WRJ Central District
is your liaison between the Women of Reform Judaism and the local sisterhoods we serve.
Currently we are 36 sisterhoods in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The president, five vice presidents, area directors and committee chairs are available to help you.
We can be consultants and we have an active speaker's bureau. If you want a speaker for a Sisterhood Shabbat or any sisterhood program just contact the chair for Speaker's Bureau and she will work with you to make this happen.
For more on WRJ Central, visit our website at www.wrjcentral.org and contribute to our blog, Sharing
Want a Central District Pin?
Order yours today for only $10.00 from our own artist, Beth Goldstein at
See our Tshirt opportunity below
WRJ Central Board 2010-2011
Hilda R. Glazer
Chair of Nominating
Royalyn R. Vert
Vice Chair of Nominating
Bette Jo Stempel
1st Vice President
VP Service to Sisterhoods
VP Dev & Special Projects
VP Marketing & Comm
VP Prog & Advocacy
Lisa Elyn Semen
WRJ Board Members
Hilda R. Glazer
Bette Jo Stempel
Royalyn R. Vert
Central District to a "T"
Orders are now being taken for the Central District logo T-Shirt. Choice of short sleeve or long, sizes S M L XL 2X and 3X. They are black (only) with our logo. Pricing around $18 depending on total quantity we order.
Send your name, size and SSleeve or LSleeve in an email to Beth Goldstein: email@example.com. You will get a return email to confirm your order and price + shipping so that you can send her your check.
What's the Web got to do with it?
Staying in touch is easier than ever before. We stay on touch and keep up with our friends and family through social networks and email. We even post videos for friends to see. We have modified our way of communicating with you to make use of technology. We are now able to send you information more often and keep you up to date on what is going on locally, in the district, and in WRJ. For those of you unable to attend the Biennial, you have the opportunity to hear and see the major speakers and events through the WRJ webpage. Through our webpage and WRJ's you have access to resources to help you at the local level.
This issue of Isha l'Isha focuses on communication. Please let us know what you think about this and all issues of our newsletter.
Yours in Sisterhood
Hilda R. Glazer, EdD
President, WRJ Central District
APRIL 27-29, 2012 CINCINNATI, OHIO
''YOUR HERITAGE - YOUR COMMUNITY''
Hosted by the Women of Reform Judaism, Central District - Cincinnati Affiliates
Weekend Schedule of Events
Friday: 3-5:30 pm Central District Board Meeting
6:15 pm ROCK SHABBAT AND SHABBAT DINNER
Rockdale Temple, Amberley Village
Saturday: HUC Cincinnati Campus and Downtown:
-A.M. TORAH STUDY & SHABBAT SERVICE
-LUNCH & BRIEF PROGRAM
-AFTERNOON DOCENT- LED TOURS*
*HUC Cincinnati Skirball Museum
*Dalsheimer Rare Book Exhibit/Klau Library
*American Jewish Archives
*Historic Isaac M. Wise Plum Street Temple
*Tours are open to the community, reservations required
-HAVDALAH & SATURDAY DINNER
Sunday: 8:30 a.m. - noon Central District Board Meeting
WHY VISIT HUC/JIR CINCINNATI?
- The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - "HUC/JIR"
Cincinnati Campus is the the birthplace of American Reform Judaism.
Founded in 1875 by Rabbi Isaac M. Wise, it has ordained over 2800 Rabbis and over 400 Cantors. The first female Rabbi was ordained in 1972;the first female Cantor in 1975.
- The HUC/JIR Skirball Museum, Cincinnati, houses a permanent collection of Jewish archaeological artifacts from both the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem and local Jewish historically significantceremonial and ritual objects.
- The Dalsheimer Rare Book Room Exhibit includes rare incunabula, illuminatedmanuscripts, Biblical codices, communal records, legal documents and scientifictracts found no where else in the Americas or the world,
- The American Jewish Archives houses over ten million pages of documentation: 8000 linear feet of archives, manuscripts, near-print materials photographs, audioand video tapes, microfilm and Jewish genealogical materials.
Communications at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC) Sisterhood
No Temple Sisterhood or IHC Board or Committee meeting is complete without a discussion regarding communication. The struggle is sometimes about excess contact but usually the discussion is about appealing in a timely and inviting manner to the large and diverse community that our Sisterhood serves.
