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Executive Board 2014-2016
Immediate Past President
Chair of Nominating and Finance Committees
Vice Chair of Nominating
1st Vice President
VP Development & Special Projects
VP Marketing & Communication
E. Michigan - Michelle Simpson
W. Michigan - Lucy Gersten
Southwest - Alison Auerbach
South - Sandy Heymann
Central Ohio - Lisa Kalson
West - Charlene Pfenninger
N. Ohio - Trina Miller
N.E. Ohio - Lisa Singer
WRJ Board Members
The Central District Speakers Bureau is here to serve YOUR sisterhood!
A district speaker can take your event to the next level!
Contact Lea Coleman,
to find out more!
"The future is ours to create." This profound statement and theme of our 2014 District Convention is our guiding mantra as we navigate through this biennium and beyond. You may ask, "What are we, in Central District, doing to create our future?" Well, I'll tell you. There has been a flurry of activity in Central District since the last publication of Isha L'Isha.
Our eight Area Directors have done a superb job of connecting with our 35 sisterhoods, offering their friendship and assistance, encouraging and supporting Area Day events. To date, almost all of our areas have held an event, or have planned one for the near future.
- Eastern and Western Michigan held a joint Area Day at the Holocaust Memorial Center, docent-led by Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg, the child of a Holocaust survivor.
- Central Ohio's Area Day, held at the Columbus Museum of Art, included a Torah Study and a guided tour of the "Fabric of Survival" exhibit.
- Southwest Area gathered recently for an evening of wine, women and WRJ entitled "Kol Isha: Let Our Voices Be Heard" featuring Rabbi Meredith Kahan.
- South Area will hold its Area Day event entitled "Lunch, Learn, Shop and Win" at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, KY.
- Also ahead this summer, Northern Ohio Area will hold a YES FUNdraiser in the form of a gently used Handbag Auction featuring the fabulous Marci Delson as the guest auctioneer!
- And that's not all! More Area Days are forthcoming!
In other news, this summer, the Central District Caravan is "on the road again", with upcoming visits to United Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood in Terre Haute, IN and to Beth El Sisterhood in Knoxville, TN. We can't wait! In yet more news, many of our sisterhoods are holding their Installations during the spring and summer months. To all of our outgoing and incoming presidents, officers, and board members, Mazel Tov! Kol HaKavod - all the honor - and thank you for your commitment and dedication to the Women of Reform Judaism.
This past April our Central District Executive Committee held its spring business meeting in Columbus Ohio. Stimulating conversations included topics on how we can best help our local affiliates, addressing ways we can grow and strengthen our membership, educate and engage Jewish women in our midst, and support and encourage attendance at district events, the WRJ Assembly, and the Fried Leadership Conference.
Registration for the 50th WRJ Assembly in Orlando, FL November 4-8, 2015 is now open! Our own Central District Vice President of Marketing and Communications Rachel Lambermont is Program Co-Chair for this event, and trust me, you don't want to miss this! Go to www.WRJ.org for registration information and delegation benefits! I'll be there, and I hope to see YOU! And while you're marking your calendar, SAVE THE DATE for our Central District Spring Kallah at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), April 15-17, 2016!
I close with a quote from WRJ 1st Vice President Susan Bass: "The future arrives before we are ready to let go of the present". Our Jewish world continues to evolve and change, and with it, so do WRJ, Central District, and our local sisterhoods/women's groups. In keeping with our mantra, "The future is ours to create", it is up to ALL of us to participate in the creation of the future of our organization. Our district leaders are here, at the ready, to help. It is, however, up to each and every one of us to share in the exciting endeavor of shaping the future we envision for Central District. Atem Nitzavim; we stand here, all of us, and we are truly stronger together!
How To Write a D'Var Torah
by Rachel Lambermont
So, the Sisterhood Shabbat service is on the calendar and you have agreed to present the D'var Torah... Now what? Your mind may be flooded with questions like: How do I write one? How long should it be? How do I find out the Parasha for the week in question????
The following will guide you through the process of putting together your D'var. Taking on the writing and delivery of a D'var at a service can be an interesting, exciting and, dare I say, rewarding experience.
- The first thing I do is to figure out the correct Torah portion for the week. This can be done in an easy Google search.
http://www.reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study is a great place to locate your portion.
- Once you have located the correct portion you can move into the research phase. There are several resources that you can use to read other interpretations of the portion. Both reformjudaism.org and wrj.org have great sections on their websites devoted to weekly Torah portions. Since you are sisterhood members I would highly recommend looking at The Torah: A Women's Commentary. This volume includes interpretations and writings all by women. If you don't have access to a copy you can look at the WRJ website for study guides for the commentary that can be very useful. It is really important to note that when you begin reading the portion and looking at interpretations you may feel overwhelmed. My Rabbi wisely told me that I don't have to cover the whole portion in my D'var. You can pick out a sentence that speaks to you and craft your D'var around that.
