In This Issue
WRJ Central
Biennial-- Obama
Torah Commentary presented to President
Central District Awards
Biennial-- Plenaries
Biennial- More
Biennial Notes
More Workshop information
Shabbat Shira- Columbus in Feb.
Shabbaton- Detroit in Jan.
District Meeting
Isha L'Isha
WRJ Central District
Hilda Glazer, President 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 and contribute to our blog, Sharing


Follow-up Links



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

Past President
Chair of Nominating
Royalyn R. Vert

Past President
Vice Chair of Nominating
Bette Jo Stempel

1st Vice President
Marilyn Goldfein

VP Service to Sisterhoods
Michelle Simpson

VP Dev & Special Projects
Susie Strom

VP Marketing & Comm
Beth Lande

VP Prog & Advocacy
Karen Smith

Recording Secretary
Mimi Dell

Corresponding Secretary
Lisa Elyn Semen

Membership Secretary
Lucy Gersten

Lisa Singer

Bulletin Editor
Hillary Handwerger
Nancy Apfel
Beth Goldstein

Area Directors
Peggy Behrens
Laurie Blinder
Barbara Goldberg
Mimi Kaufman
Rachel Lambermont
Charlene Pfenninger
Tori Wucher   

WRJ Board Members
Sandy Adland
Nancy Apfel
Hilda R. Glazer
Karen Sim
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. Pricing around $18 depending on total quantity we order.

Send your name, size and SSleeve or LSleeve in an email to Beth Goldstein: You will get a return email to confirm your order and price + shipping so that you can send her your check.  


Biennial Notes  

     Winter 2012 Part 1 

At the end of 2011, it is time to reflect on my first year as your president.  It has been wonderful to work with all of you.  I have been honored to represent you at the District Presidents meetings and at the URJ Central District meetings.  I have had a chance to meet some of you at Area Days, at the WRJ Leadership Conference in San Francisco and at the Biennial.  I hope to meet more of you at the URJ Shabbaton in Detroit in January, the Shabbaton in Columbus with Julie Silver in February and as I travel throughout the District. 


The Biennial was a wonderful week with my sisters (and yes both of my sisters were there).  There were so many wonderful moments including the speakers at the WRJ plenary and President Obama, of course. The daily updates from the Biennial really shared what went on; I urge you read them if you have not already done so. Shabbat Services and Shabbat Dinner with 5000 was amazing and spiritual.  To hear so many chanting the blessings and praying together is unforgettable.  I hope that Shabbat feeling stays with us for a long time.  Making blankets was fun and a great project and many of us left feeling that we did not have enough time together.  I learned a lot and shopped a lot and slept very little.  You will see some synopses from some of those present and I hope you get the flavor of the week.  We will be sharing some of the ideas with the district in the coming months, too.


As you know there was a discussion on a dues increase and after much discussion both pro and con, the increase passed.  We want to work with sisterhoods to help them develop creative ways of doing funding to offset the increase if this is needed.  I also want to remind people that if sisterhoods are not able to fund the dues increase, both District and WRJ have programs in place for sisterhoods to reduce their dues.  For the District, please work through your Area Director;  for WRJ start by contacting Rachel Jurisz at   There were a lot of changes in the constitution and I urge you to look at the new version when it is published.


WRJ has a new Executive Director, Rabbi Marla Feldman.  I am sure that she will be a wonderful addition to WRJ.  I look forward to working with her in the coming months.

I hope that this is a wonderful time of year for all of you and that the light of Chanukah and the blessings of the miracle spread into 2012.  

I look forward to another year as your president.


Yours in Sisterhood


Hilda R. Glazer, EdD

President, WRJ Central District

Obama Speaks at Biennial
President Barack Obama - 2011 URJ Biennial Plenary
President Barack Obama - 2011 URJ Biennial Plenary
Seeing the president of the United States was quite the treat.


President Barack Obama knew exactly what to say when he addressed us on Friday. After all, there's a resident expert on Judaism in the Obama family.  "Since my daughter Malia has reached the age where it seems like there's always a Bar or Bat Mitzvah every weekend ... As a consequence, she's become the family expert on Jewish tradition," Obama cracked.  Obama took Malia's advice and gave a d'var-torah revolving around the word "Hineini," saying, like Joseph, that he's ready to take on challenges even if he can't predict them all.


