WRJ Central District
In This Issue
WRJ Central District Board
President's Message
District Kallah Registration
Speakers Bureau
Great Programming Ideas
Submit an Article

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
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WRJ Central  
Executive Board 2012-2014

Marilyn Goldfein

Immediate Past President
Chair of Nominating and Finance Committees
Hilda Glazer

Past President
Vice Chair of Nominating
Royalyn R. Vert

1st Vice President
Sandy Adland

VP Development & Special Projects
Sheilah Abramson-Miles

VP Marketing & Communication
Michelle Simpson

Recording Secretary
Pamela Feldman-Hill

Corresponding Secretary
Jan Goldstein

Membership Secretary
Karen Smith

Lisa Singer

Bulletin Editor
Patty Rehfus
Elaine Frayman
Lisa Elyn Semen

Area Directors
Carol Anderson
Laurie Blinder
Lucy Gersten
Susan Glazer
Rachel Lambermont
Lizabeth McOsker
Trina Miller

WRJ Board Members
Sheilah Abramson-Miles
Sandy Adland
Laurie Blinder
Marci Delson
Hilda Glazer
Marilyn Goldfein
Hillary Handwerger
Rachel Lambermont
Lizabeth McOsker
Charlene Pfenninger
Karen Sim
Lisa Singer



Our website


Our blog - Sharing the Best


Our Facebook Page




April 2014 
Recognition and Outreach


Social Media

and More!

It's Time to Think About Awards!


Shalom Sisters of WRJ Central District,


The Awards Committee of WRJ Central District proudly announces the awards for the Central District Convention of November 2014.


As a volunteer organization, we appreciate the hard work, dedication and creativity demonstrated by our members. The Awards Committee would like to pay tribute to women who especially deserve appreciation for the work they do. This is more than acknowledgment, but recognition of women and sisterhoods which affect change and accomplish goals.


These four honors of distinction are:

  1. The district Emerging Leader Award-to honor one woman in the Central District.
  2. The President's Award-This biennial, 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.
  3. The Innovative Programming Award-to honor a sisterhood in each of small, medium and large categories for exceptional programming.
  4. The Deborah Honor-to honor one woman in each sisterhood. Each woman nominated by her sisterhood to receive The Deborah Honor will be given a Deborah Certificate.  Your sisterhood is encouraged to indeed honor the women among us and the programming that deserve our tributes. 

Chai Award The Chai Award will be given to each of the sisterhoods winning The President's Award, The Innovative Programming Award and the woman winning The District Emerging Leader Award.  Each winning sisterhood will receive a Chai Five or a $90 credit toward a District event to be used on or before the next District Convention.


Yes, we contribute to WRJ from our hearts, but the extra nod of recognition is valuable to those upon whom we bestow our admiration. A tribute of gratitude from our peers is truly a gift.


We truly are "the collective voice of women in Reform congregations" and want to honor those whose voices connect us and empower us.


Click here for explanations of each award and here for applications.  Please take the time to honor your sisterhood and submit the applications.  


Applications are due by August 1st, 2014!!  



Contact Cindy Bolokofsky, Awards Committee Chair 




Michelle Simpson, VP Marketing and Communication 




 - Cindy Bolokofsky

     Awards Chair


Planning Installations


How exciting! How daunting! You have accepted the position of president of your local sisterhood. You have served your sisterhood for many years, in many ways, but now you are thinking about the type and date of the installation you would like. There are many choices.


Does your temple install the temple board, the sisterhood board and the brotherhood board at the same time? Then, you will just supply the list of the officers and board. It will be beautiful, because your rabbi will install all of you, bringing together all the leaders of your temple.


But, if you have a Friday night service to install the sisterhood officers and board, you have many things to consider. Will you have a dinner before the service? If so, get your programming committee and hostess committees working many months before the event. Having a dinner before the service brings together the families of your sisterhood. It is a wonderful event. Work with your rabbi and cantor to plan your installation. They will have thoughts in their minds about the service. Talk with past presidents to hear their suggestions. And you have to prepare a speech - a short one, of course. You should share your goals with the congregation and ask everyone to work together for these ends.


If you have a Sunday morning brunch, a luncheon or a dinner to celebrate the installation, there are considerations, too. Where do you want to have these services? Your temple, of course, is a good choice, but you could also meet in a party room to make the event special. Then, you will have to choose someone to install you. S/He could be the rabbi, cantor, the sisterhood's adviser, a past president or a sisterhood mentor. Help this person choose the installation service you would like. There are installation services on the Women of Reform Judaism website, wrj.org. Ask the past president, how you can get online to the leadership section for access.