- Make an appointment with your Rabbi. This is an important step as your Rabbi can answer basic logistical questions like how long your D'var should be and complex questions you may have after reading various interpretations. This is also the time to ask your Rabbi if he or she would look at your D'var before you deliver it and offer thoughts. * Be sure you have plenty of time to make changes before the date of your service.
- Get writing! As you write think about how your words will sound spoken. Practice speaking the text many times. When you are writing I would recommend using 16 pt. font and setting the line spacing to at least double-spaced. This will help you keep your place when delivering your D'var.
- Once you have a draft written, practice delivering it. This will help you find any sentences that are difficult to read or are too long or just need a second look. If you are not going to have your Rabbi read your D'var, for whatever reason, I highly recommend that you have someone read it for you.
- Enjoy the experience! You have practiced and you are prepared!
Introducing Some of Our Central District Area Directors...
Sandy Scissors Heymann (South)
Sandra Scissors Heymann is Regional Director of Marketing at CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. Ms. Heymann has been with CBL since February 2001. In her current position with the Carolina AND Nashville Regions, she oversees the marketing efforts for 35 regional shopping malls in eleven (11) states throughout the United States. Based out of Fayette Mall, Lexington, KY, Sandra oversees all 35 properties marketing activities including overall marketing and business strategies, budgeting, retailer relations, media relations, seasonal décor, advertising and branding, public relations, team relations, and special events.
Additionally, Ms. Heymann is responsible for managing and directing a regional marketing team for the combined Carolina and Nashville regions.
With over 25 years of experience in the retail industry, Sandra has a proven track record and she excels in strategic planning, relationship building, team leadership and sponsorship development.
Prior to her regional position with CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.,
Ms. Heymann was the Marketing Director for the Richard E. Jacobs Group based in Cleveland, Ohio (1995-2001). Sandra also had the pleasure of serving as a training assistant for Dr. Phil McGraw and his YOU SEMINARS program from 1989 - 1993.
While she originally hails from St. Louis, Sandra has lived in Lexington for 20 years where she proudly raised her three wonderful and talented sons. Recently, in August 2014, Sandra married the love of her live, Rick Wolf. With a combined new family, Rick and Sandy have the Brady Bunch of boys, six fabulous boys that Rick and Sandy each call their sons.
Sandra is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Speech Communications and Human Relations.
She is a Senior Certified Marketing Director and a current member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Sandra serves as an Area Director for the Central District/South Region of WRJ. She is a past Sisterhood President of Temple Adath Israel, Lexington Kentucky and a past Religious School Teacher, teaching 1983-2004. Sandra is a first and past President of the Lexington Citizens Police Academy and a member of the National Citizens Police Academy.
Trina Miller (Northern Ohio)
I am a Past President of The Women of Fairmount Temple, and served as Membership Vice president. I am now the WRJ liaison. This is my 2nd term as Area Director.
I've been married to my husband, Herb, for 53 years, and have 3 children, one of which is on the WRJ board as well as her District board, 6 fabulous grandchildren and a great son-in-law.
I play piano for Shabbat & all religious services at The Montifiore Nursing Home.
Charlene Pfenninger (West)
Charlene Pfenninger was born in Cincinnati, Ohio where she lived until the age of 12. She then moved with her family to Indianapolis. Charlene served as Local Arrangements Co-Chair for the WRJ District 10 Convention held in Indianapolis. She is a past president of both her local sisterhood and Hadassah Ha'Ima as well as a former Temple board member of six years. She served on her former congregation's most recent Senior Rabbi Search Task Force and chaired the Search Committee for the Associate Rabbi. She has served on the executive committees of National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Community Relations Council. Charlene was a member of Junior League for many years serving as the assistant director of the Official's Village at the 1987 Pan Am Games held in Indianapolis. At the WRJ district level, Charlene has served as a vice president, financial secretary, recording secretary, and area director. She received both her bachelors and masters degrees from Indiana University and on a professional level taught 2nd grade for eleven years and college level for two years. She retired from 8 years of service in Revenue Accounting at American Trans Air (where she worked because she could fly anywhere for free!) and now works with her husband's law firm. Charlene and her husband, Fred, are the proud parents of 34 year old Ryan and his wife Rachael, 32 year old Jeff, 5 year old Whitney (their shih tzu), and the proud grandparents of 1 year old Katie-the love of their lives!
Lisa D. Singer (Northeast Ohio)
My name is Lisa Singer and I am the Area Director for Northeast Ohio. This covers the cities of Akron, Canton, Hudson and Youngstown. I have held this position since November 2014. Before serving as the Area Director, I served as the Central District Treasurer for four and a half years. I currently serve on the North American Board of Directors.
