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 - Charlene Pfenninger
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





October 2015
Happy New Year and Autumn
From the President
Let me begin by wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and sweet New Year 5776!  New beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates..... these images suggest an atmosphere filled with new ideas, energy, enthusiasm, and possibilities!
Central District continues to be vibrant, energetic, and on the move. A wealth of activity has occurred since our last Isha L'Isha publication; Area events, Caravans, conference calls, and more. There have been quite a few Area Days throughout the spring and summer months. On June 6th I attended the Central Ohio Area Day event entitled, "An Art-ful Area Day" at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus OH. Southwest Area held an Area Day event entitled, "Kol Isha: Let Our Voices Be Heard", on June 16th in Cincinnati, OH. South Area held an Area Day, "Shop, Lunch, Learn, and Win!" on June 28th in Simpsonville, KY. Northern Ohio cancelled their Area Day originally scheduled for July 12th, and it is now rescheduled for November 11th in Cleveland, OH at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. The event will include a tour of the "Violins of Hope" exhibit. Eastern and Western Michigan areas held a joint Leadership Development Area Day on August 2nd. Northeast Area has scheduled an Area Day on October 31st at the Kent State Fashion Museum. West Area is in the process of securing a fall date for their Area Day which will take place at the Candles Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, IN. Without question, the women of Central District LOVE the opportunity to connect with one another! I hope you will all take advantage of this great opportunity to gather with other sisterhood women in your area as future events are planned.
Also this summer, two Caravans took place. Sheilah Abramson-Miles, Beth Lande and Charlene Pfenninger traveled to United Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood in Terre Haute, IN. Rachel Lambermont, Sandy Heymann and I traveled to Beth El Sisterhood in Knoxville, TN. Both ventures were wildly successful in reconnecting the women of these two sisterhoods to our district. We look forward to planning more Caravans in the near future.
As an Ex-officio member of the Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) Advisory Board, I represented Central District twice this summer at camp, June 26th-27th, and again on July24th-25th. While there I, along with other district leaders, met with the GUCI Advisory Board's Vice Chair Katy Shapiro to discuss plans for the inaugural Women's Work Weekend, scheduled for the spring of 2016. Details to follow as plans develop.
Due to her upcoming role as WRJ Treasurer, Lisa Singer has resigned from her position as Northeast Area Director. We welcome and offer thanks to Elaine Frayman who will assume that role, effective in November.
Please join me in extending a hearty mazal tov to our 36th and newest affiliate, Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood in Carmel, Indiana! They will officially receive their charter and gavel at the WRJ 2015 Assembly in Orlando.
As I write this article, Central District has 43 people registered through WRJ for the 2015 WRJ Assembly; 42 women plus 1 spouse. Of the 42 women, 17 are 1st Timers! Each of these 1st Timers will be paired with a mentor from our district who will be attending the assembly. Also regarding the WRJ Assembly, 4 sisterhoods in Central District were eligible for grants; the sisterhoods in Youngstown, Canton, Mansfield, (all in Ohio) and Carmel, IN, and I'm delighted to announce that all four sisterhoods will be represented at the WRJ Assembly. While the early bird registration deadline has already passed, it is not too late to register! Please consider joining us for this incredibly fun, memorable and enriching experience.
Mazal tov to all of our Central District women who are on the WRJ Board of Directors slate for the coming term. (All were listed in the last bulletin. Please add to the list a hearty mazal tov to Beth Lande, whose name has been added to the slate as Member-at-Large.)
I am excited to announce that WRJ Vice President fredi Bleeker-Franks from Houston, TX will be our WRJ Special Guest for our Central District Convention in Louisville, KY in November of 2016! We are so fortunate to have been matched with fredi for our convention weekend!
As the spring and summer months held a host of leadership turnovers and installations, let me welcome all who have stepped up to the plate in new leadership roles. Please know that we are all here to have each other's back and help each other grow into our roles as district and local sisterhood leaders. May we continue to be ever-mindful of audacious hospitality, connections, and communication.  We have maintained a wonderfully enthusiastic and energetic momentum throughout Central District over the past year. Let's keep it going, and in this Jewish New Year 5776, may each of us strive to be our "personal best" in our role as district and local sisterhood leaders. We are just days away from Simchat Torah when we will complete the book of Deuteronomy and begin again with Genesis. As we say farewell to 5775 and welcome 5776, let us say, "Chazak chazak v'nit chazeik" - Be strong, be strong, and together, we will strengthen one another.

