In This Issue
WRJ Central
Shabbat Shira- Columbus
Meet our Central District Chairs
Guide to Programming
Program-- Advocacy-Breast Cancer Awareness
HUC/WRJ District Meeting
Shabbaton- Detroit
Program-- Circles
We grew!
Meet our Presidents
Thanks from NFTY
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.  



Winter 2012

Winter is a very active time for Sisterhoods and Central District.  We hope that you will nominate some of these wonderful programs, mentioned below, for awards when you get the call for nominations this summer.  Watch for more information on the district award program.   

On November 4th Central District will have Shabbat Services with Julie Silver at Temple Israel in Columbus, OH.  Julie is coming in for the Columbus Community Shabbat and will lead us in services with Rabbi Debbie Lefton.  Women from the District will read Torah and participate in the service.   Appropriately this is Shabbat Shira. 


April 27-29 is Central District Interim Board Meeting in Cincinnati.  We are excited to be spending Shabbat at Hebrew Union College.  All sisterhood board members are invited.


As we approach the WRJ Centennial you will begin to see a lot of information coming out.  I hope every sisterhood will identify a Centennial Ambassador as a way to connect each sisterhood to all that is going on.  If you missed that email, please let me know, and I will send you the information on the Ambassador program.  The short video that we saw at the Biennial is available for download here.  If you have a problem with the download, contact me. Central District is also fortunate that the next Leadership Conference will be in Cincinnati so we should make plans to attend in February of 2013.


Marilyn Goldfein is working on our convention in November of 2012 in Detroit.  The planning committee has been working very hard and it will be a wonderful meeting.  Please watch for information and plan to attend.


Trying to develop programs that bring in new members, address the needs of current members is not an easy task.  Central District has a lot of resources to help you with this progress and we are sharing some of that with you in this issue.  We have a lot of resources for programming in the District and at WRJ.  You are also a good resource for programming and we want to hear about your successes.  It is my hope that you will get lots of ideas and find out about a lot of resources.  We would appreciate your feedback on this and all issues. 


Yours in Sisterhood


Hilda R. Glazer, EdD

President, WRJ Central District


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.

Meet our Central District Chairs

Joyce Alpiner, WRJ Central District Jewish Family Concerns Chair

Wise Temple-Cincinnati, Ohio   


I have been active in Sisterhood for about 30 years, in three different cities, Kalamazoo, South Bend, and now Cincinnati.  I even served as president for a short time in Kalamazoo, until I had to leave the position because our family was moving to South Bend.   


   Being Jewish has always  been an identifying factor all my life.  Growing up in Detroit, I was the third girl to become a bat mitzvah at our conservative synagogue, Adat Shalom.  


   I am the mother of 4 children, all in their 40s, and grandmother of 8.  I was married to Marvin for 26 years before his death in 2005. I worked as a social worker in many different capacities, mostly with children and families.  I have an MSW from Indiana University.


   I am honored for the opportunity to be involved on our regional board and am eager to talk to the women of the sisterhoods in our region about issues of Jewish Family and Aging.

Alida Marie Forshaw, Central District Advocacy Chair

Shomer Emunim-Sylvania, Ohio



  Hello. My name is Alida Marie Forshaw. I belong to Temple Shomer Emunim in Sylvania, Ohio. I live here with my husband Michael and my two children, my 11-year-old son Justin and my 9-year-old daughter Jacqualynne. I work for Sylvania City Schools.  


  This year I am serving my Temple's WRJ Sisterhood in the capacity of co-president with Rochelle Barchick. It is my great hope that next year I will be able to serve my Sisterhood as president as well as Rochelle has. In years past I have served as recording secretary, corresponding secretary, and blood drive chair. I am looking forward to a wonderful and productive 2012.

WRJ's "Guide to Programming Possibilities"


Karen Smith, Central District VP Department on Programming and Advocacy

(Temple Beth El, Knoxville, Tennessee)


            Innovative Sisterhood programs are an excellent way to build and attract membership. Whenever sisterhood leaders come together at area days, leadership conferences, or assemblies, they love to exchange programming ideas. Central District's "Sisterhood Sharing" Workshop held at District Conventions is a very popular and very well attended workshop because of the programming ideas that are shared.


            "Guide to Programming Possibilities" is a PDF file available on the WRJ web site and contains over eighty-five programming ideas that were contributed by WRJ sisterhoods. These programming ideas will appeal to a wide range of women and sisterhoods.


