Isha L'Isha Marchl 2015

WRJ Central District
In This Issue
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WRJ Central
Executive Board 2014-2016

Sandy Adland

Immediate Past President
Chair of Nominating and Finance Committees
Marilyn Goldfein

Past President
Vice Chair of Nominating
Hilda Glazer

1st Vice President
Sheilah Abramson-Miles

VP Development & Special Projects
Beth Lande

VP Marketing & Communication
Rachel Lambermont

Recording Secretary
Liz McOsker

Corresponding Secretary
Jan Goldstein

Membership Secretary
Royalyn Vert

Susan Singer

Bulletin Editor
Alida Forshaw

Laurie Blinder

Beth Goldstein

Area Directors
E. Michigan - Michelle Simpson
W. Michigan - Lucy Gersten
Southwest - Alison Auerbach
South - Sandy Heymann
Central Ohio - Lisa Kalson
West - Phyllis Winski
N. Ohio - Trina Miller
N.E. Ohio - Lisa Singer

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


The Central District Speakers Bureau is Here to Serve YOUR sisterhood!


Shabbat Services



Leadership Development

Torah Study

Area Days

A district speaker can take your event to the next level!

Contact Lea Coleman,

to find out more!


You will find helpful resources, toolkits, up- to-date information, and more!

Our website

Our blog - Sharing the Best

Our Facebook Page


March 2015
Happy Passover and
From the President

A number of years ago, while serving on the Board of Directors of Family Development Services - A Head Start Organization- in Indianapolis, I became aware of an educational program entitled "I Am Moving, I Am Learning". While the mission of that early childhood initiative does not actually apply here, those words continue to resonate with me. I can't help but to find new meaning for those words with respect to Central District, when I alter the expression to be, "We Are Moving, We Are Learning".

Over the past four months since our 2014 District Convention in Columbus, Ohio, we, the women of Central District, have done a lot of moving!

  • Twelve women from our district attended the Fried Leadership Conference, held in Austin, Texas, January 30th through February 1st.
  • On February 20-21st, nine women from other sisterhoods throughout Central District (including Eastern Michigan Area Director Michelle Simpson and myself) attended a Sisterhood Shabbat weekend sponsored by Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood in Ann Arbor, MI, which included a workshop led by WRJ Vice President Sharon Benoff.
  • Northeast Ohio Area Director Lisa Singer recently visited Temple Israel Sisterhood in Akron, OH and Rodef Sholom Sisterhood in Youngstown, OH and she's scheduled to visit Temple Israel Sisterhood in Canton, OH in the coming weeks.
  • 1st Vice President Sheilah Abramson-Miles recently attended Sisterhood Shabbat at The Temple WRJ, Louisville, KY.
  • South Area Director Sandy Heymann recently visited both Women of Temple Shalom and The Temple WRJ, both in Louisville, KY.
  • WRJ Board Member Karen Sim served as Central District Guest Speaker for the Women of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Cleveland, OH in recent weeks.
  • Southwest Area Director Alison Auerbach attended Sisterhood Shabbat at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH in March.
  • Vice President of Marketing and Communications Rachel Lambermont and Central Ohio Area Director Lisa Kalson attended a Brunch and Book Chat hosted by Congregation Emanuel Jacob Sisterhood in Mansfield, OH, also in March. This Spring Rachel will be the Central District Guest Speaker for Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood in Cincinnati, OH.
  • Immediate Past President Marilyn Goldfein will be doing the Installation Ceremony for Oheb Shalom Sisterhood in Sandusky, OH during the month of May.

And that's not all. Planning for Area Days is in the works by some of our Area Directors along with representatives from their area sisterhoods. I can't wait to learn of the details as they unfold! It is my hope that we will document a host of upcoming local sisterhood programs occurring throughout the district on our Central District website, which I encourage you to visit often (, so that you will be "in the know" and plan to attend a program in your surrounding area. I can't emphasize enough the numerous benefits of utilizing the Speakers Bureau, both at the district level and the WRJ North American level. Please call on us! Yes, we in Central District are moving; stepping out of our home sisterhoods and experiencing sisterhood programs other than our own.

From those opportunities, "We are Learning"; we are learning about each other, and from each other. We are seeing what we already know through a fresh lens, exchanging new ideas, inspiring one another, fueling each other's creativity and enthusiasm, having fun, and growing our community of sisters. Here in Central District, we are moving, and we are learning. As we go forth, may we continue to make the time and the effort to move throughout our district and seize the opportunity to learn from one another, for in doing so, we will truly be stronger together.

