WRJ Central District
In This Issue
President's Message
Fried Leadership Conference!
District Convention Highlights
YES Fund Auction a Success
Convention Photos
Introducing our Vice Presidents
New Affiliates!
What's Nu?
Submit an Article
Want a Central District Pin?
Of Course You Do!

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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



January 2015
Happy New Year!
From the President

What an honor and a privilege it is to serve as your WRJ Central District President for the next two years! Sisterhood has given so much to me over the past 30+ years of my involvement in NFTS/WRJ and in Central District, and I feel it is time for me to give back to the organization that has helped me to grow spiritually, educationally, professionally, and on so many levels, as a Jewish woman. I can't think of a more exciting and rewarding time to take this journey together with you, as we embark upon the next century of WRJ.

So here we are. Atem Nitzavim. We stand here, all of us together, on the shoulders of 100 years of Jewish women whose vision, tenacity, dedication, chutzpah and strength have brought us to this moment in time. We have inherited their precious legacy, and now, it's our turn. In recent years, to be sure, we've heard variations on a common theme. Our Jewish world seems to be shrinking. Temple membership is diminishing. Sisterhood membership is declining, and the Millenials are less interested in affiliation. Technology is changing the way we communicate. In a world that is becoming increasingly more "impersonal", how do we, as a Jewish women's organization, stay relevant? What is our reason for being? What is our mission, why do we continue to reach out to the Jewish women in our community to join us, and what is the importance of having sacred groups of Jewish women? The bottom line is this: we need each other. Women naturally seek friendship, support, and companionship. We affirm, learn from, and inspire one another, and we experience life through a lens that is specific to being a woman. As our WRJ tagline so accurately states, we are truly Stronger Together.

We, the women of Central District, understand this. The question is, how do we proceed as we stand at the precipice of this next one hundred years? I believe the answers lie in 3 major areas, the first being that of "warmth and welcoming", a concept that Rabbi Rick Jacobs coined as "Audacious Hospitality". The concept is not new; in fact, it goes all the way back to the Torah. Abraham and Sarah offered Audacious Hospitality to their visitors, welcoming them, feeding them, making them feel at home in their midst. Each one of us has that same opportunity to reach out to Jewish women in our midst that we don't yet know, or know beyond a mere hello. Each one of us has the power to change one woman's life by inviting her to be a new friend, and by inviting her to share the beauty and meaningfulness that sisterhood holds. That one invitation can change a life. Audacious Hospitality can and will lead to greater engagement of the Jewish women in our midst.

The second area I believe is critical, and this too is not an original theme, is in the adage, "it takes a village". It takes all of us working together; connecting with one another. The strength of Central District is dependent upon all of us, reaching out to one another from sisterhood to sisterhood, from city to city, and across state lines. We do ourselves no favors when our sisterhoods operate in an insular fashion. Our Speakers Bureau at both the district and WRJ level is armed and ready to visit our sisterhoods, share their knowledge and provide a fresh perspective. Our Area Directors create Area Days for the purpose of bringing our local sisterhoods within their given areas together for educational, spiritual, and always fun experiences, and our 1st Vice President pours herself into planning both the Interim meeting and District Convention, bringing all of us in Central District together under one roof. It takes a village to be our strongest. Think about the women in your sisterhood, as well as others you may know throughout our district. You are the village, overflowing with talent; you are organizers, professionals, artists, fundraisers, teachers, balabustas, community leaders and so much more. Just think what we can do, when we work together and share our talents, our creativity, and our ideas, not only at home, but throughout Central District.

And the third area, the elephant in the middle of the room, is this; communication. Central District does a wonderful job of maintaining and updating a beautiful website, a Facebook page, and a district bulletin, Isha L'Isha, which is sent out electronically at least four times a year. All three of these are chock full of relevant information that has the potential to strengthen our sisterhoods. The problem is that the information often does not reach the bulk of our general membership. We must be vigilant about making sure that every single woman in our sisterhoods receives the information, where possible, that flows from the district. Communication is a vital part of the big picture.

Three key areas: Audacious hospitality, connections, communication. I believe these are the three things on which the success of Central District stands. We are blessed to be standing here, all of us together, on the brink of this next 100 years, with the opportunity to honor the work of our foremothers. May their efforts and their accomplishments continue to inspire our work. The future is OURS to create.

I'll close with a poem by one of my favorite authors, Shel Silverstein: The poem is entitled, "Invitation".


If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!

Come in!

I doubt we have any liars, pretenders, or magic bean buyers among us, but I'm certain we have some dreamers, wishers, hopers and prayers. That fire we'll sit by? That's the warmth and light of WRJ. And those flax golden tales to spin? Those are the stories that we will write together, in Central District. This is YOUR invitation. Come in. Come in. May we, stronger together, continue to go from strength to strength.

