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As I prepared to become president of Temple Solel, I had the privilege of attending the Scheidt Seminar for incoming temple presidents. The four day course sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism, gave over 150 Reform synagogue presidents information about temple functions, congregant engagement, philanthropy, diversity and inclusion, and networking opportunities. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, in his keynote address, said when we serve on the board of our synagogues we are forming sacred partnerships. This is a commitment to building and nurturing relationships that recognizes each of us as individuals and our desire to inspire sacred action in our communities. Sacred partnerships are built and nurtured through the Jewish values of mutual respect, trust, honesty, listening and communication, transparency, confidentiality, flexibility, reflection, empathy, and vulnerability.
טֹובִים הַשְּׁנַיִם מִן הָאֶחָד
Toveem ha’shnayim min ha’echad
Two are better off than one…
As I begin this journey with you let us build sacred partnerships together, partnerships and deepening friendships among temple members, the temple board, our teachers, dedicated staff, beloved clergy and our Executive Director, and let’s together embrace the mission of Temple Solel—to be a vibrant, inclusive and engaged Reform community, grounded in relationships and deeds, and elevated by Shabbat and Torah. We see the divine spark in each individual by together:
- Warmly welcoming all who enter
- Nurturing lifelong learning
- Creating joy through prayer and music
- Celebrating holidays and sharing life cycles
- Fostering a love of Israel, and
- Working for tikkun olam—repairing the world
I’m looking forward to building strong partnerships with Temple Solel’s Board members, those who are remaining on the board and those who are now joining. Our
Executive Committee will include Phil Hawkes-Treasurer, Eve Danoff-Secretary, Lauren Brown-VP Education, Larry Cohen-VP Facilities and Security, Brian Weinberger-VP Legal Affairs and Contracts, Howard Rosen-VP Development, and Madelaine Berg-VP Membership. Remaining Board members are Eric Mininberg and Robert Lipson and newly elected Board members are Becky Lieberman, Dottie Braun Cohen, Phylis Bolno, Jennet Kirkpatrick, Laura Miller, Risa Jacobson, and Stephanie Cherny.
One sacred partnership that has been key to me this past year is my partnership with Doreen Feldberg. She has been a mentor and friend who has generously and patiently brought me up to speed on many varied aspects of Temple Solel. She will be continuing on the board as immediate past president and co-chair of the Personnel Committee and I thank her for her dedication and leadership.
I also want to acknowledge those who have served Temple Solel and are now leaving the board—Bettina Chow, Bobbi Moss, Larry Fink, Judy Gold, Lisa Lerner, and Steve Slogoff. This past year has been one of unforeseen challenges and thanks to the dedication of these volunteers we have come through a difficult time together.
As we move forward I am hoping to form many more sacred partnerships within the Solel community and would love to hear from you. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can set up a one-on-one Zoom meeting at https://calendly.com/rae-rader/rae-s-one-on-one.
As we begin this journey together, let us nurture our sacred partnerships, elevating our work to a level of holiness for the benefit of Temple Solel. Help us build and nurture the Jewish values of respect, trust, transparency, confidentiality, empathy, and forgiveness.
Help us keep our Jewish values at the front of hard conversations and difficult decisions, and remember that our job is to care for our temple but also for one another.
Temple Solel Board President
Amazing America at Camp Solel
This summer CAMP SOLEL will feature different areas of this wonderful country we live in. In case you would like to keep up with our preschoolers, reading books about each area is a great way to get them ready for the week ahead. This will help them relate to what will go on in their class room each week. The weekly areas are as follows:
- June 1-4 AZ–Our Home State
- June 7-11 Way Our West
- June 14-18 Wild Alaska
- June 21-25 Hawaiian Luau
- June 28-July 2 The Great Northeast
- July 6-9 US Territories
- July 12-16 Midwest America
- July 19-23 Southern Charm
Reading is so important to the success of everyone regardless of their age. Reading on grade-level by the end of third grade is one of the most critical milestones in education. Donald Hernandez reported in Double Jeopardy, children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers.