 Obama defended his record on Israel and emphasized "that no U.S. administration has done more in support of Israel's security than ours.  None," Obama said. "Don't let anybody else tell you otherwise.  It is a fact."  "America's commitment and my commitment to Israel and Israel's security is unshakeable.  It is unshakeable," he said.   


He talked of his accomplishments as president, not just in regards to Israel (military aid, missile defense, support at international organizations during the Palestinian statehood bid, dispatching firefighting planes to stop fires in Israel, aiding besieged Israeli embassy in Cairo), but also in advancing liberal causes such as health care access, LGBT rights, women's rights, and economic justice.


Obama also praised the Religious Action Center on their golden anniversary and thank them on a personal level for their commitment to the Civil Rights Movement.  "You helped draft the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. You helped to liberate Soviet Jews. You have made a difference on so many of the defining issues of the last half-century," he said.      


Lynn Lazar meets President Obama
Susie Strom

Our fabulous president of Women of Reform Judaism--  she got to meet him!  When Lynn was just getting ready to shake Obama's hand and say hello - a secret service man noticed that Lynn had something in her hand.  He immediately asked, "How did you get this in here"? She said,  "No one asked and I didn't tell"!

When she presented the "The Torah: A Women's Commentary" to President Obama-- he said "Is this the true story"?  She smiled and said,  "Yes, for at least the last 200 years".  The President laughed, leafed through the book and said, "Michelle will love this".   And Lynn said, " And so will your daughters"!

This book was the brainchild of Cantor Sarah Sager.  I was sorry she wasn't at the final plenary when this story was told.  she would have loved it. When Nancy Brinker spoke, I wished for peace of mind for Cantor Sager.  Her sister, Sharon Friemuth  died of cancer.  Not breast cancer,  but it didn't matter-- cancer is cancer!

The speakers, Ehud Barak, Natan Sharanskyi, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Rabbi Richard Jacobs, Rabbi Marla Freldman, Stephen Fuchs, Rep. Eric Cantor, Ted Olsen and David Boies, and
Tina Wasserman...

The music is still going through my head.  Maybe that's because the entertainment was so spectacular!

Our district was well represented.  We saw, we sang, we danced, we ate, we learned, we listened, and we prayed together. This by far was the best biennial I have been to. Jerry and I wish for you a new year filled with fun, happiness, good friends, relatives that don't smother, health, love, and most importantly, peace. 
Central District Awards

Awat Award-
given to sisterhood that made the largest per member direct contribution to the YES Fund over the last two fiscal years

Honorable Mention- Temple Israel Sisterhood, Columbus, OH

Or Ami Awards- Programming
Though Central District did not have any winners at this Biennial, a number of our Sisterhoods and their programs were mentioned in the Or Ami booklet:
  • Every Day is Mother's DayWhat Not to Wear, and The Platter Project from Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN 
  • Chanukah Giving and Tu B'Shevat Seder from Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood, Ann Arbor, MI 
  • Hope for the Homeless: Caring Connection Carts from Temple Israel Sisterhood, Akron, OH
  • Great Girls to Wonderful Women: Raising Confident, Competent Daughters from The Valley Temple and Isaac M. Wise Temple, Cincinnati, OH.

Membership Increases

50% over past 2 year period

Temple Beth Shalom, Hudson, OH


10% over past 2 year period 

Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood, Ann Arbor, MI

Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, Oak Park, MI

The Valley Temple Sisterhood, Cincinnati, OH

B'nai Sholom Congregation Sisterhood, Huntington, WV


Centennial Sisterhood

  Temple Israel Sisterhood, Akron, OH 

WRJ and joint URJ Biennial Plenaries

Rabbi Yoffie greeted the assembled stating that the future of Judaism is Liberal Judaism, not the Haredim, (ultra orthodox of Israel), not Chabad. He said there needs to be "interfaith dialogue."

A riveting keynote address was delivered by Cecile Richards, the
President of Planned Parenthood Federation of American and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Richards applauded the efforts of Past WRJ President, Dolores Wilkenfeld, saying "Dolores has been a crusader for social justice and the rights of woman all of her life.We grew up believing, as many of you did, that social action was something worth working for."