Introducing WRJ Central District's Amazing Chairs
by Beth Lande 
VP Development and Special Projects 
WRJ Central District has a wealth of resources to offer our local sisterhoods.  Within our district under the areas of Development and Special Projects and Marketing and Communications we have six women responsible for chairing specific areas. Their role is as a resource and support person for every local sisterhood as well as supporting our district overall and WRJ.
If you have not worked with them or spoken to them we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to each of them and share with you their areas of responsibility and how they can assist you individually and your sisterhood.
Marketing and Communications - Rachel Lambermont -Vice President

Awards Chair - Jan Muhlbaum 
Jan has the responsibility to coordinate and oversee our awards program to be presented to our local sisterhoods at our district biennial in Louisville in November of 2016.  You will be hearing from her in early 2016 explaining the program and qualifications and asking for your local sisterhood submissions.
Jan lives in Mason, Ohio and is a member of Rockdale Temple.  She has been very active in her temple and her local community.  Jan has held positions as past sisterhood president, past Kulanu president for the Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School and held several volunteer positions at Mason High School.
Besides being an active volunteer, Jan is happily married to Steve and they are both University of Texas alums.  They have three amazing children ranging from a junior in high school to young adults which keep them very busy as well.  Jan brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to our board and we look forward to a great awards program in 2016 at our district biennial.

Web Site Manager/Chair - Hillary Handwerger  
Hilary manages and maintains our Central District website.  Hillary has created and developed our website and keeps it up to date.  Hillary has done many presentations at our meetings and is available to help any sisterhood in creating and maintaining a website or anything else connected with social media.
Hilllary lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a member of Temple Beth Emeth.  Hillary has held almost every position in her local sisterhood and is currently president of it for the fifth time!!!!  Hillary has been on our district board for six years creating our current electronic version of our newsletter Isha L'isha as the bulletin editor in addition to our website.  She has been on the national WRJ board since 2013.
Hillary is happily married to Ken.  They have a grown son and daughter and one grandson and two step granddaughters.  Hillary is a great resource to all of us for any and all electronic and social media needs for you and your local sisterhood. 
Speakers Bureau Chair - Lea Coleman 
Lea oversees and coordinates all requests for speaking and training engagements within our Central District.  If your local sisterhood is looking for a program, presenter, speaker or any kind of resource with a person from our district coming to your local sisterhood, Lea is your contact and person to make it happen.  Every sisterhood is entitled to one district speaker for presentations or training and development every two years at no cost to the local sisterhood.  (This is also true at WRJ National level).  Contact Lea with any requests or questions regarding a district resource.  Always allow as much time as possible to coordinate schedules.
Lea lives in Carmel, Indiana and is a member of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC).  Lea has held positions of treasurer, membership VP and is currently Yes fund chair at her congregation.  Lea is also the Youth programming director for IHC which keeps her very busy all year round.
Lea is happily married to Justin and they have a daughter who is now 16 and spending this semester in Israel with EIE. Please reach out to Lea for ideas, guidance and direction with your local speaker and training needs so we can provide support within our district.     

 Development and Special Projects - Beth Lande -Vice President 

Affiliate Development Chair - Judy Berzof 
Judy has held this position for three years on our district board.  Judy's role is to work with our district to engage and obtain new sisterhoods as WRJ affiliates and coordinate their introduction to WRJ and keep them engaged.  Judy has helped in adding three new affiliates in the last few years with Congregation Beth Shalom from Carmel, Indiana most recently in July of 2015.
Judy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and is a member of Temple Shalom.  Judy has held many positions in her sisterhood which is the Women of Temple Shalom. She is the immediate past president and has held positions as VP fund raising, VP membership, and recording secretary.  She has also held positions on her temple board.  In our district prior to this position, Judy was an area director.
Judy is happily married and both Judy and her husband are retired journalists.   Judy loves playing Maj Jongg and loves being a part time trainer for a yellow lab service dog through Paws with Purpose. Please reach out to Judy if you have any questions about WRJ affiliation for you or a Sisterhood not affiliated at this time. 

