The planning committee hoped for 50, initially planned for 60, and eventually welcomed over 80 people to the in-person Chanukah Shabbat dinner and service last week! Thanks to the leadership and creative vision of Johanna Matlow, and the energy and inspiration of our dynamic clergy, Rabbi Plost and Cantor Rosen, an elegant dinner, followed by a rousing candle-lighting Chanukah Shabbat service, was enjoyed by young and old alike.

Besides seeing Temple friends in person for the first time in a long time, what made the event even more meaningful was the coming together of so many “branches” of our Solel “family tree.” Sisterhood, Brotherhood, the Tikkun Olam Committee, the Religious School staff and volunteers, the Membership Committee, the Temple Officers and Board, and our clergy and staff collaborated to create an amazing evening.

A delicious dinner, including vegan options, was devoured at magnificently appointed tables under an outdoor tent illuminated with festive holiday décor. Vaccinations, masks, and social distancing were mandated for the indoor service that followed since the health and well-being of our Temple members and their loved ones is a top priority. The overflowing bin of toys donated for homeless children at the Broward Outreach Center was a heartwarming sight to behold.

As if the outdoor mixing and mingling, delectable dinner, and creative kids’ activities weren’t already fantastic enough, the indoor Chanukah Shabbat service was the icing on the cake! Song sheets were passed around, and everyone joined Cantor Rosen on his famous guitar and Rabbi Plost on his very unique, jazzy tambourine in several Chanukah melodies, old and new. (Who knew our new Rabbi has rhythm, too!) In addition to the traditional Shabbat prayers, Temple members lit individual Hanukkiyahs (menorahs), and then the large Temple menorah, placed center stage, was lit by Temple “VIPs” including Rabbi Frazin and three Past Presidents.