Solel@50: Thanks to All!

by John Lewsen, July 1, 2024

Le’enay kol-yisra’el “before the eyes of all Israel”. These are the concluding words of Torah, taken from Deuteronomy 34:9.

Being part of our June 16 closing Solel@50 Living Torah Installation celebration and witnessing the completion of the final words of our new Living Torah on Sunday, was a unique day in my life that I will always remember. It started with Brenda and I meeting and welcoming our Soferet, Rabbi Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli as she arrived at Pearson Airport from New York carrying a small gym bag that contained the completed roll of Torah parchments that she had so beautifully scribed for Solel over the past 3 years.

Then after arriving at Solel, we got to see Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli carefully attaching the scrolls using thread made from animal sinew to the Atzei Chayim (Wooden Handles) that had been so meticulously crafted out of cherry wood by Joel Brown. And then together, they rolled the entire Torah from one end to the other and back again.

What followed was an afternoon of animated festivity and joy as members and guests arrived at Solel, got to meet and talk to the Soferet and then witnessed her scribe the final words of the book of Deuteronomy “before the eyes of all Israel” using a quill that she had fashioned from a wild turkey feather. Once the ink had dried, the Torah was rolled and dressed for the beautifully meaningful and joyful Siyyon service and speeches led by Rabbi Pollack. This was truly an outstanding conclusion to our Solel at 50 celebrations that started with that first festive opening event on September 30 through a series of monthly services celebrating the many different aspects and history of our Solel community.

This year of celebrations could not have happened without the dedicated contributions of so many individuals and teams of volunteers, and our Board’s thanks go to each of you for your thoughtful contributions to this year of commemoration. Huge thanks go to Roz Allen, our Past President and Chair of the Solel@50 Committee.

Continuing alphabetically by last name, our thanks go to all who contributed to the success of our Solel@50 celebrations:

Sherry Amar
Arliene Botnick
Robbin Botnick
Joel Brown
Chris Cerar
Cheryl Englander
Rabbi Emeritus Larry Englander
Andrea Galambos
Rita Grossman Halporn
Zach Harper
Gavin Herman
Frank Kay
Michael Kulbak
Brenda Lewsen
Jane Neveleff
Dennis Norton
Ruth Ostrower
Rabbi Audrey Pollack
Nillon Ross
Beverley Rothschild
Les Rothschild
Lena Rule
Linda Sage Alexander
Miriam Schoeman
Debra Stoch
Eleanor Stoch
Jayne Temple
Marla Stoch
Carol Van Thyn
Leo Van Thyn
Michael Van Thyn
Jocelyn Webber
Emma Weizenbluth
Crystal Wong-Kruger
Women of Solel

From planning great events to arranging flowers, picking up cookies, washing dishes… everything you did was important to making Solel@50 a great success. We are truly blessed by having such a dedicated team of Solel employees and volunteers who contribute their expertise and time to our community in so many ways. As I recheck this list of volunteers, I still have a nagging fear that I have inadvertently omitted some names. If you have contributed in any way and I have not included you, please don’t be shy to let me know ( so that I can still thank you personally and then add a P.S. recognition with my next blog….

May the next 50 years be as good for Solel and may our newly installed Torah inspire and teach all of us and many future generations of Solel members. May we also continue to be blessed with so many willing and skilled volunteers who bring Torah to life at Solel.


Filed under: President's Message

« Read more articles