Pesach, Springtime and Renewal

by John Lewsen, March 31, 2023

Here we are: individuals remembering a shared past and in pursuit of a shared destiny. The Seder is a protest against despair.”*

As Pesach approaches, we are starting to see encouraging hints of Spring. By early May we should know that the cold weather is truly behind us when we see the fresh white flowers of the ornamental cherry in Solel’s gardens.

Over the decades many Soleniks have contributed trees, plants, time, and landscaping expertise to create a welcoming environment as we enter the synagogue. These include the now 40-foot-tall Austrian pines that were part of Solel’s original landscaping that provide shade as well as the vista that we see from inside our sanctuary. More recent planting along the wall as you approach Solel from the parking lot includes a hybrid Dogwood and Japanese Stewartia, both with large white flowers that will sprout in early summer.

For the past several years Jocelyn Webber with the help of Aviva Tamari and others has been instrumental in maintaining and transforming many of the flower beds. After giving generously of her time and love of plants, Jocelyn is now hanging up her Solel gardening gloves. We are deeply grateful to her and feel so fortunate to have the benefit of her dedicated passion and expertise. We also wish to recognize the ongoing innovative work that Brad Brass contributes with his teams of student helpers in creating and expanding areas of low-maintenance sustainable planting.

Our indoor environment too has been enriched over the years by members who have contributed their care and sense of aesthetics to our indoor spaces. Linda Sage-Alexander and Cheryl Englander have spent many days refurbishing and decorating our renovated lobby. Our house committee led by David Gordon and Rita Grossman has led a major decluttering initiative which included building new shelves in the storage areas and installation of a large external shed where we are now able to accommodate infrequently used items. Most recently Dave and others have helped reinstate our display case in the memorial alcove that houses our Judaica collection.

Our thanks go to all who have contributed over the years to the upkeep of Solel. With your help, we have been able to reinforce the message that Solel is a welcoming and special space for our community. The maintenance and renewal of our sacred property is an important mitzvah and one that needs ongoing support and dedication. This has always been a true community effort, and we welcome anyone who would be willing to be part of this going forward.

On behalf of the board, I wish you a Chag Pesach Sameach. We hope for a continued sense of renewal for all of us at Solel and for our liberal reform Jewish communities in Israel and the diaspora. Thinking of Passover as a miracle, we recognize the importance of “small lights in the darkness” which was so well expressed in the accompanying communication featured in this edition of the Shammas by our friends at Darchei No’am in Israel.


* New American Haggadah, edited by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2012 v. Introduction

Filed under: President's Message

« Read more articles