WRJ Central District
is your liaison between the Women of Reform Judaism and the local sisterhoods we serve.
Currently we are 36 sisterhoods in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The president, five vice presidents, area directors and committee chairs are available to help you.
We can be consultants and we have an active speaker's bureau. If you want a speaker for a Sisterhood Shabbat or any sisterhood program just contact the chair for Speaker's Bureau and she will work with you to make this happen.
For more on WRJ Central, visit our website at www.wrjcentral.org and contribute to our blog, Sharing
Want a Central District Pin?
Order yours today for only $10.00 from our own artist, Beth Goldstein at
See our Tshirt opportunity below
WRJ Central Board 2010-2011
Hilda R. Glazer
Chair of Nominating
Royalyn R. Vert
Vice Chair of Nominating
Bette Jo Stempel
1st Vice President
VP Service to Sisterhoods
VP Dev & Special Projects
VP Marketing & Comm
VP Prog & Advocacy
Lisa Elyn Semen
WRJ Board Members
Hilda R. Glazer
Bette Jo Stempel
Royalyn R. Vert
Central District to a "T"
Orders are now being taken for the Central District logo T-Shirt. Choice of short sleeve or long, sizes S M L XL 2X and 3X. They are black (only) with our logo. Special pricing will keep the shirts around $14-$18 depending on total quantity we order.
Send your name, size and SSleeve or LSleeve in an email by October 25 to Beth Goldstein- historian: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get a return email to confirm your order and price + shipping so that you can send her your check.
We wish all of you a happy, healthy and peaceful year. The High Holy Days are behind us and we are enjoying the Festival of Sukkot.
During the month of Elul, it is customary to reflect on the past year and begin the process of introspection that will lead up to our intense reflections during the High Holy Days. To be sure, each one of us will have cause to repent and resolve to change in the year ahead. Yet, when we look back, there are some things about which we can feel good, and know that we got it right. We are reaching out to sisterhoods, we are sending speakers, we are taking part in the planning for the centennial, and we are working to ensure our future. At this time of year, we feel the connection to community and family and with joy look toward the events of future months.
We look with particular joy at the Biennial. Coming together as an international community of Women of Reform Judaism is always exciting and wonderful. This year, we anticipate workshops that will help us engage with our sisters and develop ourselves. Shabbat with all the attendees is always a spectacular and meaningful Shabbat. A lot of special events are planned and we will meet the new president of URJ, Rabbi Richard Jacobs and have the opportunity to honor Rabbi Yoffie.
I look forward to seeing many of you in D.C. and encourage you to register as soon as possible. We want Central District to have the greatest percent registered by November 3rd.
Yours in Sisterhood
Hilda R. Glazer, EdD
President, WRJ Central District
Hello Central District Sisters! I am thrilled that this edition of Isha L'Isha focuses on the topic of Membership.
The beginning of the Jewish New Year 5772 brings with it a renewal of spirit, and the opportunity to commit ourselves to strengthening our local sisterhoods through increased membership. WRJ and Sisterhood is so vital not only to our Reform congregations, but to Reform Judaism around the world. The WRJ tagline, "Stronger Together" says it all. Wouldn't it be great if every woman in the congregation is also a member of Sisterhood? What a wonderful goal for all of us to strive for!
As Co-Chair of Membership for Women of Reform Judaism, I want to remind you that there are some wonderful resources available to you on the WRJ website (www.wrj.org) that can and will help to increase your sisterhood's membership. The materials can be accessed through the Leadership Dashboard, which requires a login ID and password. If you do not have a login ID and password, your Sisterhood President can share her login information with you.
Did you know that WRJ has a fabulous publication called "Membership Matters: A User-Friendly Guide to Increasing Your Sisterhood's Membership", as well as the "Membership Matters Toolkit"? Both of these publications can be downloaded from the WRJ website, and can be found in the Publications listing.
Another outstanding resource is called "Just Ask", which can be found under the section entitled Programs for Sisterhoods. This document (which you can also download) includes a step-by-step guide to assist you in implementing your "Just Ask" campaign, sample scripts, follow-up letters, and Q&A's, all of which can be adapted for your sisterhood to use in attracting new members.