Keyn Y'hi Ratzon,

Don't Miss the 2015 Fried Leadership Conference - A unique opportunity to connect, learn, and enrich your sisterhood!

Registration ends January 16
Huge discount for women 35 and under!!

2014 WRJ Central District Convention Highlights

What an exciting, inspiring and fun weekend we shared in Columbus, Ohio the weekend of November 6th-9th! In case you weren't able to attend, here are some highlights from the weekend!

  • Author Maggie Anton shared how she came to write her fiction series "Rashi's Daughters" and "Rav Hisda's Daughter". She told us about the Talmud's references to magic. It was fascinating!
  • Jessica Stone, NFTY-OV Social Action Vice President wowed us with her words regarding NFTY's support from WRJ in the areas of empowerment, Torah, and creative programming.
  • We experienced engaging, information-packed workshops in the areas of leadership, succession planning, membership, finance, fundraising, marketing and communication, "Audacious Hospitality", and the "basics" of WRJ and Central District.
  • Friday night Shabbat services at Temple Israel, led by Rabbi Sharon Mars and Cantor Bat-Ami Moses, were joyous, spiritual, and elevating!
  • Saturday morning workshops prepared our delegates for Shabbat worship through music, meditation, Torah Study, and artistic expression.
  • We experienced an inspiring Shabbat morning creative service complete with our WRJ Torah, followed by a scrumptious Shabbat lunch.
  • Keynote Speaker Rabbi Elka Abrahamson challenged us to summon our "grit", own our power, and ensure that women have equal representation at the tables of leadership.
  • Pat Blum and Marla Feldman offered us an exciting tour of the new WRJ website as well as Yammer, WRJ's newest means of communication among its leadership.
  • Marla Feldman opened our eyes to the empowering opportunities we have in the area of women's philanthropy and how we can make a significant impact through collective fundraising efforts.
  • A truly moving Installation ceremony was followed by Havdalah, led by many of our district's Past Presidents.
  • Our YES Fund presentation with special guest Greg Kellner, Director of URJ Six Points Sci-Tech Academy, coupled with our silent (basket) auction and live auction, raised $11,000!
  • Saturday evening entertainer Sally Fingerett, performing her one woman musical review "The Mental Yentl", was met with rave reviews!
  • Sunday morning's Town Hall gave all delegates the opportunity to ask questions about WRJ and Central District.
  • We had a great time learning, singing, praying, laughing and being together, and most of all, we had FUN!
Sandy Adland,
WRJ Central District

YES Fund Auction at Central District Convention 2014

Our YES fund auction, held in November during the Central District convention, was an amazing success! Over 30 baskets were donated by 24 sisterhoods and individuals, and attendees were very generous in their silent bidding during Saturday night's dinner. We were honored to hear from Greg Kellner, Director of the URJ Six Points Sci-Tech Academy, who shared with us some heartfelt personal memories from several of his female campers who were YES fund grant recipients.

In addition to the baskets, a donation was made by Sheilah Abramson-Miles of a condo-stay in Miami Beach, which was auctioned off "live" by our WRJ representative and guest auctioneer, Pat Blum. A pair of diamond earrings, created and donated by Marc Aronstam of Aronstam Fine Jewelers of Indianapolis, a basket full of WRJ goodies, and a pink cowgirl hat were also included in the live auction. We had several generous sisters who chose to begin or increase lifelines, and many delegates who made YES Fund donations throughout the weekend.

As always, I was overwhelmed to see the generosity and whimsy of our delegates, who opened up their wallets and hearts with cash donations for centerpieces, desserts, and photo opportunities with the pink hat!

Our final tally was as follows:

Miscellaneous cash donations: $482

Basket Auctions: $5405

YES donations: $2763

Lifelines: $2350 (includes one completed gold and two new silver)

GRAND TOTAL: $11,000!!!!

Mazal tov to Marci Delson as she completes her term as YES Chair with an act that will truly be hard to follow! Many, many thanks to the women of Central District who work so hard and generously on behalf of WRJ. Stronger Together!!

Pamela Feldman-Hill,

YES Fund Chair

WRJ Central District

Images from the District Convention November, 2014

Rachel Lambermont, Keynote Speaker, Rabbi Elka Abrahamsonand Alida Forshaw
2014-2016 Executive Board!
Marilyn Goldfein and Sandy Adland

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

Introducing our Central District Vice Presidents...

