Solel Engaging with the Community

by Robbin Botnick, March 5, 2018

Recently I had the opportunity to attend two wonderful community events. The first event was The Peel Community Engagement and Dialogue Dinner, sponsored by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute.

The Intercultural Dialogue Institute is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advance social cohesion via (through) personal interaction by promoting respect and mutual understanding among people of all cultures and faiths through dialogue and partnership. Intercultural Dialogue Institute aims to promote enduring interfaith and intercultural cooperation, tolerance and dialogue by sharing our differences and similarities in an effort to enhance civil society, to promote the development of human values, and to advance diversity and multiculturalism in the society.

I attended this event with Rabbi Pollack and Arliene Botnick. The event was attended by a large and culturally diverse group of people from the Peel area. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to so many interesting people during the evening and with every conversation I felt a little more connected. I learned not only about their religious communities but about their children, where they work, the challenges they faced trying to get their education and qualifications recognized in Canada and the difficulties they endured as newcomers to Canada. I recognized that we share so many of the same values, we love our children and we want to give them as much as we can to allow them to be happy and successful. We all want to use our talents and skills to find careers that allow us to take care of our families and make meaningful contributions to our society. Every conversation reminded not of how we were different but how we are the same.

The second event was of course Solel’s own Invite Your Neighbour Service. I would be remiss to not start by thanking everyone who worked so hard to put this service together to ensure that all of our guests and Solelniks felt welcome. We had upwards of 225 people attend the service and from start to finish it was a spectacular evening. The Rabbi did a wonderful job of explaining the service and walking through each part. The visual tefillah, supported by Joel Brown, allowed everyone to easily follow along as a community. Cheryl Shine, Leo Van Thyne and the members of the religious committee put together a wonderful evening and everyone who helped with the set-up, the baking, the greeting the clean-up and everything in between, truly showed the community spirit that Solel has. The service was such a strong indication that yes, we are a diverse community, but one that values our diversity and learns from our differences. During the Q&A at the end of the service we heard from many in the community, Sikh and Christian and Muslim alike, that many of our values and learnings were the same. We share so many collective values and I know that we are making a difference and that these types of events really do bring the members of our community closer together. At Solel we are helping to create a world of understanding, and I hope, a world where we all recognize that we can live in peace together and that our differences only create a more vibrant fabric.

Solel has long been a leader in welcoming the community into our Sanctuary to allow us to all learn from each other. As a community we are actively engaged in teaching others about our Jewish culture and equally wanting to learn about other communities and cultures. If you were unable to attend the service this year, mark your calendars for next year, as it is an evening truly worth attending.


Here are some pictures from the Peel Community Engagement and Dialogue Dinner…

Peel Community Engagement and Dialogue Dinner

Peel Community Engagement and Dialogue Dinner

Peel Community Engagement and Dialogue Dinner

Filed under: President's Message

« Read more articles