We Want to Know What YOUR
Sisterhood is Up To!
Have you done an innovative program that you'd like others to know about?
What are your plans for the WRJ Centennial?
How have you increased your membership?
Is there a problem or issue that you would like to share?
Please let us know!
Email articles or ideas to
Want a Central District Pin? Of Course You Do!
Executive Board 2012-2014
Immediate Past President
Chair of Nominating and Finance Committees
Vice Chair of Nominating
Royalyn R. Vert
1st Vice President
VP Development & Special Projects
VP Marketing & Communication
Lisa Elyn Semen
WRJ Board Members
Central District Kallah
WRJ and District Resources
Working Together and Reaching Out
Gather round the campfire, March 21-23, 2014
for an exciting and fun-filled weekend at GUCI!
Authentic Camp Shabbat Experience including worship, dinner, song session, Israeli dancing and campfire!
- Info sessions on our URJ Camps, GUCI, and WRJ!
- Informative workshops to strengthen your sisterhood!
- Social Action project!
- YES Fund "Next to New" Shopping Event!
- Sharing together, laughing together, and meeting new sisters!
GUCI can accommodate up to 50 overnight guests in their faculty housing. Reservations will be first come, first served. Rooms are double occupancy with a bathroom en suite or between two rooms. Linens are provided.
Additionally, a block of rooms has also been reserved for WRJ Central District at the Holiday Inn Express, 9797 N. Michigan Rd., Carmel, IN. The phone number is: (317) 661-3540.
Click here for a registration form!
Some Highlights of this Administration (so far)
At this busy time of year, I thought I would take the time to explain a bit about how your district board functions and what we have been working on.
Meetings - Where we come together to learn about WRJ and work to implement all that WRJ can do for local sisterhoods.
The Central District Executive Committee meets five times during a 2-year term. The complete board meets three times during the 2-year term. Those meetings are our plenaries. All local sisterhood presidents are part of the Central District Board, so we urge all local sisterhood presidents to attend our convention and interim meetings; this year we are having a Kallah as our interim (see above for more information). Several of our district board members, including the president and 1st vice president also sit on the the WRJ North American Board. The WRJ Board meets once a year. The WRJ and URJ have a Biennial and many of our board members attend.
When we are not having Executive Board or Board Meetings, we have a schedule for conference calls between the presidents and vice presidents and the First Vice President with Area Directors. In this way, we have communication throughout the year. And this publication and emails keep us aware of all important happenings in our district and WRJ.
Making Isha L'Isha More Useful to You
There is a big change in our L'Isha Isha publishing schedule. The Executive Committee has decided to publish six times each year, instead of four. We are trying to communicate with each of you more often and in a more timely manner. We realized that each issue was so much information that it might be easier to fit the reading into smaller segments, so we will bring information to you in more frequent, more manageable chunks.
Streamlining the District Board
This is the first administration that is using the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) board structure at the district level. There used to be five vice presidents; now there are two in addition to 1st Vice President, Sandy Adland. Sandy supervises the Area Directors. The Area Directors are Laurie Blinder, E. Michigan, Lucy Gersten, W. Michigan, Susan Glazer, Southwest, Liz McOsker, South, Rachel Lambermont, Central Ohio, Carol Anderson, West, and Trina Miller, Northern Ohio.
There used to be thirteen chairs; now there are six. The Vice President of Development/Special Projects, Sheilah Abramson-Miles supervises the chairs of Affiliate Development, Judy Berzof, Jewish Family Concerns, Alida Forshaw and World Union/YES Fund, Marci Delson. Michelle Simpson, Vice President of Marketing/Communications supervises the chairs of Speakers Bureau, Bernice Goldman, Awards, Cindy Bolokofsky, and Web Site Manager, Hillary Handwerger.
These wonderful volunteers are doing much for the district all year long. Area Directors are keeping in contact with the sisterhood presidents in their areas. Each Area Director plans an Area Day each year. Vice Presidents summarize the reports they receive from their Area Directors or chairs to report to the Executive Committee and Board. Chairs are always available for any concerns from sisterhoods. Chairs are not considered on the Executive Committee, but this administration has decided to invite them to all meetings, so they are aware of all Central District happenings and decisions.