To access this PDF file you will need to go to the leadership login and establish an e-mail id and password. It is easy to do and you will then have other leadership materials available to you and your sisterhood.


            The programming possibilities section is divided into six categories and includes community building/fun/entertainment, women's health and wellness, education, tikkun olam/social action, worship/ritual/holidays, and youth programming.


            Use your imagination. Keep in mind that because a program is placed in one category doesn't mean it can't work in another. Try doing something new or try doing something old in a new way.


            "Guide to Programming Possibilities" also includes tips to get you started, information on budgeting for your event, event planning checklists, and a sample sisterhood retreat agenda.


            Programming possibilities . . . endless possibilities.



Sisterhood Program Gives Validation to Parents

Joyce Alpiner, Central District Chair Jewish Family Concerns/Sacred Aging

(Wise Temple-Cincinnati, Ohio)


On Sunday morning October 18, 2011, during Sunday school at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, about 15 mothers attended a lecture on the topic of Understanding Temperament. The speaker was Erin McNew, MSW, LSW from Jewish Family Services. Ms. McNew explained the nine aspects of temperament in order to help parents understand and identify each child's unique strengths and challenges.


Aspects of temperament include activity, regularity, initial reaction, adaptability, intensity, mood distractibility, sensitivity, and persistence.  The parents were given assessments scales to rate one of their children and another to rate themselves. Discussion and sharing followed.


One participant, Tammy Miller-Ploetz, enthusiastically stated that the speaker was wonderful and the information presented was great. Ms. Miller-Ploetz said the discussion which followed was most helpful because it offered "validation and confirmation" by sharing with other parents struggling with similar issues.


Sponsored by Wise Temple Sisterhood, the program was designed to be of interest to young parents at a convenient time when they were already at temple while their children were in Sunday school. If you are interested in providing a similar program and would like more information, please feel free to contact Joyce Alpiner.  


Advocacy-Breast Cancer Awareness

Alida Marie Forshaw, Advocacy Chair


     We have been busy at Temple Shomer Emunim in Sylvania, Ohio and I would like to share some of those things with you. As many of you may know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Our WRJ Sisterhood partnered with our Cantor, Raina Sirorty, to develop a variety of activities to benefit Sharsheret. Sharsheret is an organization that recognizes the need for specialized care for Jewish women facing breast cancer. One in forty Ashkenazi Jews carries a gene mutation that makes Jewish women significantly more likely to get breast or ovarian cancer.

     Our first action was to hold a pink tulip bulb sale. Congregants could choose to buy six tulip bulbs which they could plant at home or have planted at The Temple. The 9th grade religious school children helped to plant the bulbs on the Temple grounds. When the tulips bloom in the spring, Sisterhood will have a dedication of the tulip garden and we will give out pamphlets to congregants listing the names of the person(s) they dedicated their tulips to. My tulips are dedicated to my mother -in-law, Carol, who was fortunate enough to survive her bout with breast cancer. A tasteful decorative garden ornament with Sharsheret Tulip Garden written on it will be placed to show the significance of our patch of pink tulips. We sold the tulip bulbs at the cost of $18 for 6 bulbs, with all of the proceeds going to Sharsheret.


     Secondly, on October 28th we held a special pink Shabbat. We invited other local synagogues to share our Shabbat evening with us. Everyone was encouraged to wear pink. Greeters offered information and "in honor of" stickers as guests and congregants entered the sanctuary. Congregants were given the opportunity to light a candle in memory of or in honor of a loved one who had struggled with breast cancer. Sisterhood members took turns reading meaningful excerpts from the journals and books written by women who have struggled with breast cancer. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Iman Mohamed from the University of Toledo Medical Center. She is nationally recognized for her work on genetic mutations and breast cancer. She was extremely informative and stayed after services to answer questions.


     After services a dinner was served with all pink desserts. We also served pink lemonade and our very own chef Marshall Goldstein made pink challahs for every table, which tasted as good as they looked. All of the proceeds from the dinner were donated to the Sharsheret organization. I left the evening feeling very informed and hopeful that a cure is possible in the not to far off distance. I am looking forward to seeing our tulips in the spring.