In 2010 WRJ rolled out the "Membership Pilot Program", in which 24 sisterhoods participated. A series of webinars included Power Point presentations that were organized into three sections; Readiness, Recruitment and Retention. 100% of the participating sisterhoods reported an increase in membership as a result of utilizing this program. The "Membership Pilot Program" materials are available for you to download and use in your own sisterhoods, and can be found under the section entitled Sisterhood Resources.
Don't forget your own sisterhood as a valuable membership recruitment resource. Personal testimonials about your sisterhood provide an opinion which may encourage others to affiliate. Testimonials can be printed in your temple bulletin, sisterhood membership materials, and on your website. As you know, Membership is a year-round endeavor, rather than a beginning-of-the-year effort. It takes organization, a Membership Chair (or Co-Chairs), a Membership Committee as well as "buy-in" from your current membership.
I am so honored to serve WRJ in the area of Membership, and I am here to help you in any way that I can be of service. Please call upon me! I can be reached by phone at 317-727-8358, or by email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Yours in Sisterhood,
Membership is a major aspect of any sisterhood. Many organizations compete for membership today and getting members has become much more of a challenge than it has in past years. Knowing all about your sisterhood and what it can offer your members is crucial as well as invaluable. As you plan your activities for the whole year, it would be helpful to send to each past member and potential new members a copy of the wonderful programs you will be offering by mail as well as e-mail. Try to involve as many members in the programs and activities as you can. Informing the whole congregation about all the activities that you are involved in or planning for the coming year is a must. The temple newsletter is a wonderful outlet for getting information to your membership.
It would be a nice gesture to contact all potential new Temple members to offer them a free membership for the first year. It can encourage them to be a part of your organization. Offer them rides; contact them about programs coming up and programs being offered later in the year. You can mention that this would be a great way for them to meet other temple members as well and make new friends. Be sure that new members are warmly welcomed. In addition, sending a note or making a call can go a long way. You can also send a small gift if you are so inclined.
The first event can be a "Paid up Membership" program or a dinner for those who have paid their dues. This is the time to reiterate all the programming you have set up for the coming year and encourage your membership to participate in these programs as well as get involved in the planning of the activities. Recognize and chat with all your new members when they attend. Present them with a flower or a small gift. This would also be a good opportunity for members to make suggestions about what activities they would like to see for the current year.
Ensure that your members have fun, feel included, and therefore will want to come to your activities.
I want to congratulate Temple Shalom in Louisville, Kentucky in having the most membership growth in our District by getting 31 new members. This was achieved in many ways. Judy Berzof, the President, said her goal, when she took over, was to make sure that her sisterhood was a warm, inviting and friendly organization. At their first meeting, they asked their members what they were looking for in their organization and if there was anything they were overlooking. The mailed calendar of events had a magnetic strip on the back so it could be put on their refrigerator to remind them of events. They had a second mailing in January which added more members. Less involved members were asked to read during Sisterhood Shabbot. Less assuming, but deserving members were honored with Aliyahs, which underlined their goals to be very inclusive, welcoming and thankful for their members. They had programs that addressed the interests of all age groups. Many other ideas were incorporated that brought in new members. I would be glad to send you a copy of their report which gave many more details of what they did. I think that it might help other sisterhoods to succeed in getting new members.
If you have any questions or ideas you would like to discuss with me, please feel free to contact me at (614) 882-3251 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership Chair, WRJ Central District
December 14-18, 2011
Gaylord National Convention Center
Washington DC vicinity
2009 Assembly Experience
Connect with women who share common interests, concerns, a love of Judaism, and the special bond of Sisterhood
Learn from distinguished scholars, authors and experts
Worship with inspirational spiritual leaders, including celebrating Shabbat with over 5000 of your peers.
REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!
Be the 250th Registrant
and win a Gaylord Hotel Gift Card!!
visit www.wrj.org/assembly2011 or contact email@example.com.
