WRJ Central District
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Sheilah Abramsom-Miles


WRJ Central District
Executive Committee

Sheilah Abramson-Miles

Immediate Past President
Chair of Nominating and Finance Committees
Sandy Adland

Past President
Vice Chair of Nominating
Marilyn Goldfein

1st Vice President
Rachel Lambermont

VP Development & Special Projects
Susan Glazer

VP Marketing & Communication
Beth Lande

Recording Secretary
Marci Delson

Corresponding Secretary
Alida Forshaw

Membership Secretary
Sue Voox

Susan Singer

Bulletin Editor
Alison Auerbach

Judy Berzof

Jan Goldstein

Area Directors
E. Michigan - Hillary Handwerger
W. Michigan - Cindy Bolokofsky
Southwest - Ellen Half
South - Jerri Kaye Mobley
Central Ohio - Lisa Kalson
West - Carol Bloom
N. Ohio - Marilyn Goldfein
N.E. Ohio - Robin Rosen-Sharp

WRJ Board Members
Sheilah Abramson-Miles
Sandy Adland
Alison Auerbach
Sally Blau
Laurie Blinder
Pamela Feldman-Hill
Hilda Glazer
Hillary Handwerger
Rachel Lambermont
Beth Lande
Lesley Levin
Lizabeth McOsker
Jerri Mobley
Charlene Pfenninger
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!
Michelle Simpson
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



Happy New Year
WRJ Central District!
From the President
There is an old saying that the only constant in our world is change. This rings so true in the world today. In both WRJ and Central District we build on the greatness of our past to strengthen and enhance the Jewish future.
Early last November we experienced a wonderful Central District convention in my hometown, Louisville, Kentucky. My sincere thanks go to so many people:
  • Susan Glazer, our Local Arrangements Chair
  • Hillary Handwerger who produced our elegant Ad Journal
  • fredi Bleeker Franks for sharing as our WRJ Guest
  • Pamela Feldman-Hill and Jerri Mobley for truly raising the bar with our YES Fund activities
  • Sandy Adland who gives us a Central District stronger than ever.

We shared Shabbat, Sisterhood and spirituality as we, both literally and physically, crossed a bridge into the future.

In early December Rachel Lambermont and I represented at the District President's meeting in Washington, DC. We met at the Religious Action Center (the RAC) of the Union for Reform Judaism. In this famous building history surrounded us. Great laws were crafted there including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965; legislation which defines Tikkun Olam. This meeting gave us so many insights in leading a District.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Fried Leadership Conference March 3-5 in Charleston, SC. How fitting we meet in this historic city where Reform Judaism was born in America almost 200 years ago. Together we will learn insights for creative leadership to enhance each of our Sisterhoods and congregations.
I have a goal for my Presidency to personally visit each and every Sisterhood in Central District. Please contact me to schedule a visit to your congregation. Remember, this does not count as a WRJ visit or Speakers' Bureau event. If you wish to arrange a Speakers' Bureau event, contact Michelle Simpson.
My prayer, as I begin as your President, is to communicate the strength and soul that is WRJ and our incredible Central District.
Together in Sisterhood,

2016 District Convention Highlights
Some highlights:
Rabbi Nadia Siritsky spoke to us about Human Trafficking and Social Action Initiatives. You can find her speech here.

Tori Murden McClure, a true American heroine, the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean and author of the bestseller "A Pearl in the Storm" spoke to us about rocking the boat. Her book will be our first read for the Central District book club. See below for more information!

Awards were given to our sisterhoods for their many accomplishments. Here the winners of those winners of their sisterhood's Deborah Award in attendance show off their certificates.

Thank You For Your Generosity
t o the YES Fund
Pamela Feldman-Hill
Our Central District sisters have been extremely generous during our 2016 YES fund events at our District Kallah at GUCI in April, and our District Convention in Louisville in November.