At Temple Shomer Emunim we have many talented artists. Each month we feature one of our artists in our WRJ Sisterhood gift shop with what we call the Artist in Residence program. We have had glass art, Judaic jewelry, and hand carved Judaic themed woodwork just to name a few of the wonderful offerings. Of course, we are now also prepared for Hanukkah.



Alida Marie Forshaw

Central District Advocacy Chair
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.  

See more below!

Hosted by the Women of Reform Judaism, Central District - Cincinnati Affiliates


                        Weekend Schedule of Events
Friday:  3-5:30 pm  Central District Board Meeting
                6:15 pm ROCK SHABBAT AND SHABBAT DINNER
                                Rockdale Temple, Amberley Village


Saturday:  HUC Cincinnati Campus and Downtown:
                        -A.M. TORAH STUDY & SHABBAT SERVICE
                        -LUNCH & BRIEF PROGRAM
                        -AFTERNOON DOCENT- LED TOURS*
                    *HUC Cincinnati Skirball Museum
                    *Dalsheimer Rare Book Exhibit/Klau Library
                    *American Jewish Archives
                    *Historic Isaac M. Wise Plum Street Temple
        *Tours are open to the community, reservations required
                        -HAVDALAH & SATURDAY DINNER


Sunday:  8:30 a.m. - noon  Central District Board Meeting     
                                with Brunch


Hotel & Registration Forms/Costs Available Soon
Contact your local Sisterhood President





- The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - "HUC/JIR"
 Cincinnati Campus is the the birthplace of American Reform Judaism. 
Founded in 1875 by Rabbi Isaac M. Wise, it has ordained over 2800 Rabbis and over 400 Cantors.  The first female Rabbi was ordained in 1972;the first female Cantor in 1975.

- The HUC/JIR Skirball Museum, Cincinnati, houses a permanent collection of Jewish archaeological artifacts from both the Nelson Glueck School of  Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem and local Jewish historically significantceremonial and ritual objects.


- The Dalsheimer Rare Book Room Exhibit includes rare incunabula, illuminatedmanuscripts, Biblical  codices, communal records, legal documents and scientifictracts found no where else in the Americas or the world,


- The American Jewish Archives houses over ten million pages of documentation: 8000 linear feet of archives, manuscripts, near-print materials photographs, audioand video tapes, microfilm and Jewish genealogical materials.

The Circles of Temple Emanu El


That's what the Women of Temple Emanu El love. Once a month there are two programs that get the women out and about in Cleveland and the suburbs. We often have as many as twenty women participate in these programs.


Mystery Circle is held the third Thursday of the month throughout the year and has been in place for more than ten years. The mystery is lunch and an activity that is planned by two members in the spring, summer and fall and just lunch in the winter. If you know Cleveland, we try to stay close to home in the winter months. But in the nicer weather, the women visit museums, special exhibits, factories, other temples, gardens, greenhouses or wherever our women dream up for a trip. Postcards are sent to announce the meeting place and the charge if there is one. Then the volunteer drivers learn the mystery location. The chatter is a lot of fun with everyone guessing where we are going. Once or twice a year we have a potluck lunch, because we like to share in our culinary talents.


Our other event is Dinner Circle. This is held the fourth Thursday of the month. There are no secrets or mysteries here. Often it's a new experience for some who haven't been to the restaurant before. Email notices are sent one month prior and responses are also by email reply allowing everyone to get there on their own. We like to try different restaurants.


Some of the men in our lives take advantage of the time to also get together on their own.


We've had Italian, Jewish deli, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and Fusion. Being in Cleveland, we seem to prefer the excellent Italian restaurants. Suggestions for places to go are always welcome.


The Circles are a way for The Women of Temple Emanu El to socialize in an informal setting spending time with friends who have common interest.


Happy Eating! Happy Socializing!


Joyce Braun

WOTEE member, Orange Village, Ohio


Marilyn Goldfein

WRJ Central District, 1st Vice President


How we grew our Sisterhood

I am very proud that at the Opening Plenary of the Women of Reform Judaism's 48th Assembly our Sisterhood won an award for increasing our membership over 50% in the past two-year period.  This is our second award in this category for two Assemblies in a row.  We plan to achieve this recognition again for the next Assembly to be held in San Diego.  I have been asked how we did it.  It's not a secret, it's a passion.  I brought my passion for Sisterhood and WRJ from my prior Sisterhood in South Florida to my current Sisterhood in Northeast Ohio.

