The Art@Solel Committee has awarded Lena Weissman, a senior at Pinnacle High School, with its annual Art Scholarship. The Committee will present the monetary award and certificate of excellence to Lena at the June 11, 2021 Friday night service. The award is offered each spring to a temple family graduating senior who has demonstrated a significant interest in art and in continuing its pursuit in the future. Funds for the scholarship come from designated donations to Art @ Solel and from a percentage of sales from ART SHOWCASE.
- Clergy Message
- Jewish Holidays
- Life Cycle Events
- Our Leadership
- Our Rabbis
- Our Staff
- Youth Programming
Ben Siamon is a Freshman at Arizona State University. He was born and raised in Arizona with his younger brother, Sam, his parents Robert and Jackie Siamon and their two dogs. Ben has been a Temple Solel member his whole life. His grandfather Mel Engel (z”l) was a past president on the Temple Solel Board.
Ben’s interests include musical theater, basketball, community service, telling jokes and Hawaiian shirts. His parents during the pandemic have inspired him. “They were able to keep a positive attitude and make the best of the situation we were given,” he says.
Ben states, “A big part of being at Solel for me is getting to know people that are members and a lot of people became like a second family to me.” Ben has been involved with TSTY (Temple Solel Temple Youth) during High School. One of the last things he remembers doing was the senior lock-in at Temple Solel before the pandemic. “I’ve noticed much more involvement from younger people in the youth group so I think it’s definitely looked at as up and coming,” he states. Ben has also been involved by helping at the Bistro on Sundays. He is proud to be a Temple Solel member because of the mitzvah work through Mitzvah Day at Solel. “It inspired me to continue doing mitzvah work and becoming the Social Action Vice President of NFTY-SW and now doing a social justice cohort at ASU Hillel.”
He volunteers by “cleaning up on Tempe Beach Park and organizing a community service event with therapy dogs right now.”
He is motivated by “having a light at the end of the tunnel and at some point if you put in the hard work that you’ll reach it.” His future goal is to continue working in the Jewish community and hopefully do marketing for a sports team.
- Use the prepared written material as a referral, knowing it well enough to look at your audience more than down at the page; or
- Use index cards with key thoughts and words, letting that key information naturally give you all you need to speak, not read on each point; or
- Memorize. To memorize, KNOW the meaning of your material, read the material over and over and then memorize in chunks. Then just let the words FLOW.
If anyone would like complimentary coaching via ZOOM, Facetime, or phone, as long as YOU can set up the tech, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
Meet Temple Solel member Stella Lipson, a sophomore at Saguaro High School. Born and raised in Arizona by her parents Robert and Joan Lipson. Stella is the youngest of her four siblings Jacob, Gabrielle, and Ethan.
Stella’s family became members of Temple Solel in 2001. Stella states, “My favorite Temple Solel memory is probably from 7th grade when we met with Holocaust survivors and listened to their stories. I also think of my Bat Mitzvah as the Best Day Ever!”
In her free time she dives competitively and is currently the Senior Patrol Leader of Boy Scout Troop (3030). Something Temple Solel members may not know about Stella is that she loves “tying knots and I know a ton of super cool ones.”
She is inspired by her mom and also her scoutmaster. “My scoutmaster is a computer engineer and an outdoors (wo)man. She always has a ‘you can do this’ attitude which rubs off on everyone she meets and she is fearless,” says Stella.
Her goal in life is to change other people’s lives for the better. Stella wants to be an engineer and is focusing now on getting good grades, helping other scouts become Senior Patrol Leader like herself and “baking a perfect French macaroon.”
Stella’s favorite part of Temple Solel “is the sense of community and how welcoming of a place it is. Walking into temple and going to Friday night services gives me a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of home.”
Before Covid, Stella would volunteer with The Friendship Circle, a Jewish organization for kids and young adults with special needs to improve their social skills. “I have worked with them for almost four years and have met some amazing people that I talk to all the time,” she says.
Some of you might know me. Yes, I work at Temple Solel. But as every parent knows: once a parent, always a parent. With that said, this is me, writing to you, as a parent, a first-time Mom.
In May 2019, we made Arizona our home. When I applied for the job at Temple Solel, my main motivations were “community” and “family.” With no family in town, I knew I wanted (and needed) to be part of a community. We also knew that we’d want to start a family sooner than later. But, it wasn’t until I shared with new friends and locals about my new job, that I heard this unanimous reaction “They have the best preschool in town!”
Working with children is hands-on hard work. I salute those who dedicate their careers to the education of children. As temple staff, what I’ve seen with my own eyes here was the amount of love and care all the preschool staff put into their work. And now that I am a Solel Preschool parent, I am in awe of how secure they make me feel.
Choosing the right school matters so much. It matters so you can keep your expectations in order, it matters so your family can feel safe, heard, nurtured and cared for. New parent, experienced parent. Full time, part time. Hands-on, extra help. No matter how you parent and/or how many times you’ve done so, the joys and struggles of parenting are there. It gets easier, it gets harder. We are all doing the best we can, the best we know. And just like our little ones, we learn as we go.