2015 WRJ Fried Leadership Conference Highlights

January 30th - February 1st

The AT&T Conference Center on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas was the scene of a truly exciting, jam-packed three days of learning, growing, sharing, praying, collaborating, singing, eating, dancing, and having FUN with 235 Reform and Progressive Jewish women from throughout North America and Israel. Twelve women from Central District participated in the three day conference. All of us had a great time and learned so much! Here are a few of the weekend's highlights:

*Pre-conference Speaker Development Program

*Pre-conference Bullock Texas State History Museum Tour

*Workshops on the YES Fund, leadership development, social action/advocacy, financial

management, programming, membership, marketing, conflict resolution, and engaging younger women

*Shabbat worship services (Visual T'fillah) led by WRJ District Presidents

*Sharing sessions according to sisterhood size and also by topic (see above workshop topics)

*LBJ Presidential Library Tour

*Special Guest Julie Silver, our songleader-in-residence throughout the weekend

*Special Guest Rabbi Galit Cohen-Kedem, from Congregation Kodesh Ve'Chol, Holon, Israel, who spoke about being a female Reform rabbi in Israel

*Special Guest Rabbi David Wolfman (David S. Wolfman, LLC: The Human Side of Change), who facilitated workshops dealing with WRJ's vision for the future

*Special Guest Lisa Lieberman Barzilai (Director of the Leadership Institute for the Union for Reform Judaism), who shared with the WRJ Board the URJ's new leadership model

*A beautiful Havdalah service (Visual T'fillah) led by WRJ District Presidents

*Texas Barbecue dinner and Line Dancing to live country and western band music

*Inspirational YES Fund breakfast and Closing Circle


Images from the Fried Leadership Conference February, 2015

Check out the WRJ Central Facebook page for more photos from the FLC!

Introducing Some of Our Central District Area Directors...

Alison Auerbach (Southwest)

Hi, I'm Alison Auerbach. I wasn't raised in a Jewish household due to my father's secular upbringing. He was unaware of the different denominations and, when my mother offered to raise their children Jewish they went to a local synagogue. They were told in order for them to marry and raise their children Jewish, my mother would have to convert, going through a year (plus) of study and a mikvah, and even then the Rabbi was not encouraging. Discouraged by these barriers they choose to raise their children Quaker (no, I have no idea how they came to that decision!). However, I was always aware my father was born Jewish.

In my twenties I started dating the man who would become my husband. On a romantic date in Hawaii, which he'd timed to take place just as the sun setting in the background over the ocean, on the last day we were to be there, he asked me if I would consider raising my children as Jews. Yes, I too was expecting a proposal. My reaction was that I didn't know enough to say yes or no to that question (I knew what my answer to the other question would be!). Long story short, the reform Rabbi we met accomplished two things at our first meeting: set my future husband straight that he put the cart before the horse (he proposed that night and said he would be happy with whatever I decided), and also made me realize how much Judaism both had to offer and fit my world view. Instead of barriers, he offered me opportunities to explore Judaism and make sure it was as good a 'fit' as I initially thought. After some time studying I decided to officially convert, having not been raised in a Jewish house, and I haven't looked back.

When we moved to Cincinnati we joined the congregation my husband grew up in. I didn't realize at the time that my children would be seventh generation at the congregation. It wasn't long before I became active in Sisterhood, serving on the board in various capacities. I was in line to become first vice-president when my husband's job necessitated a move. In our new town our synagogue did not have an active sisterhood, and I sorely missed the friendship and support. Upon moving back, I once again became active and found myself co-president within a year. I can't imagine my life without the many friends I've made through sisterhood and look forward to making many more in the years to come.

Lucy Gersten (Western Michigan)

Lucy is serving her second term as Central District, Western Michigan Area Director. She served as dues secretary prior to that.

Lucy is a past president of Temple Beth El sisterhood in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She is the co-buyer and runs the sisterhood gift shop at Temple Beth El.

Lucy co- chaired a Passover program for their sisterhood on March 11, 2015.

Lucy works also as a dental hygienist. She is married and has two children and one grandchild.

