What’s buzzing in my mind as the AGM approaches?

by John Lewsen, March 31, 2024

As we move towards the May 6 AGM, here are some of the many Solel activities and initiatives that have been keeping me and other Solel leaders busy:

Who is going to run things next year?
Solel’s nominating committee met several times over the past few weeks to consider potential board candidates and our future board leadership needs. After lively and constructive discussion and calls to potential candidates, we are now ready to share a proposed slate of directors to the board which will include a robust and diverse team of new and returning members. Thanks go to my fellow nominating committee members: Andrea Galambos, Chris Bowden, Jayne Temple, Joel Brown, Susanne Chir-Stimpson, and to Roselyn Allen, who as Chair, kept this lively group focused and on task. Stay tuned for further information in the AGM notice and package that you will receive shortly. We are fortunate to have a strong and committed leadership group at Solel.

Celebrating our Sacred Space: what are some of our future priorities?
The focus of our next Solel at 50 event will be on celebrating our sacred space and starting a conversation about our wish list for future enhancements. We have invited the team who helped us with our renovation, G Architects and Ritestart Construction. They will talk to us about the process we used to identify and manage the costs of our top priorities, and how we used the COVID shutdown time to start and complete our recent renovation. These are the skills that we will continue to draw on as we identify, plan, and consult members about prioritizing Solel’s future needs.

How does one proofread a new Torah?
Our Soferet, Rabbi Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli has completed the writing of our new Torah, and is now at the proofreading and correction stage. We have invited her to join us on a Zoom meeting to tell us about her experience over the past few years as she scribed our Torah. On April 16 she will give us a sneak preview of what the pages will look like, how corrections are made, and how to sew the scroll and assemble the Torah. She will also show where she has space left for donors perform the mitzvah of writing a word of Torah. This Zoom event will be an opportunity to bring your questions as we see our Living Torah coming to Life — and to hear some ideas for identifying a word, verse or parashah that you might want to sponsor. Watch the Weekly Shammas for more details.

Police and Pizza!
Since October 7, safety and security have been top of mind. Solel members are understandably concerned about our safety and security. We have taken many measures including maintaining regular contact with Peel Regional Police. This month we will be hosting a Sunday Police and Pizza event at Solel to hear the voices of congregants and to hear from the police how they are helping protect Solel and other religious institutions as they monitor and manage community safety and hate crimes. We will talk about the physical and other security enhancements we have made, and Peel Police will be talking about their role in supporting our community and sharing some tips on best practices. More details to follow.

What is ONCA?
The Government of Ontario has updated Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) to make board and member meetings and record-keeping easier for nonprofit entities. With the generous guidance and support of Denis Frawley our board is currently reviewing and making some minor updates to our Constitution that will bring us into full conformity with the new legislation before the October deadline. As these relatively minor technical changes are necessary for us to maintain our not-for-profit status, they will be explained and presented to the AGM for approval.

Filed under: President's Message

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