From all the things I’ve heard, the advice that really stuck to me was: “You will just know. You are going to receive plenty of suggestions, and plenty of unwanted advice. But you will know what works best for you and your child. And if in doubt, just ask for help. No one has it all together, and no one expects you to have it all together.”
Six weeks into maternity leave, I could not begin to imagine giving up on all the 24/7 snuggles and cuddles with my baby boy. The reality of going back to work in 6 more weeks, and placing him in the care of others was being “deeply ignored.” Well into the second month, and realizing that indeed, it goes by so fast! I noticed how true the saying “it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it” is. My, oh, my, that is most definitely on point in describing parenthood.
Going into my third and final month of maternity leave, not only reality started to sink in, but I found myself torn in between making a schedule, finding a balance, a routine, and soaking up as much as I possibly could. But honestly, today I see how most of it was pressure into wanting to make a good
impression as a parent.
What people forget is that when a child is born, so is a parent. It’s not only about giving your children love, it’s also about you! It’s about helping you cope with changes and transitions, helping you grow and evolve as a parent. You need to make sure that you are taken care of too, and exploring this deep connection to your child, knowing that he is well and secure, is part of it.
A week before we started preschool, we met with his teacher on zoom. Until that moment, being confined at home was “normal” – we had a newborn after all! But meeting his teacher on zoom was when I had a shock of reality, “oh wait, there is a pandemic out there!” From thinking he was too small to be out in the world, to the worries of COVID, that week was HARD.
The weekend before was a blur. From making sure I did not forget anything to endless pick up orders at Target, anxiety was running loose.
But January 2021 arrived and with it, his first day of preschool. And I’ve never looked back. Best decision we ever made as parents. We trusted to follow what works for us. After only one week, we could already see a jump in his developmental growth, and even more, he smoothly adapted to their routine, which we now keep at home. He is happy, and so are we. Of course, during that first week, all I wanted to do is cry, but now, 3 months later, not one day passes without me being grateful for The Solel Preschool.
If I have a question or if I am in doubt of something, they remind me that each child has its own pace, they remind me to never compare, and they answer ALL of my questions. No judgement, just reassurance. And most importantly, their attitude towards me, from Temple staff to Preschool mom, haven’t changed, not one bit.
To see him thrive, and to watch him reach milestones is the peak of our time together. Of course, we look forward to every holiday where we can have extra family time. But, to see how happy he is going and coming back from preschool, and to know that someone else is making sure that he gets all the care, tools and support he needs, while Mom and Dad make sure to work hard to provide him with the best future possible… well, there are no words for it.
I know how lucky I am to work next door. But I feel even luckier for these two amazing communities, Temple Solel and The Solel Preschool.
Religious School Coordinator
This month our thoughts turn to the Holocaust as the Jewish community commemorates it on Yom HaShoah (April 8). As we remember the horrors that antisemitism can create, we should ask ourselves, ‘what is the state of antisemitism in the United States today and how should we respond?’
First, it is helpful to ask—how do we define antisemitism? Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, a leading authority on this topic, mentions these characteristics: first, it is an irrational prejudice against all Jews. The template for antisemitism, she says, often includes these elements
A) something about Jews and money (viewing Jews as wealthy, overly interested in it, etc.)
B) Jews as smart and conniving, and
C) Jews having the ability to do harm without being detected.
The Jew, according to the anti-Semite, is to be feared, distrusted, and eradicated.
The American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) first-ever State of Antisemitism in America report, released on October 26, 2020, shows deep anxiety among American Jews and a disturbing lack of awareness among the general public about the severity of antisemitism in the United States.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) keeps track of anti-Semitic incidents. The last year that they have complete data on is 2019. For that year they say, “the American Jewish community experienced the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents since tracking began in 1979, with more than 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment reported across the United States… The record number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with vicious and lethal anti-Semitic attacks against communities in Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, and a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn.”
The report found that “the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2019 increased 12 percent over the previous
year, with a disturbing 56 percent increase in assaults. The audit found there were, on average, as many as six anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. for each day in the calendar year—the highest level of anti-Semitic activity ever recorded by ADL.”
We know that white supremacists and specifically anti-Semites were involved in the breach on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. These groups have felt emboldened in recent years.
What can we do about antisemitism today? Here are several suggestions:
Encourage our state legislators to pass the state bill which is currently being considered which would make Holocaust education a required part of Arizona schooling.
Report any anti-Semitic incidents to the ADL so that they can keep track and to find out any suggested response they have for the incident.
Should someone you know make an anti-Semitic remark, ask for more information on why they have that perception. Try to calmly get the offender to see the problem with grouping all Jews together and making prejudicial statements.
We need to remain vigilantly aware of and responsive to antisemitism. We need to do this for self-preservation, but I also believe that this is one way we honor the memories of those who died in the Holocaust. We hear the call—“never again will we let this happen.”
At the same time, I greatly appreciate Dr. Deborah Lipstadt’s view that we should be Jews in spite of, and not because of, antisemitism. Judaism has so much to offer us and the world. Let us not allow the anti-Semite to scare us away from being proud, practicing Jews. We know we have a beautiful and meaningful religion. Am Yisrael Chai—May we remain strong in our faith despite the needs of some people to find a scapegoat.
Rabbi Debbie S. Stiel