Not every program, event or volunteer opportunity charms each and every member but every Vice President, Committee Chair or Volunteer Coordinator of Sisterhood works hard to cast their nets far and wide to help every woman of IHC feel part of the whole. There are opportunities for spiritual nourishment, connections to new friends, baking, education, maintaining long time friendships, quiet introspection, education, social action, fundraising and volunteer opportunities for Indianapolis based organizations.
There are a variety of ways to keep your finger on the pulse of IHC'S Sisterhood. Generally, all Sisterhood events are posted on the Sisterhood portion of IHC's website - ihcindy.org. Click over to "Our Community" and scroll down to Sisterhood. Also, upcoming events are posted in weekly E-News from IHC. For some programs, an invite may be sent via the US Postal Service but most information will be sent electronically.
Finally, a Newsletter is sent 4-6 times per year via email with the goal of keeping our membership and the IHC Community current with our always busy Temple Sisterhood. Our Sisterhood watches for info regarding upcoming events, activities and other ways to make us stronger one woman at a time.
Shir Tikvah Tikvah uses Facebook
Congregation Shir Tikvah Tikvah Sisterhood in Troy, MI uses the web to facilitate communication and help our board work more efficiently. The tools we use to accomplish this are Yahoo Mail/Contacts., our bi-weekly email newsletter, and our Facebook page. Several years ago, we began to use Yahoo Mail to foster communication between members and to keep membership records. The advantage to using Yahoo Contacts to store membership information is that it can be easily accessed by various board members who need to use it to contact committee volunteers, send out invitations for special events, reach out to new members, or follow up on members who have not renewed for the current year. Also, having one email address for Sisterhood that all board members can access makes it easier for members to get in touch with the board.
What began as occasional reminders of upcoming events and deadlines has evolved into a bi-weekly e-newsletter that is the primary form of communication between the board and the membership at large. The newsletter publicizes upcoming events, appeals for volunteers for special projects, thanks members for their help with various projects, reminds them of ongoing Tikkun Olam efforts, publishes condolences and congratulations and generally keeps the membership up-to-date on what's going on. Out of 96 members, 93 are on the email distribution list. As more of our members have become email users, the email newsletter has become more and more important to the way we do things.
About 10 months ago, we launched a CST Sisterhood Facebook page that is used to publicize events, post pictures and promote Sisterhood fundraising events to members and non-members. The Facebook page has been successful in that it generates excitement about upcoming events and allows members to expose their Facebook friends to what Sisterhood has to offer. We find that younger members prefer communicating via Facebook to doing so by email or phone. If the past few years are any indication we will find more and more ways to use the internet and social media to do what we do, only better.
|WRJ's website not just for Conference Registration-- there's lots more there
WRJ's "Guide to Programming Possibilities"
Karen Smith, Central District VP Department on Programming and Advocacy
(Temple Beth El, Knoxville, Tennessee)
Innovative Sisterhood programs are an excellent way to build and attract membership. Whenever sisterhood leaders come together at area days, leadership conferences, or assemblies, they love to exchange programming ideas. Central District's "Sisterhood Sharing" Workshop held at District Conventions is a very popular and very well attended workshop because of the programming ideas that are shared.
"Guide to Programming Possibilities" is a PDF file available on the WRJ web site and contains over eighty-five programming ideas that were contributed by WRJ sisterhoods. These programming ideas will appeal to a wide range of women and sisterhoods.
To access this PDF file you will need to go to the leadership login and establish an e-mail id and password. It is easy to do and you will then have other leadership materials available to you and your sisterhood.
The programming possibilities section is divided into six categories and includes community building/fun/entertainment, women's health and wellness, education, tikkun olam/social action, worship/ritual/holidays, and youth programming.
Use your imagination. Keep in mind that because a program is placed in one category doesn't mean it can't work in another. Try doing something new or try doing something old in a new way.
"Guide to Programming Possibilities" also includes tips to get you started, information on budgeting for your event, event planning checklists, and a sample sisterhood retreat agenda.
Programming possibilities . . . endless possibilities.
|Executive Board Meeting
April 27-29, 2012
All members of the Executive Board will meet for business Friday and Sunday.
All and any Sisterhood women of the Central District Sisterhoods are invited for the Rock Shabbat Service and Shabbat Dinner Friday night, hosted by the Women of Reform Judiasm Rockdale Temple and Rabbi Sissy Coran and the full day on Saturday on the HUC/JIR Cincinnati campus.
If you haven't already, check out our website; there is lots of information and guidance to find on the site.