Our YES Fund Used Jewelry Auction held during the Central District spring kallah began our fundraising efforts. Our district raised $2600 through the generosity of our kallah attendees and guest auctioneers: Rosanne Selfon, Heather Lorgeree, Sandy Adland, Marci Delson, and Beth Lande. Liz McOsker, Jerri Passo, and Marci Delson also surprised us with additional fundraising opportunities, including linen services and Saturday evening "shots" for a YES donation.
At our Central District convention, our YES fund basket auction was an amazing success! Dozens of baskets were donated by sisterhoods and individuals, and attendees were very generous in their silent bidding during Saturday night's dinner. In addition to the baskets, we had several sisters who chose to begin or complete lifelines, and many delegates who made YES Fund donations throughout the weekend through individual donations and the purchase of Uniongrams. Our Bridge Walk provided a final opportunity for our generous sisters to continue donating.
Our final tally from the District convention was as follows:
Uniongrams Sold $386
Basket Auction $2,435
Donation Cards $1,380
New Sliver Life Line Pledge $600
Bridge Walk $426
Misc. Donations Raised at Plenary $373
Total Raised for the Yes Fund $5,600
The Youth, Education, and Special Projects (YES) Fund represents the collective financial efforts of individual donors and WRJ-affiliated sisterhoods to strengthen the Reform Movement and ensure the future of Reform Judaism. YES Fund grants provide Reform Jewish institutions and individuals worldwide with the tools necessary for religious, social, and educational growth, and enhance Jewish life by supporting clergy, cultivating women's leadership, advocating for social justice, providing programming, and offering support.
Many, many thanks to the women of Central District who work so hard and generously on behalf of WRJ. Stronger Together!!
Pamela Feldman-Hill
Central District YES Chair
WRJ Central District Social Justice/Advocacy:
Spotlight On Human Trafficking
Sue Korn

It is my goal over the next two years to include articles in Isha L'Isha regarding WRJ's Social Justice Advocacy issues. After returning from the Central District Convention in Louisville where I heard Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky address human trafficking I decided this would be an appropriate topic to start with.
In the last two years I have attended several programs on this topic. Locally, in the greater metro Detroit area, I first heard Theresa Flores speak on her experience in human trafficking as a teenager in an affluent area high school. She has written an eye opening book on her experience titled "The Slave Across the Street". A few months later a social worker from the local Jewish Family Services Agency spoke on this issue and the services the local JVS offer for victims of trafficking.
Last spring Temple Israel of West Bloomfield incorporated the issue into their Sisterhood Seder. While this past summer at Hadassah's National Convention a speaker on the issue of trafficking was included in their programming.
This past October our local chapter of NCJW presented a symposium on awareness of the issue. The symposium included special agents from Homeland Security, representatives from the FBI, from the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan, local law enforcement agencies and sheltering organizations such as Alternatives for Girls. It was a day filled with information from organizations who are there to combat this crime.
Just last night on our local news the topic was discussed pointing out that human trafficking is the second fastest growing crime globally. It has become very sophisticated with organized crime involvement.
As Advocacy Chair I urge you to inform your Sisterhood members with programs or projects related to this topic. I would also appreciate hearing about your programs or projects so I can be a resource on Advocacy Issues for your Sisterhoods. Feel free to reach out me at kornbs@udmercy.edu.
As you can see with the number of organizations addressing trafficking it is a very important issue.
Sue Korn
Advocacy/Jewish Family Concerns Chair

Let's Keep Connected to
WRJ Central District

WRJ Central Book Group
WRJ Central is going to be starting a book group, meeting online through Zoom (see related article on Zoom). We are looking for feedback from you to determine exactly how we are going to do this.
We have Zoom in place-do we want to "meet" quarterly or semi-annually? What day and time is best? Contact Hillary Handwerger at hillaryh@ix.netcom.com, if you want to be part of the group and let me know if you are interested in participating. Once I have a group of names, I'll send out a survey to find the preferred days and times and suggested readings. We can have up to 50 women on the discussion at a time, and conceivably hold the group twice on the same book if we need to and have a second moderator.
This is exciting. The group decided we should read books either of Jewish content or by a Jewish Author. The exception is the first book we are recommending: A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure. Why you ask?
For those of you who did not attend the Central District Convention, this might be a mystery. For those who did attend, Ms. McClure was our Saturday speaker and the story she told was exciting and inspiring. A Pearl in the Storm is the true story of the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. McClure's memoir, subtitled, "How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean," is more than a woman-against-the-elements adventure tale; it is, in the words of actress Candice Bergen, "a story of courage, adventure, and personal discovery that will appeal to women and men of all ages." Beautiful, breathtaking, moving, and inspiring.
Ms McClure's credentials and awards are too numerous to mention here, but google her and see what has been written about her and the book.
Again-if you are interested be being part of this book group, contact hilaryh@ix.netcom.com by Jan 15, 2017.