Sheilah Abramson-Miles (1st Vice President)

Sheilah Abramson-Miles has been involved with Sisterhood since 1975. She served on the Board of the Sisterhood of Temple Sinai in Lake Charles, LA. When she returned to her hometown, Louisville, KY she joined the Auxiliary of Temple Shalom, eventually moving the group to affiliate with WRJ as WOTS (Women of Temple Shalom). She served on the WOTS board in several offices including President. Recently she has been active on the boards of both Central District and WRJ. Sheilah is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. For over thirty years she has been involved in early childhood education. Currently she administers a preschool for at risk children for the Jefferson County Public Schools. Sheilah also currently serves as President of the boards of Paws With Purpose, an organization training service dogs for the disabled and Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad, the religious school of three Louisville synagogues. She is married to Rabbi Stan Miles. Sheilah and Stan are the proud parents of Susan and Seth Miles and Heather Miles-Harper and Shayne Harper and grandparents of Ava-Riley, Harrison and Eloise Miles and Elijah and Keegan Harper.

Beth Lande (Vice President - Development and Special Projects)

Beth Lande lives in Indianapolis, IN but grew up in Bloomfield HiIls, MI and was a member of Temple Israel and Temple Kol Ami. Beth has always been involved in her Temple and Sisterhood. Besides attending conventions, Beth has held positions on our district board for the past 4 years. From 2010-2012 she was VP of Marketing and Communications and the past two years as the Convention Facilitator. Beth's current position as VP of Development and Special Projects is over YES Fund, Affiliate Development and Advocacy/Jewish Family Concerns with chairs responsible for each area. She is excited about this opportunity and working with the women on our board and throughout our district. Beth has been a member and involved in Sisterhood for her entire adult life. At her local Sisterhood level she has held several positions from Assistant Treasurer, Programming VP, Yes Fund Chair and President. Beth's love and support for the WRJ is constant and is her passion besides her family and work. The support of Social justice worldwide and funding for numerous causes while bringing it back locally is what constantly inspires her at every level of the WRJ. As important, she also has made lasting friends through her involvement which she treasures. Aside from her volunteer commitments, Beth works for Travelers Insurance managing their construction division for Insurance programs for three states. This keeps her extremely busy but there is always time for work with the WRJ. Beth has been married to Jerry Lande for 32 years and they are now empty nesters with two wonderful, grown children. Jen is 25 and lives in Chicago working for the Jewish Federation in youth event planning. Alex is 22 and will be graduating this year from Purdue University in construction management with a great job waiting for him also in Chicago. Beth looks forward to a great year ahead with an amazing board and women throughout our district and the world.

Rachel Lambermont (Vice President - Marketing and Communications)

Rachel Lambermont has been a member of the WRJ Board of Directors since 2011. As a member of the Board has served as co-chair of the New Affiliates committee, the Leadership committee and is a member of the Resolutions committee. In these roles she has worked with the eight districts' New Affiliate Chairs to train and develop strategies for engaging and retaining new affiliates to WRJ. Rachel worked to create and present a training webinar for WRJ sisterhood presidents to help them be effective and successful in their individual sisterhoods. In addition,Rachel is serving as Program Co-chair for the 50th Assembly in Orlando, FL. On the District level Rachel has been the Area Director for Central Ohio since 2009. In this role she has created a presidents' binder to help sisterhood presidents stay organized and be effective. Rachel works closely with her sisterhood presidents on issues of leadership development, membership and fundraising. She has also helped coordinate Area Days. Locally, Rachel served as sisterhood president for the Beth Tikvah Sisterhood from 2007-2009. She loves staying active in her local sisterhood and serves as Past President since 2009 and has served as Membership co-chair. Rachel is passionate about the mission of WRJ and the opportunities it provides for women to learn new skills and develop as individuals while furthering the goals of Progressive Judaism.

Personally, Rachel has been married to her husband Dave for eight years and is mother to Owen age six. She loves and thrives on the support her husband and family have provided her in her journey with WRJ.

We extend a warm and hearty welcome

to our newest affiliates, who received their gavels at the Central District Convention in Columbus

Temple Israel Sisterhood

Canton, Ohio

Rodef Sholom Sisterhood

Youngstown, Ohio

Mazel tov! We're so happy you've joined us!

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!

Sharon Benoff at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI
Please Join Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood for their Sisterhood Shabbat service on Friday evening, February 20 and a workshop on Saturday, January 21 with WRJ VP, Sharon Benoff. Watch the WRJ Central Facebook page for additional details as they become available.

This wonderful musical event at Temple Beth Emeth is just one of the fascinating programs they have planned. Check out the WRJ Central Facebook page for more details about this and other happenings.

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. Let us know about the great things that are happening in your sisterhood!! Share your 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 ishawrjcentral@gmail.com

Please submit articles for the April Issue of Isha L'Isha
on or before March 15, 2015.

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

It has been my pleasure to serve as your Bulletin Editor for the past two years. Starting with the next issue, Isha L'Isha will be in the very capable hands of Alida Forshaw. Thanks for all of your support, ideas and kind words!

Patty Rehfus,

Bulletin Editor (for now)

WRJ Central District

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WRJ Central | 3535 Sturbridge Ct | Ann Arbor | MI | 48105