She spoke about how Planned Parenthood helps specific people, such as a young woman who was in a difficult situation, and how they were able to give her direct help. The young woman left knowing that she could call anytime if she had questions or needed more help. It is in those specific situations that Ms Richards sees the real rewards of the essential work of Planned Parenthood and how important it is on the grassroots level and she urged us to remember that, "whatever you get, you don't get it without a fight... But, remember that, no matter how opposing our opponents seem, they cannot keep us down."

I learned that as of Wednesday evening, at the WRJ/URJ Biennial, there were 541 congregations represented, 4,000 certified attendees, and 6,700 total attendees.

At the joint WRJ/URJ Plenary we heard from Rabbi Yoffie, president of URJ and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president-elect. 

Among the many speakers at this plenary were Dr. Wendy Mogel, a best-selling author who wrote The Blessing of the Skinned Knee and The Blessing of the B- who delivered a fun-filled and insightful address. She stated that we need to teach our children how to take care of themselves starting from an early age. She likened child rearing to planting a package of seeds that has not label. We have to provide sufficient food and water, pull the biggest weeds, and then stand back and watch and see who God has given us.
Dr. Wendy Mogel - 2011 URJ Biennial Plenary 

We also heard from Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. One of the things he said was that there are incubator grants for project which attract the uninvolved in Israel to progressive Judaism.


Finally, there was a very touching memorial perspective of Debbie Friedman and her contributions to Jewish music.   The school of sacred music will now be named the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. Debbie was very active in the Jewish camping movement, and there are now 13 URJ camps, with the newest one being a 6 points sports camp. There are plans now for a camp for youngsters with special needs.


The wonderful conclusion was Theodore Bikel, now age 87, singing with his wife accompanying him on the piano. He looks great with a full head of white hair, and as beautiful voice as ever.



Plenary Session II on Thursday focused on Social Action & Justice.  
Attendees of WRJ's second plenary were greeted by Steve Sachs, the incoming chairman of the URJ board. "It's a particular pleasure for me to be at a WRJ meeting," he said. "Through the work your members do...we know that you are vital as we move forward. You only need to look at what you do through the YES Fund to see why that's true."

One highlight of this plenary was the presentation of the Or Ami "Light of My People Awards" for Excellence in Sisterhood Programming, which honors sisterhoods and districts undertaking unusual and significant social justice programs, community service, or educational projects.  

Then came the presentation to Ambassador Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure of the Maurice N. Eisendrath "Bearer of Light" Award.
Ambassador Nancy Brinker - 2011 URJ Biennial Plenary

Ambassador Nancy Brinker - 2011 URJ Biennial Plenary video Greetings were also brought by Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). She invited WRJ women to join IRAC as they fight "for freedom from religion, and freedom of religion." She invited them to join a "freedom ride" in Israel, to ride an Egged Bus Company vehicle with volunteers who will, if they are asked to illegally sit in the back of the bus, sue the company. "Come to the Wall," she invited, "and get arrested for holding a Torah. Come over, all of you. Rent planes. Rent a whole hotel. Bring the Torah scrolls with you and let's take it over. We'll take over the Wall and then the world."

The 2011 recipient of the Jane Evans Pursuit of Justice Award was Marcia Greenberger, co-president and founder of the National Women's Law Center.  In an inspirational and educational address, Ms. Greenberger discussed the on-going fight for women's equality particularly in the realm of health and contraception. "We are fighting that battle every day and it is an unrelenting tidal wave of assaults that needs to be confronted." 

One of the things Ms. Greenberger spoke about was CEDAW, a bill of women's right. The USA is one of 6 nations which has not ratified this important resolution. USA is in the company of the nations of Iran, Sudan, and three island nations. Sixty -seven votes are needed in the Senate to pass this bill.


There is also a Health Care Reform Act that is stalled by those "intent on repealing the 20th century". It was a huge shock that the secretary of health and human services overturned the recommendations of the AMA regarding the morning after pill.   


There is more information available on the site. There is a lot of work to be done in the area of women's rights and health care issues.


The Israel Plenary session spoke to Action and Pluralism.
"To speak to WRJ is a task I've been looking forward to for much of my life,"declared Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, the newly elected president of the World Unionfor Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). Speaking of the courage of biblical women, Rabbi Fuchs said,"What we owe to the women of ReformJudaism is the direct legacy of what we owe to the women of the bible...There would not be a WUPJ if it weren't for the women of Reform Judaism."

