faculty of avocational teachers. In addition, Solel and Bet Sefer Solel have had the benefit of each of her children’s and 13 grandchildren’s tireless contributions.

Our Board of Directors is delighted that Arliene is being recognized by the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE) as one of their Distinguished Educators. This year’s three ARJE Distinguished Educator nominees will receive their award during their annual “Celebration of Educators” gathering in Houston, Texas on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at 6:00 PM (central time). We hope you will join us virtually for this ceremony by registering here.

Arliene, you do us proud. We thank you for your enthusiasm and extraordinary reach within Solel our broader faith communities. On behalf Solel’s Board and membership, Mazel-Tov on your well-deserved recognition.


Filed under: President's Message

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