What else? Make sure all the people you would like to be with you at your installation, are invited. More questions, of course, arise. Do you want to send invitations?, put it in the temple bulletin?, put it on the temple's website?, put it on facebook?, and twitter?, and/or write personal notes to special people? I suggest you do all of the above.



Look over these services. You may not want to use the whole service, but you could take pieces and parts for the service.


Most of all, make it an inclusive service. Have all the women serving with you, blessed and charged for the future in your sisterhood.


Have a wonderful installation, will help you feel confident that the next two years will be a success for you and very fulfilling. 


- Marilyn Goldfein

  WRJ District President 


Social Media for Sisterhoods


Social media can be a powerful tool to engage members and potential members. When thinking about why and how to use any communication tool, we should always remember that we have two audiences-those who know us, and those who need a reason to want to know us.


This process is nothing new. In 1913, the initial NFTS board created a "Propaganda Committee" (which now would be call PR).  This is a continuation of that effort.  Hopefully we can become as successful in spreading our message and mission as they were back then.  What we need to do is engage our members and entice potential members to join.  As we do at Passover, we have to repeat regularly what our purpose is.  We need to provide reasons to be passionate about our organization and projects.


So Why Social Media? 

Social Media...

  • is popular- really, really popular
  • reaches all ages and demographic
  • helps to get the word out and share a lot about your Sisterhood and what it does
  • has active user
  • encourages two-way communication
  • can create communities of interest
  • and for the most part-- is free

 Your Social Media Toolbox


There are a number of social media tools that can help you accomplish your goals.


Facebook connects you with friends and friends of friends.  It has a strong graphic appeal-you can see photos, videos, albums; review past events, and you have the ability to participate in "conversations" Women especially like Facebook, visiting it a few times a day.  It gives you the ability to share with many people at once.  It's entertaining, providing the opportunity to share the absurd or things that are endearing or meaningful.  It's opportunistic, letting us learn about ways to help others, getting updates, and receiving support from your network.  It's newsy, keeping us up-to-date with news, causes, and friends. And you want to be sure that your Facebook site links back to your Sisterhood webpages, and other social media channels.


Twitter started as a microblogging site and has grown to be one of the most widely-used tools for marketing and communication for businesses, nonprofits and individuals. Once you (or your sisterhood) set up a Twitter account, you can send out 'tweets' of 140 characters or less.  Tweets can include text, images and/or links to content on the web including videos. These tweets are visible to anyone on Twitter. In order to make sense of the enormous "twitterverse", you can follow other Twitter accounts such as those of your temple, other sisterhoods, WRJ, local businesses, news sources, etc. Once you become a follower, you will automatically be able to see all of the tweets coming from the sources you follow.  In turn, anyone following you will see all of your tweets. If you are interested in seeing tweets from numerous sources on a particular topic, you can use a hash tag to search for information. For example, if you are interested in seeing tweets about Women of the Wall, you can search on #womenofthewall and you will see the information. If you see something especially interesting coming from one of the sources you are following or hash tags you search on, you can "re-tweet" it and post it to your followers. Some things you might want to tweet or re-tweet about include events, awards, social action projects, or photos of sisterhood activities. Your twitter account can be connected to your Facebook page, blog or website, so your tweets and re-tweets can be automatically posted there as well.


Google Plus is Google's foray into social networking. The idea is to make online socializing more like socializing in real life by having users arrange contacts into "circles". You might have a circle for your sisterhood board, another for members, and yet another for the whole congregation. Users can post as on Facebook as well as link their Google Plus activities to other Google tools such as Search and Hangouts.


Pinterest is really visual and fun.  Pinterest engages the mind, imagination and provides inspiration.  It's very visual-in fact you need an image or video to load or re-pin to your Pinterest page.  You create "boards" and pin to them. TBE Sisterhood now has a number of boards-Purim, Passover, Hanukkah, Challah, Knitting, Recipes (we are selling a cookbook), Spring Flowers (we sell bulbs), Baby Knitting, and more.  It's fun to create and easy to reach audiences of all ages with things you find to pin to your boards.  Each of the pictures you pin has a web connection, so be sure to load lots of your own pictures to the site and provide the url for your website or pages.


