Rabbi Wilfred and Phyllis Solomon: Institute Aleph
Date:Tuesday, May 6, 1997
ID:Digital audio recording #: 19.97-02
Interviewer: Marvin Weintraub & Cyril E. Leonoff
MW: Yes. Phyllis you had a few, a few things that you started in the [Beth Israel] synagogue, didn’t you?
PS: Actually yes the very first thing that I started was at a suggestion from Rita, from your wife, and that was what we called Institute Aleph. As we mentioned before there were really only two synagogues in the city and there was not much going on education wise for the women, there were no classes, and so the concept, the idea came into being that we should start a morning class and it turned out to be a Thursday morning class and we called it Institute Aleph because we always felt that we were starting, we were always starting from the beginning and there was just so much to learn that we would never get beyond aleph. [Laughter]. That first year, that first year, and it was going to be courses in basic Judaism and then as it turned out, and the classes developed, we discussed history and philosophy and ethics and many other things. The first class we had about 60 women that came out and they represented different parts of the community, people from Schara Tzedeck, because there was nothing else. But after that class we had anywhere between 20 and 40 people that would come on a Thursday morning for maybe eight sessions in the fall and eight sessions in the spring. And out of that group, which went on from 1967 until about I don’t know for about 20 years, I think. Every Thursday morning there were about five or six people, women, who started with us in ’67 and went all the way through. And then there were of course all these new people. And this was a great joy to me because it was not just a question of teaching, it was a question of exchanging ideas. We sat around the table and we discussed things.