The Boards of Directors of two Highland Park Reform Jewish synagogues have voted to ask their members to consider combining the two into a single congregation. A vote in late April would bring together the clergy and memberships of Congregation Solel and Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism.
“We are fortunate to have two vital, highly compatible, like-minded congregations,” said Rabbi Ike Serotta of Lakeside. “The joining of two congregations is an opportunity to combine the best of each to create a dynamic and enduring Reform synagogue that will serve its current members and generations to come.”
“We are blessed by a unique fit between our cultures,” added Rabbi Evan Moffic of Solel. “Rabbi Serotta and I have a deep respect for each other and work well together. Having a deeper professional staff working together, along with the scale of membership, offers an opportunity to do more innovative programming and personal engagement while maintaining the familiarity and warmth we have always valued as congregations.”
Under the proposal, which will be voted on by members of each congregation in late April, the synagogues would be fully combined in the Summer of 2019 using the 1301 Clavey Rd. location that currently houses Solel. Professional staff from both congregations would come together as one team, including Rabbi Serotta, Rabbi Moffic, Cantor Jay O’Brien, and educators Vanessa Ehrlich and Ashley Plotnick.
“With a membership of around 650 families and a combined clergy and education team, the proposed combined congregation will have the warmth and familiarity we have always valued while providing the scale to offer more worship, learning, social justice and community programming to better meet the varied needs of our community now and in the future,” said Holly Krakow, Solel’s president.
“Our common paths and history make the relationship an even better match,” said Rob Lindner, Lakeside’s president. “Both founded over 60 years ago, our two congregations have a history of successful collaborations around music, worship and other activities. Our buildings are just a mile apart in Highland Park, our children attend the same schools and many of our members know each other well through the community.”