Every two years, WRJ members to come together to explore the many facets of sisterhood. The assembly schedule is full of exciting opportunities to gather new ideas, study with scholars, worship, and meet old and new friends.
Registration to WRJ's assembly entitles you to:
- Entrance to all WRJ and joint URJ/WRJ plenary sessions
- Opening plenary session luncheon
- Admission to the workshops of your choice
- Shabbat meals, study, and worship
- Access to the WRJ/Judaica shop and URJ Exhibit Hall
- WRJ movie night
- Mitzvah project with your district
- Late night entertainment with URJ
- A great time!
Early Bird (through November 4): $575
Full Registration (after November 4): $620
The regular program will begin at noon on Wednesday and conclude at 10:45 AM on Sunday.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund
The assembly's opening plenary session and luncheon will feature keynote speaker, Cecile Richards, a nationally respected leader in the field of women's health and reproductive rights. As president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Richards leads a national organization that has worked for 95 years to build a healthier and safer world for women and teens. Every year, through more than 800 affiliate health centers nationwide, Planned Parenthood provides health care services to three million patients, and sex education to more than 1.1 million people. Its website -plannedparenthood.org
- receives more than thirty million visits a year from individuals seeking health care services and education in both English and Spanish.
Since joining Planned Parenthood in 2006, Richards has expanded the organization's advocacy for access to health care and ensured that Planned Parenthood played a pivotal role in shaping health care coverage and services for women under the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, she led an unprecedented nationwide campaign to preserve access to Planned Parenthood's preventive care through federal programs. Under her leadership, the number of Planned Parenthood's supporters has doubled, reaching more than 5.7 million.
Richards is a frequent speaker and commentator on issues related to women's rights, reproductive health, and sex education, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Dr. Jane Evans: Pursuit of Justice Award recipient
Founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center
The Dr. Jane Evans Pursuit of Justice Award is given to a woman of strength and action. At this assembly, the award will be presented during Thursday afternoon's plenary session to Marcia D. Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center. She has been described by The New York Times as "guiding the battles of the women's rights movement."
The creation of the Center over thirty-five years ago established her as the first full-time women's rights legal advocate in Washington, D.C. A recognized expert on women and the law, particularly in the areas of education and employment, health and reproductive rights, and family economic security, Greenberger has been a leader in securing the passage of major legislation, counsel in landmark litigation establishing new legal protections for women, and the author of numerous published articles. Examples include the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (providing critical protections against sexual harassment on the job), and Supreme Court victories strengthening protections for students and teachers against sex discrimination in schools.
Her leadership and contributions are reflected in the professional honors she has received and the numerous boards on which she serves. She has been recognized by Working Woman Magazine as one of the twenty-five heroines whose activities over twenty-five years have helped women in the workplace, Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington, D.C.'s most powerful women, by Legal Times as a "Top Lawyer" and one of its "30 Champions", and by Legal Times and The National Law Journal as one of "Washington's Most Influential Women Lawyers."
In addition to many other honors, she has received a presidential appointment to the National Skill Standards Board, and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
from our archive, 2009 Assembly:
Northern Ohio's Area Day - September 11, 2011
It was quite a weekend in the Cleveland area September 9 -11, 2011. We had Sharon Benoff, WRJ Vice President, once again visit our Northern Ohio area.
The background of the weekend is this - the four Sisterhoods who hosted last November's Central District Convention in Cleveland collectively donated money for the YES Fund as a "bid" for Sharon Benoff. We made this donation so that we can have Sharon return for a weekend of learning. Our four Sisterhoods are Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, The Temple - Tifereth Israel, Temple Emanu El, and Temple Beth Shalom.
We welcomed Shabbat on Friday evening at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson. Saturday was a day of prayer and learning at Fairmount Temple in Beachwood.