The real highlight of being Central District president is working with wonderful women who are devoting their time and energy to help our sisterhoods. Thanks to you for all that you do.
WRJ Central District
A Note from Our District Speakers Bureau Chair
Thanks to all of you who are using the services of the Central District Speakers Bureau. I am delighted to offer assistance in bringing top-notch speakers to your area days, board meetings or weekend retreats. I've already heard from groups in Ann Arbor, Toledo, Louisville, W. Lafayette Indiana, and Beachwood, Ohio. Sandusky is on the horizon as well. Just fill out the Speaker's Bureau request form and send it to me. The form is available at www.wrjcentral.org.
If you have a particular speaker in mind let me know. Otherwise, I will pull from my resources. The only thing I ask is that you fill out a request form and that both speaker and requester fill our evaluation forms. It's that simple. We have speakers for almost any topic you need, from centennial info to leadership, marketing your sisterhood, the YES Fund, increasing membership and retention of members, programming, fundraising, installations, as well as enhancing spirituality. You need it; we've got it!!
I'm looking forward to hearing from you. A big thank you to all the sisterhoods who have already taken advantage of this opportunity.
District Speaker's Bureau Chair
WRJ and Central District Consultants are
Here to Help You
One of the most important benefits of affiliation with WRJ is the wide range of resources available to sisterhoods. WRJ and Central District are here to help us all make our sisterhoods stronger, more vibrant and more effective. WRJ has board members who are experts in many areas. If you have concerns with membership, finance issues, leadership development, fundraising, congregational issues or other concerns, there is someone designated on the WRJ board ready to assist you.
Central District has six chairs who are well-versed in their fields. If you have advocacy concerns, contact Alida Forshaw, if you have the need for a speaker in your sisterhood for various topics, Bernice Goldman is here to serve your needs. If you have concerns about YES Fund or World Union, please contact Marci Delson. If you are not sure who to contact, you can go to the district website and click the contact link and we will be sure the appropriate person gets the message and responds to you.
Sisterhood presidents can find the WRJ Consultants list in the leadership section of the WRJ website. Sisterhood presidents can get a password by calling WRJ if they do not have a password at this point. After the sisterhood president signs in, she can go to sisterhood resources and find the WRJ Consultants list. Below is the WRJ staff list and contact information. There have been many changes recently.
WOMEN OF REFORM JUDAISM
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-6778
Toll Free 1-866-975-5924
FAX (212) 650-4059
Web address: www.WRJ.org
Executive Director, Rabbi Marla J. Feldman
MFeldman@wrj.org Ext. 4050
Administrator, Arielle Jacobs
(WRJ office management, WRJ Materials)
Bookkeeper, Janice Goldstein
JWGoldstein@wrj.org Ext. 4068
Administrative Asst., Isaac Tetenbaum
ITetenbaum@wrj.org Ext. 4065
Meeting & Programs - Logistics and Planning for WRJ Meetings and Conventions, including WRJ Fried Leadership Conference, Assembly, Board and Committee Meetings; Administration and Facilitation of WRJ Programs, including Lilith Salons.
Manager, Amanda Feldman
AFeldman@wrj.org Ext. 4054
Marketing & Communications - Internal & External Communications; Media and Public Relations; Information Technology, including WRJ Website, E-Newsletter, Friday Voices E-mail and E-mails; Social Media, including WRJ Blog and Facebook; Marketing Materials; Publications, including Art Calendar.
Manager, Dana B. Stein
DBStein@wrj.org Ext. 4066
Development & Special Projects - YES Fund (Youth, Education, & Special Projects); Circle of Service; Lifeline; Board Giving; Special Fundraising Projects, such as The Torah: A Women's Commentary; World Union for Progressive Judaism; Annual Campaign; Grants.