Rabbi Daniel Allen, executive director of ARZA, then spoke about the relationship between American Jews and the State of Israel. "It is time to seize the excitement of what is going on in the American Jewish movement," he said.  Applauding WRJ board member, Resa Davids for the work that she's done to include Israeli sisterhoods into WRJ's family, Rabbi Allen concluded, "If we focus on a movement in Israel we will do wonderful things for Israel and we will do wonderful
things for our Movement."

Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's new Executive Director, Galid Kariv, urged attendees to put forth the effort towards action.

With admiration of WRJ's 48th Assembly theme, 'Many Dreams, One Vision,' he said,"I would like to suggest that we add another line 'many acts, one effort."

Assembly delegates heard a statement on Israel passed by the WRJ Executive Committee which advocates a two-state solution as a way to support peace in the Middle East."

A dues increase "to ensure the future of WRJ for our children and grandchildren" was also passed during the plenary.

For additional videos on WRJ and URJ activities, check here.
For highlights, check here.  
Still more Biennial Sessions...
by Joyce Alpiner

Wednesday Workshop:
Welcome to Assembly, presenter Sharon K. Benhoff, WRJ Vice President.
This workshop was very helpful in learning how to navigate all the activities of the Assembly. It is a great workshop for first timers to attend. 


On Thursday, I attended a Cartography of the Heart: A Poetry Beit Midrash. Poet Merle Feld read 4 of her poems. Then we broke up into groups of 2 or 3 people. Ms. Feld passed out the 4 poems, which we reread, along with discussion questions. We picked one poem to discuss. It was very enlightening to learn about ourselves and the feelings these poems evoked in us.

   Ms. Feld allowed time for discussion and answered many questions about the process of writing poetry. She stated that she keeps a journal with her at all times and writes down her thoughts and feelings. She also allows private quiet time for herself in which she can begin to clear away all the cluttery thoughts and listen to "the small still voice" inside.




On Friday, I attended the Central District meeting and we did a  mitzvah, making fleece blankets for the Linus Project. These blankets will be distributed to adults with terminal illnesses.




The Yes Fund Brunch honored Rabbi Eric Yoffie, outgoing president of URJ.   Musical entertainment was provided by Rabbi Joe Black of Denver, CO. It might be noted here that there was plentiful singing and music throughout the Assembly which was wonderful and fun.


Following the Brunch, there was the Joint URJ/WRJ plenary celebrating 50 years of Social Justice Leadership of The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.


Then there was an interlude of musical entertainment provided by Josh Nelson, which was delightful, while we waited for...


Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat was beautiful with all the singing of our favorite psalms and prayers, often to new settings. The service was very spiritual, to great part because of the beautiful music. It is inspirational to be with so many fellow Reform Jews praying together.


The same must be said for Shabbat morning services. I was touched as Rabbi Yoffie's family participated in the Torah reading service, and his daughter read the Torah. His sermon was about the future of reform Judaism, in particular addressing the insights of religious affiliation and needs by looking at the actions of his own two children.


The Shabbat lunch I selected was with Dr. Jonathan Cohen, who instructed us on the Grand Jewish Narrative in Modern Rabbinic Writing: Lessons for our Movement. He showed us pages from a book published by the haredim movement about modesty issues of women and discussed how this influences our movement, Israel's political scene, and the future of Judaism. It is very disturbing in that the future of generations are laid to rest on women and whether they dress "modestly" according to the rigid standards set by these ultra orthodox rabbis. Dr. Cohen is an interesting presenter who makes you think about new information. (or at least it was new to me).


Here are some things I loved about the Assembly. There were an astonishing number of Jewish people in one place. All the speakers and programs were thoughtful, thought provoking and informative. I learned so much. People were friendly, polite and just nice.


The music was beautiful and fun.


The WRJ gift shop and the Union Exhibit Hall were both amazing in the breadth and types of Jewish objects, organizations, books, and music, (as well as many chocolate treats) at each booth, available to purchase as well as just to browse.

Biennial notes
Hillary Handwerger, Bulletin Editor

I loved this biennial; only issue I had was that there were not more Sisterhood members present.  Thought the whole event was worthwhile and think more sisterhoods should make an effort to send one or more delegates to future biennials.

I'm just going to enter a few of my takeaways from the workshops I attended.

Working with Volunteers: Recruitment and Retention 
Very good session led by Sara Charney, Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto 
  1. Need to establish clear task, responsibilities and time frame; include historical perspective, critical information, suggestions for improvement, deadlines, contacts, forms or paperwork, expense report.