Advocacy and Social Justice Chair - Sue Korn 
Sue is responsible for this area and has an extensive background in social justice and helping others.  Sue's role is to act as a resource in our district and keep us informed of any focus or causes in our district and nationally with WRJ.  Sue can provide ideas and direction for education and social justice ideas for your local sisterhood throughout the year.
Sue  lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan and is a member of Congregation Shir Tikvah in Troy, Michigan.  Sue is an active member of their sisterhood and was involved in creating the by-laws, was secretary and then president for three years.  Sue worked at the University of Detroit Mercy Hospital for over 30 years as faculty in the nursing department where social justice was a major part of their curriculum.  This role is a natural area for her to help develop for our district.
Sue is happily married with two grown children and three grandchildren.  Sue is available as a resource with ideas and to assist locally with your sisterhood in any advocacy/social justice events or programming.

Yes Fund Chair - Pamela Feldman-Hill 
Pamela brings to us a wealth of knowledge and passion as she oversees our Yes fund initiative and goals for our district.  Pamela's role is to act as a resource for our local sisterhoods regarding promotional materials and programming to help educate sisterhoods not familiar with the purpose and goals of YES Fund.  Sisterhoods contribute to the YES Fund by making direct contributions throughout the year with overall honor roll goals of $18/member for Chai honor roll, $10/member for Special Merit and $5/member for Roll of Honor.  All these contributions support the YES Fund which contributes internationally to Youth, Education and Special Projects (YES) throughout the world.
Pamela lives in Gahanna, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus) and is a member of Temple Israel and very active in the Women of Temple Israel sisterhood.  Pamela is currently the VP of Communications, Marketing an Outreach and has held many other positions.  On our district board she was the recording secretary before chairing YES Fund.  Pamela teaches Hebrew and is an artist, specializing in Judaic art and Ketubot.
Pamela is happily married to her husband, Greg and they have one grown daughter who works at a Reform Congregation in Maryland as their Youth engagement Director.
Pamela is available as a resource and can provide information to your local sisterhoods to support your education on YES Fund and help you achieve your goals that ultimately impact so many organizations and people throughout the world with WRJ's funding.      
In summary please know that our district and these very talented and knowledgeable women are here for all of you to support and educate your sisterhoods.   Please reach out to any and all of us with your questions, needs and ideas as they arise.   We look forward to working with each and every one of you as some point during the next year.

 An Overview of Important WRJ Resolutions
by Sue Korn
Advocacy and Social Justice Chair
In May the WRJ Board of Directors approved 3 changes to our constitution. A two thirds vote of the assembled delegates in Orlando in November will be required for the adoption of these revisions.
                The first resolution addresses Distracted Driving. Distracted driving includes texting and hand-held cell use while driving. Hands-free phone conversations should be limited only to instances of absolute necessity. We will be asked to launch congregation-wide campaigns to take the pledge. Sisterhoods will also be expected to educate members and partner with the synagogue and community to lead by example and commit to not use cell phones while driving.
                Partnering with your synagogue's religious school and youth group or with other community groups to educated young people on this issue will be encouraged.
                Legislation should be promoted for increased safe driving. This would include but not be limited to primary enforcement laws and other laws to deter and appropriately punish distracted driving.
                Finally, to work with NFTY at the North American and international levels to educate drivers about the impact of distracted driving and encourage individuals to pledge not to use cell phones while driving.
                Given the profound injustices of unequal pay, the second proposal addresses Pay Equity. The proposal urges the swift adoption of legislation that would provide women who face sex-based wage discrimination with a straightforward accessible path for recourse. This would include, but not limited to, retaliation against workers who disclose their wages and ensuring the right to maintain a class action lawsuit.
                The proposal would also encourage synagogue leadership to enact just compensation policies for clergy and staff at all levels. It would ensure that policies properly guide compensation, interviewing, hiring, firing, and promoting of clergy and staff.
                Sisterhoods or other congregational programs would be encouraged to empower women with the tools to address pay inequity that they may face outside the synagogue. We would be encouraged to take a leadership role to address pay equity in our Jewish and local community
                The final proposal addresses Paid Family and Medical Leave. Background research showed that out of 185 countries  reviewed by the International Labour Organization, the United States is one of just two countries that does not guarantee paid maternity leave, the other being Papua New Guinea.
                The proposal encourages the support of paid family and medical leave policies which would include the assessment of the feasibility and impact of other specific proposals at all levels of government. We would be encouraged to help build coalitions and to advocate for the passage of paid family and medical leave laws. Congregations would be urged along with all arms of the Reform Movement to provide paid family and medical leave to their employees thus setting an example for their communities.
                This proposal follows a longstanding commitment to economic justice and well-being of
 Families, WRJ calls upon sisterhoods to support this proposal.