Manage, Elizabeth Rosenblum
Administrative Asst., Judy Amill-Arnholdt
JAmill@wrj.org Ext. 4057
Service To Sisterhoods & Districts -Membership and Dues; Support and Programming for Current & New Affiliates; E-mail and Mailing Lists Maintenance; Speakers Bureau; Leadership Training; WRJ Board Alumnae; Fried Leadership Conference and WRJ Assembly Grants; WRJ Consultations; Leadership Log-in; Listserv Membership.
Manager, Heather Lorgeree
HLorgeree@wrj.org Ext. 4063
Administrative Asst., Elizabeth Zimmer
EZimmer@wrj.org Ext. 4062
WRJ Centennial - Centennial Events and Projects, including 2013 WRJ Fried Leadership Conference, Centennial Academic Symposium, and 2013 WRJ Assembly; Centennial Campaign; Centennial Journal; Centennial Product Sales; Centennial Communications.
Manager, Arielle Jacobs
AJacobs@wrj.org Ext. 4060
Programming & Advocacy - Critical Issues and Resolutions; Advocacy, including Commission on Social Action, Religious Action Center, and United Nations; Israel Initiatives; Commission/Committees on Social Action Issues.
RAC Legislative Assistant, Sarah Greenberg
WRJ Central District
Great Things are Happening in Our Sisterhoods
Cleveland Centennial Celebration
On April 23, 2013, the Women of Fairmount Temple celebrated WRJ's centennial birthday with cupcakes at lunch. After lunch, at our Tuesday program, Marilyn Goldfein, co-vice-president of membership of WFT and president of central district of WRJ, spoke about WRJ's beginnings with a film and a collection of facts about the continued development of WFJ through today. She had several read information about the many things WRJ does. We concluded with the singing of the centennial anthem. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon.
Executive Vice President
Women of Fairmount Temple
Michigan/Toledo Area Day
On September 29, sisterhood representatives from seven sisterhoods in metropolitan Detroit, East Lansing MI and Sylvania OH came together at Congregation Shir Tikvah in Troy, MI for an area day focused on leadership development. The event was organized by Western Michigan Area Director Lucy Gersten and Eastern Michigan Area Director Laurie Blinder with help from District VP Michele Simpson and members of the Congregation Shir Tikvah Sisterhood. Over 30 women participated in a busy afternoon of learning, sharing, and collaboration facilitated by WRJ Board Member Marci Delson, of Columbus Ohio. Participants began by learning about personality and leadership styles and discussing how effective leaders use insight into their own styles and those of others. Marci also led a discussion about the qualities and commitments of leadership. In the second half of the program, the focus shifted to conflict resolution and dealing with "difficult" people. Along the way, there were opportunities for participants to discuss the successes and challenges they were experiencing in their own sisterhoods. At the end of the afternoon, everyone went home with a wealth of information and inspiration as well as a renewed sense of energy and support, proving that area days are one way in which we live out WRJ's motto "stronger together".
The Power Point presentations and handouts from this area day will soon be available on the district website. If you would like to arrange a similar event for your sisterhood or a group of sisterhoods in your area, please contact your area director or our speakers bureau chair, Bernice Goldman, at 216-378-9478 or email@example.com
Congregation Shir Tikvah Sisterhood
Mazel Tov to Temple Israel Sisterhood in West Lafayette, IN for increasing their membership from 43 to 52. That's a 21% increase!
WRJ Central District
Being a Sisterhood Sister
I am pleased to be doing a mitzvah for a sisterhood member from Gallipolis, Ohio, a member of B'Nai Sholom in Huntington, WV. Her husband had been in the Huntington, WV hospital all summer and not doing well. He was transferred here to Cleveland Clinic on October 9 for three weeks and now he's been transferred to another local hospital, because he is stable. He is out of ICU and doing much better.
The sisterhood president from Huntington emailed that her sisterhood member would appreciate a visit and some help from a sister here in Cleveland. I was traveling to our sisterhoods in Knoxville and Lexington, so I called her on Saturday, Oct. 19 and she had one request. She needed a haircut, so I made her an appointment at my beauty salon. I picked her up and drove her to the salon. We arrived early, so I was able to take her shopping so she could pick up some incidentals. After the haircut, we had lunch at a Jewish deli. She relished her sandwich. She said that she hadn't eaten like that since she'd been in Cleveland. I felt good since I met her. DOING MITZVAHS IS SO FULFILLING FOR THE PERSON DOING THE MITZVAH!
