The Coast News Group
From left to right, Samantha Stechel, Gabby Stechel, Matthew Lutch, Natalie Lutch and Veronica Hernandez pose for a photo at the 40th Anniversary Gala at Temple Solel in Encinitas. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram
CitiesCommunityEncinitasEncinitas Featured

Temple’s gala celebrates 40 years

ENCINITAS — The 40th Anniversary Gala on the evening of May 5 at Temple Solel was all glamour and glitter. The party was held partly on the outdoor patio before moving inside to the dining area where the tables were set with crystal and silver. Dinner consisted of salmon or steak. The little star of the evening was a warm, fuzzy golden retriever puppy, an auction prize taken home by the Graff/Zibin family.

About 150 members attended the gala, said Ellen Fox, who has been the religious school director for 30 years. Six original members of the temple attended. They were Michael and Miriam Guberek, Marc and Gail Covitt, Marty Stern and Marcia Kern.

Photo by Jordan P. Ingram

It was 40 years ago that about 40 people were exploring the idea of planting a temple in the Encinitas area. They came together and first met at St. Andrews Episcopal Church before moving.

“Then they moved into an office building on Encinitas Boulevard close to the corner of Rancho Santa Fe,” Fox said. “It was pretty touching because every Friday they (temple members) had to schlep the Torah and the chairs into the room and take them down afterward.

At the time, there were 55 families at the temple.

“After the office building, we did a Torah March from the Encinitas Boulevard location to 552 S. El Camino Real, just up the street,” she said.

The march was in October 1987, and about 350 families took part.

“It was the first time we had our own place,” Fox said. “It was amazing, hundreds of people marching. It was very, very special. It was emotional for us. We had bought the land and built it ourselves.”

By 2005, the temple was bursting at the seams and it was time to move again, this time to its present location at 3575 Manchester Ave in Cardiff-by- the-Sea where they are now, Fox said.

“We marched the Torah from South El Camino Real, literally down the street,” she said. “We changed zip codes just by walking down the street.”

Danielle and Tal Zemer greet guests during the auction. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram

The temple now has a congregation of 790 families and is still growing, she said. Fox said the mission of the temple is to continue promoting the Jewish community and continue study and prayer and acts of justice and loving kindness.

“We do a lot of justice work, speaking up for those who are less fortunate,” she
said. “We do a (interfaith) shelter for the homeless every year the two weeks around Christmas because we don’t celebrate Christmas, so it is a good time for us.”

Instead they open their building, giving the homeless food a place to sleep and take showers, she said. More than 500 children, from preschool through high school, are enrolled in various educational programs and volunteer service clubs at the temple.

Giving back to the San Diego community is part of our core values, Fox said. The temple provides baby items to needy mothers through its Bundles for Babies program and brings home-cooked meals to the Haven House homeless shelter.

“We have a lot of music,” Fox said. “We have an adult band, a teen band and a youth choir. Music reaches a spiritual place in their soul and their heart.”

The gala proceeds will benefit the educational and social-service programs and provide support to families in need.

To learn more about Temple Solel, call (760) 436-0654 or visit the website at