Our family moved to Ohio five and a half years ago.  Just over four years ago we found our spiritual home at a small congregation in Hudson, Ohio.  Prior to attending my first Sisterhood meeting I was asked to bring some ideas with me on programs and activities I did with my former Sisterhood.  These ideas and my love of WRJ was the stepping stone to my becoming the next Sisterhood President.  I have just begun my fourth year in this role.

Here's what I know for sure - if you JUST ASK people are happy to help or serve or at a minimum are curious to learn more about Sisterhood.  The Shabbat before my first meeting as President in the fall of 2008 I remember asking every single woman at services to come to the meeting on Sunday morning.  I made up membership forms and put together a calendar of events for the year ahead.  Being still pretty new to the congregation I didn't even know everyone's name.  I formed my first board which consisted of the few women I did know and begged them to let me submit their names to WRJ.  And slowly the women joined.  I used to joke that they became members so I would stop nagging them, but the truth is they really enjoy each other, enjoy being a part of a group of like-minded Jewish women, and are eager to contribute their time and talents to better our temple and the community.  

During that first fall I received a telephone call from the then President of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple Sisterhood, Bernice Goldman.  She asked me if the Cleveland area was selected to host the next District Convention would our Sisterhood be interested in being part of the planning committee.  I had been to a District Convention in Florida and knew what an awesome experience this would be.  I agreed right away.  At this time my Sisterhood didn't even know what a WRJ Convention was!  A few weeks later we were invited to an Area Day as Fairmount Temple Sisterhood celebrated their Centennial weekend.  There was a Shabbat Dinner and services on Friday and a breakfast and Torah Study Saturday morning.  Their guest for the weekend was Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, editor of The Torah: A Women's Commentary.  I invited my Sisterhood.  One woman came on Friday and another on Saturday, but it was a start.  

With dinners out, our annual "Frying of the Latkes" for Chanukah, general meetings, a Sisterhood Shabbat Service, and another Area Day the following May our membership grew from 7 to 15 to 23 to 33 last year.  We had 6 of our Sisters attend the District Convention last November 2010 in Cleveland - not too bad as it represented almost 20% of our membership.

In the past four years I have taught our Sisterhood about WRJ, the Central District, Area Days, Conventions, and the YES Fund.  We wrote our first ever Constitution, our first Mission Statement, and created a brochure.  We now have a board of 13 women (no begging involved), an Ambassador for the upcoming WRJ Centennial, an incoming Co-President, we will soon hold our first Lilith Salon, and this spring we will create our first budget.

What I know for sure is that to grow your membership YOU have to be excited about Sisterhood, genuinely care about YOUR members, keep everyone informed about all upcoming events, continue to invite all women in your congregation and your community to be a part of your Sisterhood, and be real.  Your words and your actions must be authentic and you must follow through on your promises.  

What I know for sure is that you MUST continue to JUST ASK - ask the Sisters to participate, ask them to organize an event or program, ask them for their financial support, or ask them how they're doing.

What I know for sure is you need to continue to get together.  Our Sisterhood meets at least monthly for a meal, a movie, a meeting, a Sisterhood Shabbat Service, a fundraiser, or to organize the temple's kitchen.  We vary our meeting times and days.  We vary our locations.  But we always get together.  

What I know for sure is that I love my Sisterhood, our District, and WRJ.  I also know that I am both honored and blessed to be a member of this incredible organization.

Lisa Singer

President of The Award Winning
Sisterhood of Temple Beth Shalom
WRJ Central District Treasurer 

Meet our Presidents

Abby Pook


Sisterhood (Number of Members):  

Sisterhood,  108 members


Congregation: Temple Kol Ami  


City/State of Congregation:   

West Bloomfield, MI  


Other Sisterhood offices held:  

Historian, Corresponding secretary, VP Programming  


Favorite sisterhood event:  

Cooking classes  


One event planned for the coming year:  

Annual Women's Seder


Share one of your goals for your presidency 

That my board members remain committed to Sisterhood  


Share one thing about yourself:  

I am very flexible  

NFTY Thank you from the Conference
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


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-- WRJ Centrals Website and Blog: How we can communicate better, or How can we communicate better? 


Feb 15, 2012. 

Send articles and images to


Looking forward to hearing from you

Hillary Handwerger
WRJ Central District, Bulletin Editor