Lisa Kalson (Central Ohio)

If a play can be written in three acts, why not a life? Lisa Kalson's first act was her childhood and early professional career in California, as a reporter for a daily newspaper, publicist for a Jewish non-profit, and teacher of third-graders. She switched gears in her mid-30s for her second act, going to law school at Ohio State, meeting and marrying her husband Jonathan (already a lawyer), and working as juvenile-defense attorney while raising her son, Adam. As she faces an empty nest next year with Adam heading off to college, Lisa sees herself getting more thoroughly involved as an area director with WRJ Central District. She is excited about the opportunity to meet women from throughout central Ohio and other states, to travel to conferences, and to learn about new trends and challenges facing Sisterhoods.

Lisa, a former Sisterhood president, has been a member of Congregation Beth Tikvah in Worthington, OH for 18 years. She grew up in the Reform movement and distinctly remembers the theme of her Bat Mitzvah speech: how Judaism and feminism are compatible. However, it never occurred to her to wear a kippa or tallit, even though she stood next to her twin brother on the bima. She is thrilled to see today's young girls wear both as a matter of course.

Her hobbies include trying to read two or three newspapers a day, with varying success; walking her seven-pound Shih-poo, Buddy; and staying upright while ice skating. She hopes to travel more and see Jewish communities wherever she goes.

Michelle Simpson (Eastern Michigan)

Michelle Simpson lives in Rochester Hills, MI, but was born in NY and raised in NH. She has always been involved in synagogue life, from youth group to sisterhood and more. While in college in Marietta, OH she was adopted by the one Jewish professor and was welcomed at the synagogue in Parkersburg, WV for High Holidays and services. There she got her BS in Computer Science and Mathematics. After graduating and moving to Michigan, she was on her temples' board for over 8 years and engaged with the Central District Executive Committee even longer. Michelle is drawn to women's groups and the power they have and support they provide. She is a member of the Global Women's' Network (GWN) in her company; as well as the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT), which supports girls exploring technology and hi-tech careers. Michelle is a Global Quality Manager at a major IT company for 30 years. She is married to her very supportive husband, Dave, for 23 years and they have two children; Ryan 20 (a college junior studying Game Art and Animation in Arizona) and Caitlin 14 (a high school freshman, who has her own business Caitlin's Creations). Michelle is also engaged in her sisterhood at Congregation Shir Tikvah as well as other community outreach activities, including a regular Red Cross blood donor. In any spare time, Michelle enjoys travelling, nature, reading, sewing, and eating.

Michelle finds strength, rejuvenation, and heart with the women she has met through WRJ and hopes that she continues to grow and develop personally from her WRJ (District and Sisterhood) connections, as well as contributes to the growth of others, and the mission and goals of the organization. May we be stronger together!

Honor Mom This Year With A Gift That Will Make A Difference For Survivors of Domestic Abuse

A Meaningful Mother's Day Gift for Loved Ones and Women in Need

WOMEN OF REFORM JUDAISM has partnered with Jewish Women International (JWI) to make this holiday special for some of the 45,000 women and children spending Mother's Day in battered women's shelters. We can make a difference for these survivors of violence while we celebrate the women we love. JWI's Mother's Day Flower Project lets you give a gift that honors everything Mom has given you - and the person you have become because of it.

Through the annual Mother's Day Flower Project, JWI will send bouquets of flowers, as well as beauty products from OPI Products, Inc., to 200 shelters across the United States.

Here's how it works:

  • You choose an inspiring woman in your life - mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend - and make a $25 donation to JWI in her honor.
  • JWI sends a beautiful card, which will arrive by Mother's Day, to each designated recipient, stating that a charitable contribution has been made in her honor
  • JWI uses proceeds from the sale of these cards to send beautiful bouquets of flowers and baskets of beauty products to domestic violence shelters on Mother's Day, as well as new financial literacy resources to help these survivors of abuse
  • Your donation funds JWI's work year-round, and a portion also goes back to WRJ

You can buy your Mother's Day Flower Project cards online at .

For more information, please contact JWI at 202-857-1300 or . All gifts to JWI are tax-deductible.

What's Nu?

Check this sampling of what our sisterhoods are up to. What's happening in your sisterhood? Please let us know so we can spread the word about all the great things that are going on in our district!

Sisterhood Shabbat at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI

The weekend of Feb 20-21, 2015, Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood held its Sisterhood Shabbat Service and invited a WRJ representative to speak to us. We also invited all the Sisterhoods within an hour of us to come for both or the events for the weekend.

Sharon Benoff, VP Development & Special Projects, came to Ann Arbor. She delivered an inspiring and illuminating d'vor torah for us on Friday night at services. And our Committee who developed the Shabbat service were excellent. Poems by Margie Percy and other women poets were interspersed in our readings.