- WRJ Central -- who we are, our history, mission statement and more
- The Central District Boars
- The Central District Sisterhoods
- Member Sisterhoods and their presidents
- Isha l'Isha archives
- Events-- both upcoming and those in the recent past-- with lots of pictures
- Registration forms for conferences-- including the ones for the upcoming HUC Weekend
- Resources-- both national and local that can be of use to you and your Sisterhood
- Awards information
- WRJ, its history, projections and district information
- Our blog-- Sharing the Best
Check it out at www.wrjcentral.org
There is a look a 5 different reasons or the motivations behind why many blog!
A blog can solving common problems by letting your membership know what they are. Are you doing a can drive, a breast cancer project? How do you let people know in a timely manner?
Sharing you own experiences serves multiple functions insofar as people can learn and/or be entertained by what you share. If you've you've had a great program-- tell others about it. Maybe they can use your experience to create a similar program in their congregation. Just because you didn't win an Or Ami award doesn't mean its not noteable. And even those who have one an award-- more details please!
Sharing an interest or personal passion with other sisterhoods is both an enjoyable and self gratifying experience! Much like having a lot of experience to share, if you are passionate about what your programs are about, others will take interest.
Insights and/or opinions are an intriguing way to engage readers since if 'shared' correctly, it will be thought provoking. Nothing gets people more involved then stirring their interest by offering them a perspective they have not considered before. Helping them to 'stretch' their thinking is an invigorating and often enjoyable experience, especially when it focuses on subject matter that holds their interest!
Some people are simply 'naturals' at finding the best in others and making others realize their own potential, are you one of them? Having a blogging platform that 'picks people up' and gets them motivated is one of the most popular type of sites. In most cases folks will find not only motivation but will also experience a renewed sense of self esteem making them fell better about themselves.
In most cases the people who may ask, why blog, what's the purpose likely do not possess the commitment to maintain a blogging platform. This is not a negative but rather a point that it does in fact take time and a strong motivation to consistently create blog content people find interesting.
If your Sisterhood is not yet ready for a blog of its own, try out the WRJCentral Blog, Sharing the Best, and see how easy this can be.
Miriam's Voice Found: The Song of the Sea
Dvar/Feb. 4, 2012
By Rabbi Debbie Lefton
Featuring Poem The Song of Miriam, by Ruth Sohn
This Dvar Torah was presented to the Women of Reform Judaism during the joint Reform Shabbat on Feb. 4. May the Song of Miriam inspire us to begin thinking about Passover. As we prepare for Seder, let us consider the meaning of freedom -- freedom of religious choice and opportunity in the United States.
My classmates and I were just about to finish our first year in Israel as rabbinic students - but the year would not be complete until a group of five women friends plunged ourselves into the sea in Tel Aviv. The sea - symbolic for its vast openness, its cleansing waters of Adonai, for its strength and mystery would serve as our mikveh -- our ritual bath - as we separated ourselves as mere mortals to "real" rabbinical students. As we celebrated our achievements and ultimately "crossed over" from 1st year student to serious students of Torah we dove into the vast sea just days before we headed back to the United States.
The Song of Miriam: Ruth Sohn
I Miriam, stand at the sea
To face the desert
Stretching endless and still.
My eyes are dazzled
The sky brilliant blue
Sundburnt sands unyielding white
My hands turn to dove wings.
Reach for the sky and I want to sing
The song rising inside me.
All of us have the song of the Sea rising within us. Many times, it takes life-time to have the self-awareness as Miriam to sing our song when our family/our people need to hear our strength. Other times, we are amazed at the strength of a young girl's intuition and outspoken wisdom. The Sea inspires Miriam's song as she senses the moment has arisen for her to be a leader for her people.
We know that God led the Israelites by way of sea, not the easier route, by way of the land of the Philistines, fearing war, the Israelites had to "cross over" the sea to find a freedom from Egyptian slavery. As God facilitates Moses' parting the Sea of Reeds, the Israelites would face the physical challenges of the waters -- they would literally be covered in the life changing force of the sea - with their bare feet wedged in the sand running as fast as possible toward dry land. But an even greater EMOTIONAL freedom must have occurred: God provided the protection from the elements but also the promise while "crossing over" of emotional dignity and courage shedding the chains of slavery to become a free Jewish people. Miriam must have felt the power of God's sheltering wings, as she rose up and provided the voice of freedom.
My mouth open
Where are the words?
Where the melody?
In a moment of panic
My eyes go blind.