Knitting Workshop - Help Us Make It Happen!
By Hillary Handwerger

At the WRJ Central District Convention in Louisville, I put up a scarf I made for the YES Fund Auction. The scarf was effective - raised a nice amount of money. It also raised something else-an interest in having a knitting group; in our women just getting together to knit, to learn to knit from each other, to work on projects you select, to learn how to make a scarf like this for yourself. Possibly just make squares for a blanket we can donate; we have lots we can think about and create.

Pam Berkson, from Cleveland area, actually is a knitting teacher. I've taught, one-on-one, over the years also. Together we are investigating the opportunity to use WRJ Central District events to have knitting "workshops" the day before a Board Meeting or other District Event. Possibly even have popup "events" where we can spend the day working on our knitting, or have them prior to Area Days. I've talked to Sheilah and she is good with this idea, Sandy is ready to sign up.

Costs: Probably a night at a hotel, along with needles and yarn that we would have you purchase.

Girls weekend out, learn a craft, have fun with the group; get more involved with fellow WRJ members. This sounds exciting to me. Let either Pam or I know if this is something that interests you and we will see what we can pull together.

Hillary Handwerger: hillaryh@ix.netcom.com

Pam Perkson: pjberkson@gmail.com

Join Harmony in Unison for LIVE concerts via Facebook

If you love to sing, or just listen, and you love LOVE and POSITIVE vibes, Harmony in Unison is JUST what you're looking for. Beginning now, you will have the opportunity to hear some of your favorite Jewish Musicians, Cantors, Song Leaders and lovers of Jewish music perform LIVE ON FACEBOOK! It's FREE and it's for YOU!

These musicians want the world to feel the positive energy and love that it deserves. Some of your favorite artists will be sharing their music with us. You'll also get to see and hear some of our favorite people perform: Beth Schafer , Stacy Beyer , Julie Silver , Sam Glaser , Naomi Less , Josh Nelson , Ellen Allard , Sue Radner Horowitz and many others. All you have to do is join this group (tell them I sent you) and follow us on this musical journey. Tell your friends too! Schedules will be posted. If you miss it LIVE, you'll get to find it archived to watch it over and over again! You'll get to comment and react to all concerts too. It will be LIVE!! Thank you to Beth Schafer & Stacy Beyer for putting it all together. We can't wait to see everyone here. Life is Good!!!
Harmony in Unison on Facebook is a Closed GROUP. That means you have to be invited to join. We suggest trying this link first: Harmony in Unison on Facebook . If that doesn't work for you contact Stacey Beyer at stacybeyer@rocketmail.com or Hillary Handwerger at hhandwerger@yahoo.com and they can invite you to join.

WRJ Central District now has Zoom

Zoom is a high quality video web conferencing and webinar software. The program can be used in different scenarios: virtual collaboration, online training sessions, online discussions --like book groups (We'll be using Zoom for our Book Group!).

Zoom allows you to chat, share files, and invite contacts to a meeting - all on your Zoom client for PC, Mac, Android and BlackBerry.

Zoom meetings are easy to join and participate in. WRJ Central now has the capability to have as many as 50 participants at a time in the "meeting". We selected Zoom because it gives us the ability to see each other while we talk, making for a more personal experience and assuring that we know and recognize each other when we get to visit at WRJ Central events.

The designated host for the meeting will send all participants an email that contains information that will let you join the "meeting". The participants will need to download and install the Zoom application. Once you've done that, you are ready to go-for this and future meetings.

What You Will Need:
  • Each meeting has a unique 9, 10, or 11-digit number called a Meeting ID that will be required to join a Zoom meeting
  • If you are joining via telephone, you will need the teleconferencing number provided in the invite.
To learn how easy it is to join a meeting, check out this video:

See how to use Zoom
Please submit articles for the April issue of Isha L'Isha
on or before March 15, 2017.

Articles and photos should be emailed to ishawrjcentral@gmail.com

I'd like to express my thanks to Alida Forshaw
for taking the time to sit down with me and show me the ropes.
She's done a great job, it'll be a difficult act to follow.
-Alison Auerbach