In This Issue
WRJ Central
Changes at WRJ and Districts
Membership News
Changes at District Level
Meet our presidents
The size of Sisterhood
WRJ 48th Biennial
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


More WRJ Central items will be available soon.


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


Changes at WRJ and what they mean for us Summer 2011

WRJ is bringing the organization into the future.  


At the same time that URJ went through significant changes in structure and personnel including a new president,  WRJ undertook a strategic planning process which kicked off in winter 2008-09 with board approval of budget to hire a consultant. "This strategic plan was conducted from April 2009 through June 2010. The motivating factors behind engaging in a strategic planning process were:

  • Completion of implementation of a previous strategic plan
  • Concern about declining membership in WRJ sisterhoods
  • Incomplete understanding of what was happening in sisterhoods
  • Questions about the impact of a recent reorganization of the districts

As a result of these motivating factors, a large portion of the data collection during the strategic planning process was done by visiting and phoning sisterhoods, surveying sisterhood presidents, and surveying sisterhood members. Other data collection included interviewing key stakeholders such as WRJ and district leadership and leadership from the Reform movement." (WRJ Strategic Plan, 2010)


The recommendation from the 2010 WRJ Strategic Plan,following this process were that WRJ should take action in five areas:

  1. "Ensure the financial stability of WRJ
  2. Reverse the membership losses and continue to grow membership [at the sisterhood level and at the international level]
  3. Change the operating model so that the WRJ organization is more effective
  4. Improve sisterhoods' abilities to adapt to new environment by providing support in leadership and management ...
  5. Get out the message of the benefits of WRJ affiliation and the impact that sisterhoods have on congregations"

We have seen the implementation of this plan in a number of ways. WRJ has looked at its structured and streamlined it. This has resulted in changes at the district level in the organization of the Vice Presidents and the number and functions of committee chairs. I appointed a task force made up of our three past presidents to make recommendations for changes in our structure to align us with WRJ. The changes in structure were passed at the last Executive Committee meeting. There are By-Laws and Policies changes that are necessary and we are working on these. The changes with go in effect with the next administration. Please see the details on this in this issue (Changes at District Level).


WRJ has a new look to its Web Page; we are all benefitting from that. New programs have been piloted including a membership program and we are working on outreach to unaffiliated congregations. But primarily we see the changes in the increased activity and products that are designed to help the local sisterhoods. The weekly emails continue with advice and ideas and the listservs are strong and active.


At the district, we are focusing on our connections with the sisterhoods and the Area Directors and the Committee chairs are working with sisterhoods regularly. We are changing how we collect dues so that we conform with WRJ to make things easier for all of you.


As in the past, I look forward to hearing from all of you and would love to be invited to your events and into your sisterhoods. We are all the District and we are all WRJ. We are Stronger Together.



Yours in Sisterhood


Hilda R. Glazer, EdD

President, WRJ Central District

From Lucy Gersten
Membership Secretary

Central District is very proud to announce that our District membership dues for the year 2010-2011 are  100% paid. We thank all of our affiliate Sisterhoods for their cooperation in making this possible.

At the April Executive District Board meeting  we passed a policy change and will now base our dues on the membership figures of 2010-2011 just like our National organization. The 2011-2012 dues will be based on the number of members each Sisterhood had as of June 2011. This change will put our District and National organization on the same page.


We look forward to helping our member Sisterhoods in any way we can.


Also, please note that Temple Shalom in Wheeling,West Virginia is no longer a member of our District. They have been moved to Atlantic District.  


You can see the full listing of all members of our district at  

Changes at District Level mandated by WRJ

In April 2009, Women of Reform Judaism hired Amy Asin, of Asin Associates to determine what changes WRJ needs to make in order to help our sisterhoods increase membership and become relevant to a larger segment of the population.  On July 27, 2011, the WRJ Board of Directors approved a new Strategic Plan. It was determined that the current method of delivering service to the sisterhoods is no longer effective. As a consequence, membership in our local sisterhoods continues to decrease.

Over the next few years, there will be changes made which will make WRJ more responsive to the needs of our local sisterhoods and the eight district boards of directors.


            In order to meet the mandates of the new Strategic Plan, Hilda Glazer, WRJ Central District president, appointed a Task Force to determine what changes need to be made in our district and how to facilitate those changes. The Task Force includes three past District Presidents: Bette Jo Stempel, Karen Smith, and Royalyn R. Vert. Recommendations have made to the Central District Board and will be implemented in 2012.   


            One of the changes mandated by WRJ include downsizing the district boards. We will be eliminating the committee chairs that are not being utilized by the local sisterhood presidents-- Leadership, Membership, Programming, and Fundraising. In their stead, the Area Directors will be able to assist the sisterhood presidents in these areas with the support of the WRJ Expert Consultants.   In the Central District, we believe that the area directors will become an even more valuable aid to the local sisterhoods.  


WRJ will begin making webinars and new materials for the local sisterhood presidents to use in order to strengthen their sisterhoods.  Several sisterhoods in our district were invited to participate in a pilot Membership program, which included webinars and additional support by area directors. You can expect to see additional webinars and materials to help our local sisterhoods in the coming months.


            More information will be coming your way as the Central District makes changes in our board of directors which we hope will help the district to become more responsive to the needs of our local sisterhoods.


Royalyn R. Vert, Chair

Task Force on District Organization

Meet our Presidents

Name: Judy Berzof


Sisterhood (Number of Members): Women of Temple Shalom,  

94 members


Congregation: Temple Shalom


City/State of Congregation: Louisville, KY


Other Sisterhood offices held: Recording secretary, Fund-raising vice president, Membership vice president


Favorite sisterhood event: Our "kick off" meeting in September is always inspiring. It is a potluck and quick preview of the upcoming year that is held at the home of a member. Sisterhood furnishes the main dish and everyone brings something. We get great attendance. And the desserts seem to get better each year.


