FORT MILL --
It took generations for York County to have its own Jewish congregation, and less than two years to get another.
Temple Solel will hold its first Shabbat service Friday, May 11, in Fort Mill. Reform Judaism, which generally is a more modern, liberal take on Jewish beliefs and practices, will be the basis for Temple Solel.
“In essence, we’re taking these laws, and we’re interpreting them and making them work in a modern society,” said James Fox, president of Temple Solel.
Temple Solel has about 14 members, who will meet at the Recreation Complex at the Anne Springs Close Greenway. Services will be the second Friday of each month, with a social gathering the fourth Friday. The long-term vision includes a religious school, Torah and home of their own, Fox said.
“Fort Mill is a very central location for members throughout the county, which is something that’s attracted both synagogues to that area,” Fox said.
The new congregation is an offshoot of Temple Kol Ami, which began as the county’s first Jewish fellowship in 2010. Kol Ami has grown to include a religious school and regular services. Kol Ami includes about 70 families.
“Our focus is continuing to be, and has been, to bring the Jewish community together,” said Jonathan Shaw, one of Kol Ami’s founding members.
For Temple Solel, the appeal for change was to create a more defined sense of who they wanted to be.
“It’s kind of hard to do, to please everybody,” Fox said.
Another basis for Temple Solel, Fox said, will be public service. Members have partnered with Unity Presbyterian, home of Temple Kol Ami, for a bed race benefit for the homeless shelter Family Promise. Members will participate in events for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America events, including a May 20 event in Charlotte.
One point on which Temple Solel and Temple Kol Ami agree is York County needs a place for its Jewish population to gather, worship, socialize and serve together. Or, as will soon be the case, two places.
“It’s more about being Jewish, and coming together as one,” Shaw said. “It’s bigger than just being a place where you can call yourself a member.”