In its sixtieth year, Congregation Solel continues to thrive. We have a growing religious school, beloved clergy, and a continuing commitment to social justice here and around the world. We continue to fulfill the dream of our founders: to build a community that supports one another and acts on our Jewish values.
To this end, we have an exciting opportunity to share. Yesterday, our board discussed a proposal to bring together Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism—another 60-year-old Reform synagogue located on Lake Cook Road—and Congregation Solel to create one pathfinding congregation.
Why consider this change now, when we are stable and successful? Because it is a unique opportunity to deepen our leadership team; to get ahead of demographic changes affecting every Jewish community in America; and to have the opportunity to do innovative programming and personal engagement not possible now.
We are also blessed by a unique fit between our cultures. Rabbi Moffic and Rabbi Serotta deeply respect one another and work well together. Our congregations have collaborated several times already, and our geographic proximity means our families are close and connected. In summary, the proposal offers an extraordinary opportunity to join two vibrant, highly compatible congregations to create a new pathfinding community of some 650 families.
This size both facilitates the familiarity and warmth that we have always valued, and provides the scale to offer more worship, learning, social justice, and community programming that will enable us to better meet the varied needs of our community now and in the future.
Our current Solel building would be the home for this congregation. Lakeside’s Rabbi Ike Serotta would join Rabbi Moffic and Cantor O’Brien, and their educator, Vanessa Ehrlich, would join our Director of Congregational Learning, Ashley Plotnick.
As congregants, you are responsible for maintaining and supporting our synagogue. Whether or not to combine is ultimately your decision. On Sunday April 29, 2018, we will vote on the proposal at a special meeting of the congregation. A yes vote by both congregations would mean that we would come together as a new congregation in the early summer of 2019. In the interim 12 to 14 months, we would form joint working groups of members to work out the details of integrating the two congregations.
Your involvement in the process is critical. We know you will have lots of questions, and over the next few months we will have several opportunities to gather together to discuss all the issues. See the accompanying schedule of meetings. You can also find more information about the proposal on the following pages including a Frequently Asked Questions document in which we have tried to anticipate some of your questions:
It was 60 years ago that our congregational founders came together to create and find new paths to a meaningful Jewish life dedicated to worship, Jewish learning, and social justice. It is heartening to see how far we have come and so exciting to think ahead and envision where we will be in the next 60 years.
Please feel free to contact either or both of us.
Our future beckons, and we will create it together.