Instagram is a photo sharing and storage tool that is quickly gaining popularity, especially with younger women. Instagram is primarily for mobile devices, although it is possible to view photos via the Instagram website. Like Pinterest and Twitter, Instagram can be linked to Facebook and other social media tools. With Instagram you can post sisterhood photos, include information about when, where and of whom each photo was taken, use filters to improve the appearance of photos taken on mobile devices, connect with younger members, learn about members' interests and activities, "follow" other Sisterhoods and create an accessible archive of your photos.



You can create and support a blog for free, or for $100 or less a year, you can have a blog with its own "url" and hosting account, and with the freedom to ask for donations run a fundraiser, sell your own advertising space (or not) rather than live with general "ad and link" clutter of the free option. With blogs, the emphasis on content.  Not just short, user-generated chatty content, but the production of content that is an alternative to traditional print media AND that can benefit from interlinked conversation and comments.  A blog gives you the space to create stories, provide in-depth information, and answer questions.  Blogs also give you space to provide some static information.  Like a list of your leadership team, a calendar or programs and events.   You should create entries for your blog at least monthly, but more often - like weekly - is much preferred.  The stories show up chronologically and get archived by month.  However past stories are searchable by word or category.



It's just one step away from the blog to the website.  Once you start creating static content, you effectively have a website.  So why not create both at the same time?  Using a tool like Wordpress, which is a great option for your blog, you can also create those static (or static for the year or until you change it) pages that you want for a site.  So now you have a combination of pages that tell what your sisterhood is, what is on the calendar for the year, who is in charge of what committee, Fundraising activities, Social Action projects and more as well as creating a buzz and conversation on issues that come up or projects that need help.


Electronic Newsletter

Many sisterhoods produce newsletters to keep their members informed. There are tools out there to make your newsletter even more useful to your membership. Producing and distributing your newsletter online can facilitateregular communication, save money, and allow you to create an automatic archive. There are tools that will enable you to make your publication more powerful by allowing you to attach documents (forms), link to other sites, provide email links, include images and video, and manage mailing lists. Producing an electronic newsletter can be as simple as creating your content in a word processing program and emailing it to your membership.  The cost for this method is low, but there is a fair amount of work that needs to go into formatting and list-management. Using a tool like Constant Contact can make design, distribution, and tracking easier, but there is a cost. In recent years, competitors such as Robly and Mail Chimp have come on the scene. Each of these tools provides a different combination of services at a different price point (Mail Chimp is free).


Your Social Media Strategy


 When considering how your sisterhood can use social media, it's important to have a strategy.  Experienced users of social media recommend these four steps to get started:

  • Clarify your goal(s). Do you want to ...attract new members? ...communicate with current members? ...refine your image? ...reach out to other organizations? ...get better feedback?
  • Look at what your members are doing already. Are they online? On Facebook? Using mobile devices?
  • Start small. Choose just one or two tools at first.
  • Assign the task. Choose a person to be in charge of using social media on behalf of your sisterhood. That way your online presence will be consistent and you can ensure that your sisterhood is posting regularly enough to be worth following or friending.

Social media cannot replace more traditional forms of communication, but it can be a powerful asset if used wisely.


Questions? Need help getting started?


Click here for a list of links with explanations and instructions for all of the tools listed above.


You can also consult our WRJ Central District Social Media Guru, Hillary Handwerger, hillaryh@ix.netcom.com


-Hillary Handwerger, District Webmaster

  and Patty Rehfus, District Bulletin Editor


Central District Board Member to Participate in Columbus Museum Exhibit


As some of you may know, our own WRJ Central District recording secretary,
Pamela Feldman Hill is an accomplished artist. If you are in the Columbus area, you can see her work in the Columbus Museum of Art's upcoming exhibition on the Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from the Jewish Theological Seminary Library.




Pamela has one piece included in the Columbus "leg" of this traveling exhibition. It is a ketubah which she created for Hallmark Cards in 2001 for use in their Tree of Life Division of Judaica cards.  Also in the exhibition is a piece by Israeli artist Izzy Pludwinski, called "Wildscript Roundel Ketubah." Izzy is one of the 10 artists that Pamela represents.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Pamela will also be doing a workshop at the museum on contemporary trends in the ketubah tradition along with a Hebrew calligraphy demonstration.


Mazel Tov, Pamela!  

Do you have an item of interest that you would like to share? Please send it in so that we can all know about the wonderful things that are going on in our 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 patty@rehfwitz.com


Please submit articles for the July Issue of Isha L'Isha on or before June 15.
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Patty Rehfus
WRJ Central District Bulletin Editor