Our Area Day in Beachwood on Sunday was well attended. We had about 30 women gather. Sharon Benoff was our leader for the day. The day began with a prayer for 9/11. We stood under a Healing Tallit that was made during a Retreat at The Temple - Tifereth Israel earlier this year. Our first workshop was a program called "Everything you wanted to know about the Lilith Salon but were afraid to ask!" None of our Sisterhoods have had this program yet. Sharon explained the what, why, and how of a Lilith Salon followed by a mock salon. We were given the article to read the day before. There were trigger questions supplied by WRJ that guided us in our discussions. Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood invited the other Sisterhoods in January for our first Lilith Salon.
After lunch (and what's a Jewish gathering without food), we had a workshop on "Marketing Your Sisterhood". We learned not only new ideas, but how to tweak our old programs by adding a new twist.
Area Days are a great way for a group of like-minded women to gather, to share ideas, make new friendships, and learn something new in the process. Having many women together gives us the maximum opportunity for learning. We encourage all the areas of our District to plan at least one Area Day each year and if you have the opportunity to get together with your Sisters at other times please do. You will be better for it.
Temple Beth Shalom
|Meet our Presidents
Name: Cindy Bolokofsky
Sisterhood (Number of Members):
Sisterhood of Temple Beth El
Congregation: Temple Beth El
City/State of Congregation: Bloomfield Hills, MI
Other Sisterhood offices held: Board member
Favorite sisterhood event:
Havana Nights -Dancing with the stars evening. 75 year old Sisterhood member, Male religious school teacher, 30 years old, Female Youth director 35 years old, and 70 year old board member with flair were paired with a professional Salsa dancer over the summer months to learn a dance. People who attended entered a Havana night club atmosphere, watched the dancers, voted $1.00 per vote for the favorite dancer. Our MC was a local celebrity and the professional dancers than danced with a dance group and gave lessons to the crowd. We served Cuban food and wine with the event.
One event planned for the coming year:
We are planning a Purim event where the congregation is invited to the wedding reception of the King Ashkevaris and Esther. The king will introduce his new wife, Esther (both YPS kids) and bring on the belly dancers at the beginning of the night. Dinner will be served to guests at long tables and we will end the night with a sing-a-long of Purim paradies. Before the event our Sisterhood members will be decorating goblets for the evening and going on a field trip to make the wine from a nearby winery. Extra bottles of wine will be available for sale. The white wine will be "The King's Water" and the red wine will be "Esther's Whine."
Share one of your goals for your presidency:
To increase membership by having fun during the year with programming.
Share one thing about yourself:
I am a Bubbie of 4 grandsons and enjoy every crazy moment I share with them.
|Judaica Chair designed to help
I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Bernice Goldman from Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple Sisterhood in Beachwood, OH . I have just begun my new assignment as Fundraising and Judaica Chair for our district. I am in this position for the next year. If I can be of help to any of you in the gift shop business of your congregations please don't hesitate to call or email me.
Let me tell you a little bit about my own gift shop at Fairmount Temple. I am co-chair with Ilene Schwartz. We've had a gift shop for many many years but about three years ago we decided to sell out most of our merchandise and start fresh. Sometimes this is necessary. We had a big sale and were successful in reducing our inventory. We also decided to go into business using the resources of another Judaica shop in our area. They were willing to let us have their merchandise on consignment. Sure, the profit was less (30%) but we were able to return unsold merchandise at any time and take new items. This worked well the first year until we had established ourselves. Then we gradually began to buy from other vendors without the consignment capabilities. By that time we had a better idea of what our congregants wanted.
We've had good volunteers who work in the shop on Tuesdays and Sundays. We are also available if anyone needs to buy on other days. They just make appointments. We are all volunteers and want to see the shop succeed. We don't make a ton of money but it is sustaining itself and we ARE making a profit. Plus, we all think it's necessary for our congregation to have a gift shop.
We are also dealing with Judaica Beautiful, an online gift shop that our customers can use if our gift shop doesn't carry a particular item. We get a percentage of the sales and Judaica Beautiful takes care of all shipping, returns, etc.
I will be happy to give you ideas that have worked (and not worked) for us as well as names of vendors we use. I'm here as your resource so hopefully you can be successful.
|SAVE THE DATE
WRJ Central District Interim Meeting and HUC Weekend
April 27-29, 2012
All members of the Executive Board will meet for business Friday and Sunday.