Can I take a step
Without knowing a
Will I falter
Will I fall
Will the ground shrink away from under me?
Studying Shirat YaYam: The Song at the Sea - scholars first attribute the composition of the Poem to men -- especially Moses credit for singing the celebratory victory song. If we look closer at the poetic song the women chanted this morning: Ex. 15: 1-19 -- scholars suggest that the Song was created and performed by women and should be attributed to Miriam even though only the last 2 verses of the song were ascribed to her. The "Crossing Over" from an understanding that our ancient texts were only produced by male authors to a retrieval of the women's voice and possibility of female creativity and authorship changes the attitude of how women participated in Jewish history.
Depending on the interpreter of this Song of the Sea, many suggest the men sung first, then the women - separately like the patriarchal foundations of our tradition. One traditional commentator insists, "The men sang, and then the women. The men sang, and then the women sang, danced, and tambourined. The men sang -- sang their joy over their deliverance, sang their yearning for a more perfect redemption -- but something was lacking. Something that only a woman's song could complete."
However, with a scholarly retrieval of these ancient words, perhaps it is true that women were authors of poetry, song, and music - not men. We "TRANSITION" and "CrossOVER" from a male understanding of this ancient and artistic piece of Torah only if we can visualize Miriam's voice, authorship, and leadership through these ancient words of liberation!
Instead of being known as the SILENT sex - almost non-existent within the forces of Jewish traditional text, scholars suggest it was women who wrote and sang the songs of military battle and accomplishment. Their role was one of STRONG voice, melodic chanting, and movement that inspired all to celebrate.
The song still unformed-
How can I sing?
To take the first step -
To sing a new song -
Is to close one's eyes
Into unknown waters.
For a moment knowing nothing risking all -
But then to discover
The waters are friendly
The ground is firm.
With the Crossing of the Sea of Reeds, we acknowledge that Miriam is named -- a woman leader, with a mission, a role, and a female presence. Miriam's song inspires us to "cross-over" from a slavery of the mind, for we are forever changed by Miriam's Song; and continue to look for other opportunities to credit women's writing, women's voices, women's thoughts and accomplishments in Jewish and world history.
And the song-
The song rises again.
Out of my mouth
Come words lifting the wind.
And I hear
For the first the song
That has been in my heart
Even to me.
May Miriam's voice and song help each individual "cross over" from being trapped inside to finding a way through the sea. Debbie Friedman, whose life work, moves so many of us in song, once said, "It was kol isha (the voice of women) for kol isha (every woman) that inspired me to write inclusive music. It is beneficial not only for women, but for men and children as well. Singing helps us learn how to be vocal. Ultimately, the voices of women, their sense of empowerment, can be borne from song, which can form the core of political, spiritual, and economic transformation. The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions. Then every woman will be heard, and every voice will be heard: kol isha for col isha."
For many of us, our life brings situations in which we can lose our voice, kol isha. Many face challenges and we lose the ability to speak and comprehend how we find ourselves struggling. May the Song of the Sea provide each of us with the courage to cross from places of fear, insecurity, danger to a freeing wave of strength, courage, and proclamation! As WOMEN of Reform Judaism may we too act as courageously as Miriam - with strong voice and timbrel in hand - leading our people. Partricia Karlin-Neumann, from the Women's Torah Commentary, inspires us "As we enter the water, if we speak and act with awe and gratitude, if we look around and trust our vision, we may discover that we are bathed in and buoyed by the presence of God." This is what human beings strive for their whole lives, to be wrapped in awareness of God's presence. May Miriam's Song remind us today of all the fearless women with names and without who led for centuries waiting for us to Cross- over - and become a Jewish nation - a light to the world.
The new Isha L'Isha
This is the new version of Isha L'Isha
Isha L'Isha is our attempt to communicate with you and your membership. Take the opportunity to talk to us and your area director; tell us your success stories and words of wisdom about communicating with your membership, temple and community.
Our website is at www.WRJCentral.org.
Also, please take the time to visit our Blog, named "Sharing the Best"
and let us know what you and your sisterhood have been doing. Register and then write your brief story. The blog is mediated, which means whatever you enter, the items have to be approved before they show up on the blog, but this is a wonderful opportunity to share and boast and get great ideas.
Deadline for the next issue, which is
Leadership/Meet Your Officers and Chairs
incorporate brief job position descriptions along with information about yourselves
May 15, 2012.
Send articles and images to firstname.lastname@example.org