I picked her up again to take her out of the hospital setting, because it seemed like she and her husband will be in Cleveland for quite a while. I have a new friend and a sister, which is a good thing. The next Monday, I picked her up. A friend, my convention facilitator, Pamela Levine from Temple Emanu El in Orange, Ohio, met us for lunch and brought her a warm jacket for our cold winters. Pam's daughter had lost weight and the coat was perfect for our new friend. I brought a pair of gym shoes, which should be fine since she is shuttled from her hotel to the temple.
I am pleased to report that her husband's condition has improved. He is talking and that has made such a difference in in our sister's attitude. She is so pleased that she can talk with her husband again. He is sitting up part of the day. Because he is aware of his surroundings, he wants his wife there all the time. She hasn't gone out with me, except to shop for necessities. She has moved to another hotel, which is closer to the long-term care facility. I will meet him this weekend if he isn't having Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy. I look forward to seeing him when he is able to move around the hospital and go home to Gallipolis, Ohio.
If you or anyone that you know is in a similar situation, please consider contacting a local sisterhood. I know our sisters will welcome the opportunity to step up and help out. I feel so good after a visit with our sister. I look forward to our visits.
WRJ Central District
Send us Your Nominations for District Awards!
Sisterhoods, individuals, and the district will be honored with the awards listed below at our Central District Biennial Convention in Columbus, November 6-9, 2014. As leaders in your sisterhood, please take a few minutes to read through the award categories and nominate your sisterhood or individual. Award applications are due by August 1st, 2014.
For award application forms, click here or find them at www.wrjcentral.org.
Individual sisterhoods may apply for awards in both the President's Award and the Innovative Programming Award categories and may submit an application for more than one program in either category. Award entries in these two categories are separated by size of sisterhoods: small (1-99 members); medium, (100-299 members); and large, (300+ members). In addition, every sisterhood may select one of its members to receive a Deborah Honor in recognition of service to her sisterhood. Finally, a woman from within the Central District will be chosen for the Emerging Leader Award. Nominations can be received from a sisterhood or the District for this one honor.
Innovative Programming Award
This award recognizes a sisterhood in each of the categories of small, medium, and large for an innovative, energizing, and original program.
The Central District President determines the theme of this award. This biennium, the President's Award recognizes a sisterhood in each of the categories of small, medium and large for a program or event which focused on and celebrated the WRJ Centennial.
District Emerging Leader Award
One sisterhood woman from within the Central District will receive this award. A sisterhood may nominate a woman who exemplifies the strengths and has shown the skills, abilities, and willingness to accept a leadership role in her sisterhood, Central District, or WRJ in the recent time frame. This should be someone new to a leadership role.
This award recognizes one woman from each sisterhood who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to both sisterhood and Judaism based upon criteria established by the sisterhood. Each woman nominated by her sisterhood to receive the Deborah Honor will be given a Deborah certificate.
This award is given to the woman awards in all categories of Programming, President's Award, Emerging Leader and Deborah Honoree.
The three (small, medium, and large) sisterhoods winning the Innovative Programming Award, the three (small, medium, and large) sisterhoods winning the President's Award, and the one woman winning the District Emerging Leader Award will each receive a Chai Five or a $90 credit toward a District event to be used on or before the next District Convention.
Programs must occur between November 2012 and November 2014. The deadline to submit an application is August 1, 2014.
Simply download the application to your computer, fill it out, and send it as an attachment to WRJ Central District Awards Chair, Cindy Bolokofsky,
Applications may also be filled out and mailed to
4800 Cider Hill Dr.
Rochester Hills, MI 48306
Any questions, call Cindy at 248-431-8536.
WRJ Central District
About 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 www.WRJCentral.org.
Our Facebook page is
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.
Send articles and images to firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to hearing from you!
WRJ Central District Bulletin Editor