All and any Sisterhood women of the Central District Sisterhoods are invited for the Rock Shabbat Service and Shabbat Dinner Friday night, hosted by the Women of Reform Judiasm Rockdale Temple and Rabbi Sissy Coran and the full day on Saturday on the HUC/JIR Cincinnati campus.
The HUC day will begin with Torah Study and Services in the HUC chapel and lunch. Following lunch will be docent guided tours of the Skirball Museum, the Rare Book Room, and the American Jewish Archives. Also included in the weekend are plans to visit the historic Plum Street Temple. Registration forms available soon but for now be sure to save the date for this remarkable weekend in April, 2012.
Central Ohio Welcomes Debra Kellner
Welcoming and membership, they go hand in hand but sometimes it seems that we get stuck in the how to pull off a relaxed low pressure event that promotes Sisterhood but doesn't overwhelm participants.
On Saturday August 7th the Central Ohio Area was successful on both counts. We held a Welcome Tea for the new Rebbeztin at Congregation Beth Tikvah in Worthington Ohio, Debra Kellner, who also happens to be the Education Director at Temple Israel in Columbus, Ohio.
It was a lovely event that brought together women from three Sisterhoods in the Area and one guest, our District 1st VP Marilyn Goldfein traveled from Cleveland for the afternoon. Our District President Hilda Glazer, a member of The Women of Beth Shalom of New Albany, Ohio, was also a guest for the event. The special part of this event was that it gave the women from the various sisterhood's a chance to visit and share some of their experiences. Also we opened the event up to non-sisterhood members so that they could meet the Rebbeztin and meet members of sisterhood. We had a turn out of about 60 women, which for us is a great turnout. The event was also a nice form of publicity for the local and district sisterhoods as it was featured in an article in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle.
I think the key to the success of the event was the general tone. We had a potluck of sweets and snacks so everyone felt like they contributed, and we said a simple blessing and let the women eat and enjoy each other's company. Another time we will have a more formal meeting with programming ad the like but for this afternoon the goodwill created was well worth the event.
Executive Committee Meeting Highlights
The Central District Executive Committee supports WRJ's efforts to educate sisterhood leadership about membership, fundraising, programming, spirituality, and more - all the components essential to creating the very special community we have within sisterhood and WRJ. Last month, Executive Committee members came together, once again, in Columbus, Ohio to continue working to lead our district through many innovative updates and review progress on our goals to: energize the district; improve communication throughout the district; educate members about WRJ projects and educate sisterhood presidents about the district and her role.
One of the big issues that our parliamentarian, Nancy Apfel, in conjunction with the district vice presidents and treasurer, has been working diligently on for many months is the establishment of a Finance Committee. The global financial world has changed so much over the past several years that Central District leaders felt it was time to establish a committee to better protect and manage our money - an initiative that requires a change to our Central District policies. Nancy has aptly led the group to develop specific requirements regarding matters such as who serves on the committee, how often the committee meets, and how the district's resources are invested and monitored on behalf of our members.
Changes to the bylaws also will be necessary as the Central District restructures the Board of Directors offices in conjunction with WRJ structural revisions. As the district prepares for these challenging changes, Executive Committee members will review job descriptions for each Board position as the structure and organizational changes necessitate some officer and chair position modifications. This time has provided our Executive Committee with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our goals and invigorate our district.
Central District also is participating in many other WRJ initiatives including a promotion to target unaffiliated sisterhoods, as well as URJ congregations without a sisterhood presence, to demonstrate the benefits of joining WRJ; and to reach out to women who were previously involved to help recreate that connection because we truly are stronger together. Please feel free to contact any member of the Executive Committee for more information on the work being done for our Central District Sisterhoods.
Contact information for the Executive Committee can be found on our website, www.wrjcentral.org.
The new Isha L'Isha
This is the new version of 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 at www.WRJCentral.org.
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.
Deadline for the next issue-- Programming Ideas
December 15, 2011.
Send articles and images to firstname.lastname@example.org