A Brief History of WRJ Central District
Mention of State Federations in our District dates back to the first NFTS Biennial in 1915. Fundraising was a major reason for the creation of State and District Federations.
District 9, The Ohio Valley Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, was formed in April 1962 from the state federations from the former Ohio Valley, Kentucky-Tennessee, West Virginia, and Indiana Federations.
The Indiana Federation 10 joined OVFTS in 1970.
Throughout the years, sisterhoods have joined or resigned from OVFTS for various reasons. In 1974, Charleston, WV joined District 8 to which they felt closer geographically. Steubenville, OH moved to the Pennsylvania District 5 in the late 1980’s. At the same time, Erie, PA joined OVFTS.
In 1996, the OVFTS roster included 38 sisterhoods in Ohio, Indiana (except South Bend and Northwest Indiana), Kentucky, Tennessee (Nashville and Knoxville), parts of West Virginia, and Erie, PA. In 2010, the sisterhood of Erie, PA withdrew from the Central District.
District 11 was founded in 1922 by the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
District 11 included all the Reform Jewish congregations in Michigan, the one Reform Temple in South Bend, IN, and the one Reform Temple in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, making District 11 an international District.
Involved in the usual activities, District 11 concentrated its activities on youth programs, especially the MYSTY organization events. District 11 met in annual convention until 1969, when they voted to hold meetings on a biennial schedule.
In the early 1990’s, the South Bend, IN, sisterhood chose to become a part of District 18 and the sisterhood in Windsor, Ontario, became inactive.
District 10 was formed by the merger of Districts 9 and 11 upon the approval by the WRJ Board of Directors in May 1997. These sisterhoods are served by 4 URJ regions and 3 NFTY regions. In 2006, the WRJ districts had their numbers retired and replaced by names reflecting the area of the country that they serve. District 10 became known as WRJ Central District.
The memorabilia of Districts 9, 10, 11, and Central is housed in the American Jewish Archives at the Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, OH.
Representatives from WRJ Central District sisterhoods gather once a year for a District gathering or interim meeting. The business of the District is conducted, workshops and exchange sessions are held, and delegates hear from distinguished WRJ and District speakers at these meetings. Camaraderie and friendships nurtured are highlights of these annual get-togethers.