Suggested book: "Lessons from the Gym: the 30 minute volunteer workout"

     2. Recognition for volunteers, board members is extremely    


    1. Annual award- pin
    2. Thank you lunch for volunteers
    3. Public and private praise for all volunteers
    4. Sisterhood Board annual Hanukah party with secret board exchange
Social Action  
This was a prevalent theme throughout the biennial and what follows is a combination of Marcia Greenberger's talk and the session Current Issues on the National Agenda, with Barbara Weinstein, Legislative director, Religion Action Center  

Women's Law Center issues - Marcia Greenberger ( 

Child care

          i.    Amount of funds available is shrinking

          ii.    When we are engaged in welfare reform and cut backs on family support and required men and women to get a job; government agreed to help with childcare to make this possible

-In Maryland, 8000 qualified families are on wait list

-In Pennsylvania, 10,000 not receiving assistance

-Women continue to loose their jobs since recession ended

Reproductive attacks and healthcare  

      83 laws being introduced- contraception, etc

      Assault on contraception direct assault on women's health and



The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women

           US has not ratified this convention

            Needs 67 votes to pass

            Somehow tied negatively to home schooling

            to learn more,    


Judges (Obama nominees) not being approved; bottled up and not being confirmed by right wing   


We have to get more engaged at the grassroots level.

We can make a difference.  Get involved, get your Sisterhood involved!

           i.    Will send alerts

          ii.    Want to work with sisterhoods


Issues From Session on Social Action

Human trafficking- slavery of person for sex, labor and organs

Example of how we can make something happen 

     Canadian Temple created community wide program with "big"  


     Moderator should be media person

    Put ads in every single paper-community calendars; notified all  


    "What can we do?"-wrote to legislators

      Sisterhood got legislation "unstuck" and passed


According to the RAC

Most vulnerable- hunger programs

Women's rights

  Reproductive Rights Under Attack

"The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 3) would:

  • Permanently bar any federal government money from being spend on abortions, denying the right to choose to women who rely on Medicaid, Medicare, or the Indian Health Service.
  • Deny tax credits to businesses that provide health care plans that include abortion coverage.
  • Prohibit medical deductions for payments to health plans that cover abortion services.
  • Continue to prevent women in the military from using their OWN, private money to pay for abortions at military facilities.

"The Protect Life Act" (H.R. 358) would:

  • Ban health insurance plans from offering abortion coverage in the new exchanges created by the health care reform law.
  • Restrict a woman's ability to use her OWN money to pay for a health plan that includes abortion coverage.
  • Violate one of the fundamental principles of health care reform - that no one will lose their current health insurance benefits. (Nearly 90 percent of private health insurance plans currently include abortion coverage.)

The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 217) and Title X Family Planning Act (S. 96) would:

  • Prohibit the distribution of Title X funding to clinics that also provide abortion services.
  • Drastically limit the availability of preventive and reproductive health services, including Pap smears, contraception, pelvic exams, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and screenings for breast, prostate, colon, testicular, cervical and ovarian cancers
  • Unfairly target Planned Parenthood for de-funding, causing a disproportionate impact on the nearly two million low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood's reduced cost services for their preventive and reproductive health care needs.

Call 202-224-3121 to contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to oppose these dangerous anti-choice bills.

Visit the RAC's Chai Impact Action Center,, to send an e-mail to your Senators and Representative.


   Tackling issues at state level

  1. Mississippi - tried to pass "fetus is human at point of conception"
  2. Ohio- something similar
  3. Both defeated

Violence against women

          1 in 5 women have been raped or attempted rape

          1 in 4 have been beaten by partners


Fundraising (Programming) Ideas

  1. Coffee and car seat check-- got police involved (might be firefighters in your area)
  2. Parents / kids "almost sleep over"
    1. Pizza, ice cream, movie, sleeping bags; 6- 9:00
  3. Chico's --Open a hour earlier for members; 10% to organization
  4. Williams Sonoma--will open later or earlier; do cooking demonstration for group 