Saturday we had held a workshop. We had members from Kol Ami, Shir Tikvah, and Temple Israel as well as members of our Social Action Committee at TBE. Sandy Adland, President of WRJ Central District also came from Canton, OH to our weekend.

The focus for our Saturday meeting was Social Action.

Sharon briefly spoke about WRJ and its history of Social Action. We then discussed RAC and some of the new WRJ Resolutions and initiative; worked as small groups on packets of information on resolutions covering:

  • Reproductive Rights
  • LGBT Issues
  • Race Relations
  • Pay Equity
  • Immigration
  • Israel

The idea was to take these issues and come up with resources, initiatives and programs that might help us work on them within our Sisterhood and a larger context.

We talked about Leadership development and shared experiences. We have also started to share events. We are going to try to meet on a somewhat regular basis and talk and share.

Coming together to learn About Faith in Cincinnati , Ohio

Sunday, March 15th marked the opening of ABOUT FAITH, an exhibit of art by nine Jewish women artists in celebration of National Jewish Arts Month. An initiative of the American Guild of Judaic Studies and sponsored by the Mayerson JCC, the exhibit's Curator is Beth Goldstein (Central District Historian) and includes work by Pamela Feldman-Hill, Central District YES Fund Chair. The opening was attended by Beth, Pamela, WRJ and Central District Board member Liz McOsker, many local sisterhood members, and Ellen Half (Temple Israel Sisterhood) from Columbus, OH.

Marilyn and Dr. Arthur Lieber of Lexington, KY make NFTY Grant Possible

"Hats off to Marilyn Lieber (Past NFTS Board Member and Past District Vice President , Treasurer, and Financial Secretary ) and her husband, Dr. Arthur Lieber, whose grant has made possible the expansion of NFTY's Nashir Teen Songleading Program. Marilyn is a long time member and supporter of Temple Adath Israel Sisterhood in Lexington, KY."

Upcoming Events

Find a Treasure at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI

From Vintage to New and everything in between!

Come and buy "Previously Loved" jewelry, purses, gloves, fashion hats, scarves, trinkets, antiques, serving pieces, curios furs, pottery, Judaica, art and so much more.

Discover treasures from the troves of new and gently used items collected for this event.

Looking for those fabulous finds?
We've got them at Temple Beth Emeth, April 19th, in the Social Hall, 7:30-9:30 pm

Most of our items will be pre-marked with prices, but we will be having a silent auction where you can bid on some very special pieces of "art."

Enjoy coffee, desserts and other nosheri. Visit with friends, other Sisterhood members, people from the community and SE Michigan.

Win door prices.

$10 Admission

For further information,
contact Bethany Steinberg at or call her at 734-358-0753

Proceeds from Trinkets and Treasures will go to support TBE's Youth Activities

Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Celebrate "An Art-full Area Day" Shabbat in Columbus, OH

The courage of a Jewish woman who told the story of her Polish village in
needlework will be the focus of "An Art-full Area Day," to be held from 2 to 4 p.m.
Saturday afternoon, June 6 at the Columbus Art Museum for Central Ohio Area Sisterhood members.
The event will honor Shabbat with a D'var Torah, ha-motzi over refreshments and a
talk about WRJ Central District. A docent then will give a private tour of "Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz," a special exhibit stopping in Columbus for two months.

Sisterhood members are welcome to stay at the museum until it closes at 5:30 p.m.
The event is being held on a Shabbat afternoon due to very large crowds on Sundays. The museum has graciously reduced the price for room rental and refreshments because of our non-profit status. RSVPs are essential; no transactions involving money will be conducted on Shabbat; no walk-ins will be allowed because the room has a capacity set by fire safety officials.

Look for an evite or some other electronic communication to reserve your
spot --
or better yet, contact Central Ohio Area Director Lisa Kalson if you wish to sign up now or if you have any questions. She can be reached by phone at (614) 792-9133 or via email at

Don't Forget About The 50th WRJ Assembly in Orlando, Florida
November 4-8
Registration will begin in May.
We can't wait to see you there!
Please submit articles for the June Issue of Isha L'Isha
on or before May 15, 2015.

Articles and photos should be emailed to

It is my pleasure to serve as your Bulletin Editor for the next two years. Thanks to Patty Rehfus (and everyone in our district) for
your patience and guidance through this transition. Keep the good things coming!

Alida Forshaw,

Bulletin Editor

WRJ Central District