In preschool our job is to instill a love of reading and to increase reading readiness. Here are some easy ways to accomplish this.
- Read to the child.
- Have the child “read” to you. Allow the child to create their own story based on the pictures they see within the book.
- Reread stories multiple times.
- Omit words of a familiar story and allow the child to fill in the blank.
- Allow the child to experiment with words.
- Point to the words on the page as you read out loud to the child. This enables the child to understand that sentences consist of separate words.
What a great way to enjoy time with your children or grandchildren out of the heat this summer.
ENJOY AMERICA and JUST READ!!!!
Mary Ann Bloom
Director of Early Childhood Education
The Role of Parents in Jewish Education
Where does “doing Jewish” happen in your family? Within the realm of Jewish education, whether it be in a day school or a supplemental school, I have seen the pendulum swing from only “cognitive learning” Judaism to “feel good” Judaism. That pendulum has swung back and forth over the years; however, the underlying theme has always been to instill the love of being Jewish!
At Temple Solel, we want our students to love being Jewish. The foundation on which the love of Judaism is built has to come with Jewish knowledge. The knowledge has to be taught, so that as Reform Jews, we can make intelligent choices as to what our practices will look like. Why do we do what we do! Do we have special meals around the New Year, build a Sukkah, dance with the Torah, study Torah, celebrate Hanukkah, listen to the Megillah, have a Seder, celebrate a Brit, a Brit Bat or a B’nai Mitzvah? Do we take the time to celebrate Shabbat; light the candles, drink wine/grape juice, and share challah? What are your wonderful family practices and do you share with your children the stories behind each celebration? The more you can share your Jewish journey with your children, the more the family will feel connected to their Jewish history, and the more your children will want to establish the pathway to their own Jewish journey. “Doing Jewish” happens in the Temple to be sure, “doing Jewish” in the home can be a strong influence on the Jewish identity of your child.
Over the summer, I will be meeting with our faculty, building the curriculum and establishing new, fun and interactive opportunities for our students. As of now, I have not set a date for a Temple Solel religious school retreat as I am waiting to see how the summer camps “come back.”
The high school youth groups from all of the Reform Temples are meeting to plan and work together on NFTY events plus special activities for our high school students; each Temple planning one event. This is an exciting new venture for all of us and we look forward with excitement to bringing our teens together.
If you had a student in grades 1-6, please return the textbooks given to them last year. We will be ordering soon for the new school year and want to have an accurate count of what we need.
Have a safe summer! Make each Shabbat a sweet one.
Director of Raker Religious School
Member Spotlight – Betsy Gometz
Betsy Seligman Gometz and her husband Ken Gometz became members at Temple Solel in 2000. “We decided to join because of some friends that were joining Temple Solel,” says Betsy, “One of the first things we got involved with was the Gleaners led by Phil Hawkes.” This group used to collect fresh fruit from their neighborhood trees and donate it to food banks.
Betsy recently retired and is in search of new passions to fill her time. Her interests and hobbies include hiking, exercising on Zoom, Mah Jongg, gardening (she grew the Temple Solel Passover Parsley seeds) and baking sourdough.
Betsy is the chair of the Hiking Club at Temple Solel. Hiking Club meets once a month on Sunday morning starting in October. She’s also involved in the Temple Solel Book Club, Lunch and Learn, and Rosh Chodesh along with Shabbat services in person. “I think of Solel as a very welcoming place,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed the rabbis’ diverse interests and views on social justice.”
“I’m proud to be a member of the temple because of what the temple stands for in the community and it treats its members right.” Betsy’s favorite thing about Temple Solel was when the Hiking Club would get together for brunch “and we’d just have a great time visiting and meeting old friends and new people”.
In the past year, Temple Solel has met her needs by “having all the programs and different activities to help give more regimen in the lives of many and it gave us the chance to see people that we knew or interacted with and got to know them better,” she says. “Temple Solel keeps people connected.”
Something Temple Solel members might not know about Betsy is that she is from a pioneer New Mexico Jewish family that came to New Mexico in the 1800s.