I am a sole proprietor of a small accounting firm and my focus is bookkeeping for small businesses as well as individual and business tax returns. I also have a direct sales company.
I have been married to Rick for 28 years and we now reside in Medina, Ohio. Rick and I have also lived in Pennsylvania and Florida. I am originally from Brooklyn, New York. We have a son named Matthew (aka: favorite son). Matt is a 2012 graduate of The Ohio State University. We also have a 107 pound 4-legged lab/retriever mix named Cooper. I am Co-President of my sisterhood at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson, Ohio.
I am very passionate about food. I consider myself a "foodie" and love to cook, eat out at new restaurants, try new foods and recipes, and buy new gadgets for my kitchen. My husband and I entertain a lot and we spend as much time as we can on Lake Erie during the summer on our boat. Other passions include theatre, travel, and reading. We are very blessed to have our health, a good family, and many friends in our lives.
WRJ Adopts a New Mission Statement at the May Board Meeting
by Liz McOsker
"Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) strengthens the voice of women worldwide and empowers them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values." (WRJ Mission Statement, adopted May 31, 2015)
Sandy Adland selected the theme "the future is ours to create" for her term as Central District president. Our district is not alone in planning thoughtfully for the future of our organization. North American WRJ felt the need for a new mission statement. (A mission statement is a one sentence statement describing the reason an organization exists. It is used to guide decisions about priorities, actions and responsibilities.) The existing one limited our ability to meet the next generations of women where they are and are likely to stay. These women and their families are not joiners. For us to engage them in our sacred work we need to allow for women who aren't part of congregations to affiliate with us while not abandoning our historic role as the nurturers of congregational life. The statement also emphasizes the important work we do developing women as leaders and as advocates for progressive Judaism in North America and around the world.
After the new language was approved, the Board moved on to consider revisions to our Constitution. These will be voted on at the Assembly in Orlando, November 4-8, 2015 (registration is open now). More on these as we get closer to November. Central District past President Hilda Glazer very extremely ably chaired the Constitutional Revisions committee and guided the discussion at the board meeting.
A new program offering was piloted at the Board meeting and will be highlighted at the Assembly in Orlando (November 4-8). An overwhelming majority of those participating in the study sessions felt that the program was worth pursing and a partnership is being formed between WRJ and Chai Mitzvah. Chai Mitzvah was first envisioned by Scott Shay in his book, Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry. Its mission is to guide and inspire all Jews in the lifelong pursuit of meaning through a deeper engagement with Judaism through study, ritual and engaging in Tikkun Olam. There is a 9 month curriculum with study materials provided. Supplemental materials (videos and articles) are available through links on the Chai Mitzvah website. Support is provided to facilitators. There are reasonable fees for registration and participation. The nine topics are: Adult Rites of Passage, Philanthropy/Tzedakah, Individual and Community, Interpersonal Relationships, Mindfulness/Conscious Living, Adding New Insights and Meaning to the Passover Seder, Israel and the Jewish Spirit, Gratitude/Modim Anachnu Lach, and Judaism and the Environment.
Check this sampling of what our sisterhoods are up to. What's happening in your sisterhood? Please let us know so we can spread the word about all the great things that are going on in our district!
Mazel Tov To Our District Or Ami Recipients
The WRJ Or Ami "Light of My People" Awards for Special Achievement in Programming recognizes exemplary social justice, community service, and educational programming that serves as a model for other WRJ Districts and sisterhoods. The awards are given biennially and coincide with the WRJ Assembly. A hearty mazel tov to our Central District sisterhoods who have either received an Or Ami Award in a particular category, or an Honorable Mention! The sisterhoods will be recognized at the 50th WRJ Assembly in Orlando, FL, November 4-8, 2015. And the winners are.....(drum roll, please...)
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN
Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood, Cincinnati, OH
Women of Temple Shalom, Louisville, KY
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (for three submissions), Indianapolis, IN
Don't Forget About The 50th WRJ Assembly in Orlando, Florida
November 4-8 2015
Registration is Now!
Michigan District Area Day
How does your board work together? Come spend a day learning and sharing to grow stronger together for ALL board members of WRJ Central District Michigan Sisterhoods
Come join us for an Area Day
Sunday August 2, 2015
Temple Kol Ami
5085 Walnut Lake Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48323
Questions: Reach out to Lucy Gersten 248-668-1244 email@example.com or Michelle Simpson 248-373-4833 firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Date
Mark your calendars for the Central District Spring Kallah at GUCI, April 15-17 2016. More details will be coming.
Please submit articles for the October issue of Isha L'Isha
on or before September 15, 2015.
It is very exciting to learn about all the great things going on in our district.
Keep the good things coming!
WRJ Central District