More Workshop Information
Mimi Dell


Climate Change, Global Hunger, and Sustainability

The speaker for this workshop was David Waskow of Oxfam America who discussed the importance of working toward development and humanitarian issues and the pressing challenges which must be addressed as the most vulnerable in the world are impacted by climate change and hunger. Waskow talked about environmental sustainability and equity and justice, in a social sense, being combined and the impact of these issues on human lives. While we may think that coastal communities are more at-risk with disasters, it is the poorer countries more inland that are most vulnerable. He discussed the impact of food production declining over time causing price increases which affects the most vulnerable and poorest people. He explained that there also is a disproportionate impact on women, particularly those living below the poverty line, who are 14 times more likely to die in disasters. In our role as key caregivers, women are generally responsible for the majority of food, water, and household fuel-- all of which are deeply impacted by climate change. Communities can tackle this problem by working together to reduce emissions. Waskow discussed building resiliency by reducing security risks and creating preparedness measures. In our communities and synagogues we also can ensure we are green where possible by recycling, as well as being knowledgeable about where our food and products are coming from and how they are being produced.


Women in the Holocaust

Julie Weinstein, from University Synagogue Sisterhood, opened the workshop reading Pavel Friedman's poem "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" and then presented information about her sisterhood's Or Ami award-winning multi-generational program. Weinstein said the program was intended to educate their congregation on this very important part of Jewish history. She gave a description about the planning for this program; more in-depth information is available in the Or Ami Awards program booklet.  


Following the Or Ami program description Professor Emerita Myrna Goldenberg talked with workshop participants about what she calls "double jeopardy" - being Jewish and a woman in the Holocaust. Nazi policy differentiated the experiences of men and women during the Holocaust, she explained: we were targeted as Jews and suffered as women. Goldenberg said in the compendiums of testimonies there is no Nazi record of any rapes, but sexual victimization was rampant. Professor Goldenberg also described some of the stories from the survivor interviews she conducted. One of the main themes that emerged was that women already possessed many of the coping skills needed to survive in the camps. The characteristics that many women learned previously in their lives, before being sent to camps, such as nurturing, working collaboratively, the ethic of caring - all may have helped those who were lucky enough to survive. Professor Goldenberg also provided workshop attendees with an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources for further readings focused on women in the Holocaust.


Outrage or Enlightenment? The Role of Media in Civil Society

Ellen Weiss from the Center for Public Integrity spoke during one of the of Shabbat study luncheons about the role of media in civil society. Weiss began the dialogue by discussing current political rhetoric and the need for one side to destroy the other through vilification. She addressed the fact that the lack of civility in our country is not really new - it was born about the same time as our nation as she reviewed what journalism was like in the colonial era. Weiss indicated that the difference now though is that the credibility gap has widened with "outrage discourse" yet perhaps, she noted, incivility is the price we pay for freedom of speech. We are in the middle of a revolution of sorts and the burden is on the consumer to use the tools available to check on who is funding the messages we are receiving. There has been a convergence of news and opinion and the need for 24/7 coverage has blurred the boundaries. It is more difficult to be a good consumer of news because there are so many choices; she also noted that there is a danger in creating echo chambers where we are only reading news from sites that confirm our own beliefs and thought processes. When asked for suggestions on how citizens can make news gathering better, Weiss suggests news aggregators are a good place to start because they provide a sampling of news outlets available; reviewing who we like to read and seeing which pieces those people are reading; paying for journalism and supporting good investigative reporting. There was a terrific interactive question and answer session as well and the conversation ended with a focus on the necessity to do what we can to become informed citizens.


Shabbat: How Judaism Trains Us to be "In the Moment."

Led by Cantor Beth Schafer, Rabbi Lisa Tzur, and John Marsden from Positive Jewish Living, participants began preparation for Shabbat through a combination of movement, meditation, and music as we learned to "live with intention." The concepts discussed in the workshop are in their One Life, Live it Well video and Seven Sparks: Tools for Jewish Wellness material available through their website. Visit  for more information about merchandise that can be ordered or details about their workshops and training opportunities. 

Feb 4th, Shabbat Shira - A Very Special Shabbat Celebration


The sisterhoods of the Columbus area are privileged to host a Shabbat Morning Service on February 4th with singer/songwriter Julie Silver.     


"Julie is one of the most celebrated and beloved performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music today. She tours throughout the world, and has been engaging audiences with her lyrical guitar playing, her dynamic stage presence, and her megawatt smile for nearly twenty years."  Julie, a protégé and close friend of Debbie Friedman ("Zichron L'vracha"), will incorporate many of Debbie's songs into our service.


