WRJ 2015 Assembly

There were 46 women from Central District attending WRJ’s 50th Assembly in Orlando, Nov 4-8, 2015!

We educated ourselves on the constitutional revisions which were voted upon and passed, including the change to accommodate individual members, as well as the resolutions- Pay Equity, Paid Family Medical Leave, Resolution against Distracted Driving.

Some of our District Members, became part of the WRJ Executive Committee: Lisa Singer, Treasurer and Liz McOsker, Secretary
New Board of Director Members (2015-2019): Alison Auerbach, Pamela Feldman-Hill, Sally Blau, Jerri Passo, Beth Lande

View video snapshots of the days of Assembly

“District Time” for all districts was on Wednesday, November 4th from 1:00pm-2:30pm. It was a time for all of us in Central District to spend some “up close and personal” time together in the midst of the larger gathering.

It was an engaging, energizing, and jam-packed hour and a half together!

  • 1:00 (FIRST THING!) – Visit by our WRJ Leadership (President Blair Marks, 1st Vice President Susan Bass, and Executive Director Rabbi Marla Feldman)
  • Photo op with our WRJ Leaders
  • Charter and Gavel ceremony by WRJ Leaders, welcoming our newest affiliate, Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood, Carmel, IN
  • Welcome to our 1st Timers!
  • Visit by our 2016 District Convention Guest Speaker fredi Bleeker-Franks
  • Presentation of Or Ami Award winners from Central District
  • Roll of Merit recognition of our Central District sisterhoods
  • Central District Update
  • Sneak Preview of Spring Kallah at GUCI and 2016 District Convention in Louisville, KY
  • The moment everyone asks about: Sharing/Networking Time on topics that are important to you!

Everyone will come away with something; new friends, new ideas, pride, connections, and community!

At the opening plenary, WRJ awarded Lilly Ledbetter the WRJ Jane Evans “Pursuit of Justice” Award and voted to pass a resolution in support of pay equity in her honor. That evening, WRJ joined URJ for the first joint plenary session and heard from The New York Times writers Nicholas Kristof and Jodi Kantor, actor Michael Douglas, URJ Vice President of Audacious Hospitality April Baskin, and CEO Danny Meyer. Many women gathered for late-night mahjongg and a meet-and-greet with global WRJ women.

On Thursday morning, consultant Rabbi David S. Wolfman and discussed the future of WRJ, eventually voting historically to open WRJ to individual members. That afternoon, attendees learned together at a number of workshops, including on public speaking, sisterhood mission statements, social justice, and the WRJ Or Ami award-winning programs. In the evening, Assembly participants joined with URJ Biennial participants for the second joint plenary and enjoyed a song session with favorites Julie Silver, Peri Smilow, Beth Schafer, and Michelle Citrin.

Friday morning WRJ hosted, with the Women’s Rabbinic Network, a joint service. Afterwards, attendees voted to pass a variety of constitutional revisions and two resolutions, in support of paid family and medical leave and against distracted driving. That afternoon was the long-time favorite YES Fund Luncheon, featuring RAC Former Director and Legal Council Rabbi David Saperstein and RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who praised WRJ as leaders in social justice within the Reform Movement.

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Shabbat services on Friday night and Saturday morning were as memorable as ever, as 5,000 Reform Jews from around the world gathered to pray, chant, sing, and celebrate together. Saturday afternoon attendees enjoyed the WRJ Choir, led by Stacy Beyer, at the installation of the WRJ Board of Directors. Then attendees heard from Vice President Joe Biden, followed by a memorable havdallah service.

Sunday, the final day of the 2015 Assembly, attendees could choose from a number of activities, including a local service project, torah study, and a shuttle to Disney World! The five-day conference was historic, and one not to forget!

LASTLY, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we incorporated a social action project. While Domestic Violence Month is October, this social issue knows no monthly boundaries.

To that end, during our district time, we a collected of (new) women’s bras and panties, and children’s briefs for Harbor House, Orlando’s domestic violence shelter.

Be sure to check out the videos of the Assembly