What’s Your WHY?

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, October 26, 2016

Dear Solelniks,

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah I spoke about visioning and dreams, meaning matterness and community: At a certain level, people come to participate in synagogue life because of WHAT we do – but on a deeper level, they stay and get involved because of WHY we do it. At our core, I believe that synagogues should be purpose driven, a place where you can find meaning, matterness and purpose. Solel’s answers to WHY are different, unique. Solel is a place of sacred community, a place where God dwells. Most of all, Jewish community is about the excitement of learning Torah, of loving God, and walking the path of Torah in all that we do. It is a Judaism that it is not incidental, but a way of life, a path on which we are continually moving, evolving and deepening our commitments. It is a place where you matter, where we deepen relationships with one another and our Judaism is transformational, not transactional, where we find spiritual and cultural connection, meaning and purpose. The Solel of the future is about taking seriously these dreams and fears, being a place where we can go that is authentic and will respond spiritually to our joys and sorrows. It means being a Jewish center for our community that has depth and is serious about living and learning, and will welcome you, no matter where you are on your Jewish journey – whether you have been steeped in the tradition since birth, or are returning after a long time, are not Jewish yourself but are raising Jewish children, or have never had much Jewish connection until now – and will provide real Jewish experiences. It is about living in the midst of a welcoming and understanding group of people for whom Judaism is central and who value the sacredness of that call.”

During the past year together, with our leadership, we have been engaged in conversations asking the questions of WHY? We are looking to our history, and our current practices, to shape our vision together by ensuring that our “what” matches our “why”. And so on Rosh Hashanah morning, I invited two of our fellow Solelniks, Dan Moskowitz, and Robbin Botnick, to share their responses to these questions:

Why Solel? (What is the importance of Jewish community in your life in general, Solel in particular) What does it mean that Solel is here? That you are here? What would it mean if Solel was not here? What gives meaning, purpose and vision to our lives that is directly due to Solel community in your life/ your family’s life? What will/do you want the Solel of the future to look like? What makes you get up in the morning, ready to come here for prayer, for a bar mitzvah, for a board or task force meeting, for a social gathering, for Bet Sefer, for an adult study group, etc….

We were honoured to hear from Robbin and Dan, who shared very moving, eloquent, and thoughtful stories about why Solel is such an important part of their life journeys. Now it’s your turn: I would love to hear your responses to these questions – tell us what Solel means to you, what’s your answer to WHY. Together we are visioning and dreaming the Solel of the future. Send me your thoughts and we will share them in our eShammas and our website.


Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

Filed under: Rabbi's Message

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