Local Sisterhoods Visit Terre Haute IN and Knoxville TN
by Sheilah Abramson-Miles and Rachel Lambermont 
     On August 8th 1st VP Sheilah Abramson-Miles, VP of Development and Special Projects Beth Lande and Area Director Charlene Pfenninger made a caravan to meet with the Federation of Jewish Women of the United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute, IN.  Over twenty women attended the delicious luncheon provided by the temple; amazing for a congregation of thirty five families!  
      The purpose of the Caravan was to reconnect Terre Haute to Central District and WRJ; did we ever!  We were delighted to hear of the many activities of Terre Haute's Sisterhood and their devotion to their temple.  They begin each meeting reading index cards which provide warm anecdotes about their sisters who are no long with them but lovingly remembered. Looking toward the future, the Federation of Jewish Women supports the Religious School and coordinates the temple kitchen, of which they are justifiably proud.  
   The Indiana Presidents are planning an Area Day in December in Terre Haute.  Eva Kor, a member of the. Sisterhood, created a world famous Holocaust museum we will visit. 
   The Terre Haute Sisterhood looks forward to welcoming our Area Day to their temple and community. 

On The Road Again...
     On August 29, some of your District leadership went on a road trip.  Early that morning, president, Sandy Adland, left her home in Canton, Ohio and hit the road heading south. She made a quick stop in Columbus to pick me up and then we continued on headed for Lexington and points south. We stopped again in Lexington to pick up South Area Director Sandy Heymann.  Then it was on to Knoxville!
     We arrived in Knoxville at the home of Karen Smith, president of Temple Beth El Sisterhood, in time for a lovely reception and Havdalah service. We met sisterhood women and their husbands, sang of the beauty of Shabbat and had a special evening,
     The next morning we got up bright and early and headed to Temple Beth El for a 2 hour workshop on how to create a culture of leadership development within sisterhood.  It was a lively group and we discussed challenges, brainstormed ideas and developed an action plan for the women to take forward.  There was great camaraderie!  We ended the workshop with a sisterhood circle and of course some singing! 
     Then it was back in the car for the drive north. It was a fast but really rewarding trip to connect with our sisters in Knoxville! 

 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! 

Kol Hakavod to Our District Leadership! 

Kol Hakavod - all the honor to Liz McOsker for her role as Chair of the WRJ Mission Statement Committee. The new Mission Statement was adopted by the WRJ Board at the May Board Meeting in New York City.
Kol Hakavod - all the honor to Hilda Glazer for her role as Chair of the WRJ Constitutional Revisions Committee. The constitutional revisions will be voted upon at the 2015 WRJ Assembly in Orlando, FL in November.
Mazel tov to Karen Sim who has been nominated to serve on the Union for Reform Judaism Board of Directors.
We are so fortunate to have so much talent and strong leadership in Central District!

 Upcoming Events 

 Please join your Central District sisters

for  a weekend of


Shabbat and sharing


April 15-17, 2016


at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI)


as we grow "Stronger Together."


Save the date and watch for more information!


         Sisterhood Area Day

 Please join the Sisterhoods from: 
Rodef Shalom, Youngstown 
Temple Beth Shalom, Hudson 
Temple Israel, Akron 
Temple Israel, Canton
On Saturday, October 31 at 10:30 at the: Kent State University Fashion Museum 515 Hilltop Drive Kent, OH 44242
Price: $4.00 for a tour of the Museum
Lunch to Follow at the Pufferbelly Restaurant 152 Franklin Street Kent, OH 44240 (each person will pay for their own lunch from a predetermined menu with gluten free options available)
Please RSVP by October 16 to: Lisa Singer at lisasinger@aol.com or 330-241-9612
*At the museum we will have a meet & greet and a short Shabbat service followed with a tour of the museum.
Please submit articles for the December issue of Isha L'Isha 
on or before September 15, 2015.

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

It is very exciting to learn about all the great things going on in our district. 
 Keep the good things coming!

Alida Forshaw, 

Bulletin Editor 

WRJ Central District

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