Message from Clergy

Rabbi John Linder

Jewish tradition understands that tzedakah, giving of our financial resources, is essential. Yet, the rabbis remind us that there is no greater form of giving than our acts of kindness. The Talmud teaches that acting with kindness is fundamental to our identity as Jews. Only when a Jew acts with kindness is he or she acting as a Jew is expected. The rabbis go so far as to say that, so basic a value is kindness that we should question the religious identity of a person who claims to be Jewish but who acts unkindly. “Anyone” the Talmud tells us, “who is not compassionate with people is certainly not a descendent of our forefather Abraham.” Given that there are three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam, acting with kindness and compassion is a great litmus test for all of us to judge the heart of our religious identity. My guess is there is room for a kindness tune-up for us all.

Blessings,

Rabbi John Linder

Rabbi Emily Langowitz

I believe that Judaism is a living, evolving tradition. That means that when we engage with the Jewish tradition, its community, rituals, and stories, we have the chance both to learn more about ourselves and more about what Judaism can be. Solel is a place to come together and discover what will give our lives meaning, power, and purpose. A place to become our best selves and take those selves out in the world to do good for others. One of my favorite verses from Torah reads: “It is very near to you, in your heart, and in your mouth to do it.” (Deut. 30:14) We have the power; it’s in our hands and our hearts to shape our lives, our Judaism, and our world. I hope you will join us in this sacred work here at Solel.

With an open heart,

Rabbi Emily Langowitz

Cantorial Soloist Todd Herzog

I was not always connected to my own Jewish roots. I grew up in a fairly secular Jewish home and it was not until losing someone close to me that I found my way back to my own tradition. Music has always been the doorway that I have walked through to feel a connection to my religion, my spirituality and my community. In sharing my music with the Solel community, my goal is to open that door to others so that they too can feel a part of something larger than themselves. Each person who enters our sanctuary should walk out feeling uplifted and blessed by the music.

In song,

Todd