The Torah portion for Shabbat Shira, B'shalach, includes the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites as they flee the Egyptians. The Song of the Sea is part of the parasha and within it are the words of the "Mi Cha Mo Cha." Using the theme of "The Crossroads in our Lives", Julie will lead us in a service filled with song, dance and joy. Join us as we turn the Temple Israel sanctuary into a "palace for Shabbat."


Services will begin at 10:00 am, February 4th at Temple Israel. Following services, we will have the opportunity to speak with Julie over a potluck lunch. In recognition of the celebration of Tu B'shvat on February 8th, we ask that your shared dish include ingredients from one or more of the 7 species of Israel. They are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. All food should be dairy or parve. Temple Israel Sisterhood would like to share your recipe with their twin sisterhood women in Israel so we ask that you bring a copy of the recipe with your contribution. Recipes will be scanned and electronically mailed to The Women of Darchei Noam.


If, instead of bringing food to share, you would like to make a contribution to cover the costs of the lunch, please send a check made out to Temple Israel Sisterhood to Bette Jo Stempel, 464 Meditation Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43235.


The event is open to all women who reside in the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) Central District, which is the sponsor of morning program. To help with our planning, please RSVP to Bette Jo Stempel, or 614-846-7188.

Detroit Area Shabbaton- Jan 21

The URJ Central District Council Worship Committee and MetFed invite you to:

"Tune Out to Tune In - Celebrating Shabbat"

A Shabbaton for the Detroit Area featuring keynote speaker, Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, URJ Senior Vice President.    

Saturday, January 21, 2012    

Parshat - Va-era  

    All are welcome!  


Congregation Shir Tikvah
3900 Northfield Parkway
Troy, MI 48084


8:30 AM - 9:00 AM                 Registration

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM               Torah Study

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM              Shacharit

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM              Lunch

12:45 PM - 2:00 PM                Workshop I

2:00 PM - 2:10 PM                  Break

2:10 PM - 3:40 PM                  Keynote Address

3:40 PM - 3:50 PM                  Break

3:50 PM - 5:00 PM                  Workshop II

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM                  Havdalah and L'hitr-ot



"Weave Your Own Challah Cover"  

Michael Daitch

"Learning to Live Together: Sustaining our World"  

Hilda Glazer

"Ethical Consumption"  

Rabbi Ariana Silverman 


Geoffrey Berdy



Geoffrey Berdy  

Director of Education, Temple Emanu-El - Oak Park, MI

Michael Daitch  

Founder and President, Coat of Many Colors Handweaver

Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander  

Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism 
Hilda Glazer 
President, Women of Reform Judaism Central District

Rabbi Ariana Silverman  

Assistant Rabbi, Temple Kol Ami - West Bloomfield, MI

Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg  

Rabbi, Congregation Shir Tikvah - Troy, MI



To find out when registration is available, please fill out this form.

WRJ Central District Interim Meeting and HUC Weekend

April 27-29, 2012  

Cincinnati, OH


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 f
or this remarkable weekend in April, 2012.


The New World 

his is what Abba Hillel Silver wrote in 1948.  When he read it to us - we thought god was reading.\
From Susan Strom

God built Him a continent of glory and filled it with treasures untold;
He carpeted it with soft-rolling prairies and columned it with thundering mountains;
He studded it with sweet-flowing fountains and traced it with long-winding streams;
He planted it with deep-shadowed forests, and filled them with song.
Then He called unto a thousand peoples and summoned the bravest among them.
They came from the ends of the earth, each bearing a gift and a hope.
The glow of adventure was in their eyes, and in their hearts the glory of hope.
And out of the bounty of earth and the labor of men,
Out of the longing of hearts and prayer of souls,
Out of the memory of ages and hopes of the new world,
God fashioned a nation in love, blessed it with a purpose sublime ---
And called it America!

The new Isha L'Isha
This is the new version of Isha L'Ish

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


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.


Part 2 of ths January Newsletter-- Programming-- will come out at the end of the month 


Deadline for the next issue-- WRJ Central Website and Blog (Share the Best)

I dont' want to be the only one writing about this.  Please send articles about how it is or can be helpful to everyone. 


Feb 15, 2012  

Send articles and images to


Looking forward to hearing from you

Hillary Handwerger
WRJ Central District, Bulletin Editor