One event planned for the coming year: Hiking at Bernheim Forest and then returning to Temple Shalom for Havdalah in the Sukkah.


Share one thing about yourself: I'm going to become a grandmother in early November.    




Name: Royalyn Vert


Sisterhood (Number of Members):

Congregation Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood, 109 members.   


City/State of Congregation: East Lansing, Michigan  


Royalyn has held several positions in her local sisterhood and on the Central District Board . Locally, she has held the positions of Interfaith Day Chair, Vice President of Human Relations, Treasurer, and is currently in her third term as Sisterhood President. She has held the positions on the Central District Board as Alumnae Chair, Area Director, First Vice President, President, and is currently the chair of the Nominating Committee.

            One of her favorite sisterhood events is the annual Interfaith Day program. This is a city wide event sponsored by the women's groups of the Jewish, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant faiths. Royalyn has represented her Sisterhood since 1998 and has been the chairman of this committee for three programs held at Shaarey Zedek. The next program to be held at Shaarey Zedek will be in 2013.

            This coming year, Royalyn's sisterhood will be celebrating ninety years of service to the congregation and the greater Lansing community. Plans are underway to have a celebration in the fall which will include memories of the past as well as looking forward to the future.

            Royalyn's main goal during her current term of office is an increase in membership. A Membership Committee has been formed and will begin meeting in August. In the meantime. new job descriptions are being developed and ideas are being discussed on how to best reach a wide group of women in the congregation.

            Royalyn and her husband, Larry currently reside in Lansing, MI and share their home with their calico cat, Ellie. In her spare time, Royalyn enjoys playing Mah Jongg, reading, doing needle point and scrap booking. However, her favorite pastime is traveling to Detroit and Lexington to visit her 7 grandchildren.


Starting the New Year Right
Try using case studies, success stories, testimonials or examples of ho

Recently I was talking with a Sisterhood President. She was remarking that there had not been real continuity in the "chain of information" that had been passed to her as President.  


We talked about the WRJ Website and how it is a great resource for Presidents.  I reviewed the way you get on the Leadership Dashboard etc. and yet she was still a little frustrated.  After some more talking I said "you can always ask me questions and I will do my best to find answers for you."  


Her response is what got me thinking and why I am writing this article. She said "I don't know what to ask." This got me thinking... what should a president have at the outset to get started and feel in control? What I kept coming back to is a Presidents Notebook or Binder. But what do you put in it. And how would you make one if you " don't know what to ask?" as this president told me.


Well after some time on the Website and modeling from other Binders I set about creating a President's Binder from scratch. I also consulted with VP Marilyn Goldfein and President Hilda Glazer for ideas. What I share with you is the Table of Contents. It is my hope that, if you are a new President or just feel like you want to refresh some of your old materials, you can use this as a reference point for the basics that will help you lead. All of the materials that are marked with an asterisk can be down loaded and copied from the WRJ website, and the Central District Website,  


I made a hard copy of everything listed in one afternoon. The Contents is as follows:


Table of Contents

Title page

Table of Contents

1. Local

Mission Statement

Your First 100 Days as Sisterhood President*

Guide for Sisterhood Presidents*




Membership Roster

2. District

District Map*

District Board*

Area Director Contact info

District By-laws*

3. WRJ

WRJ Vision Statement*

Officers and Executive Committee*

Speakers Bureau*

YES Fund*

Union Grams*

Membership Matters*

     Just Ask! Packet*

Fundraising Fundamentals*

Programming Possibilities*

4. Minutes

5. Agendas

6. Miscellaneous


Rachel Lamberton,  

Central Ohio Area Director 





Where does your sisterhood stand? We often talk about small, medium and large sisterhoods. We determine the placement by the number of sisterhood members in each sisterhood.  

One more consideration:  

How does your sisterhood compare when you think of the size of your sisterhood in comparison to the size of your temple? What percentage of the women join Sisterhood? Does your sisterhood represent the women of your congregation? If not who is missing?  


Let's share this at a Central Interim Meeting or Convention.


Categories                     Number of Central District Sisterhood in the category

Small 1-99                     18

Medium 100-299            13

Large 300+                     4  


Sisterhoods by categories:



Beth El Temple Sisterhood - Muncie, IN

B'Nai Israel Sisterhood - Kokomo, IN

Sinai Temple Sisterhood - Marion, IN

Temple Israel Sisterhood -W. Lafayette, IN

Federation of Jewish Women, United Hebrew Congregation - Terre Haute, IN

Temple Beth El Sisterhood - Flint, MI

Temple Emanu-el Sisterhood - Oak Park, MI

Congregation Shir Tikvah Sisterhood - Troy, MI

Temple Sholom Sisterhood - Cincinnati, OH

Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood - Hudson, OH

Temple Israel Sisterhood - Marion, OH

The Women of Beth Shalom - New Albany, OH

Oheb Shalom Congregation Sisterhood - Sandusky, OH

Congregation Beth Tikvah Sisterhood -Worthington, OH

Temple Beth El Sisterhood - Knoxville, TN

Women of Temple Beth Shalom - Louisville, TN

B'Nai Sholom Congregation Sisterhood - Huntington, WV

Tree of Life Congregation Sisterhood - Morgantown, WV



Temple Adath Israel Sisterhood - Lexington, KY

The Temple Women of Reform Judaism - Louisville, KY

Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood - Ann Arbor, MI

Temple Beth El Sisterhood - Bloomfield Hills, MI

Congregation Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood - East Lansing, MI

Temple Kol Ami Sisterhood - W. Bloomfield, MI

Temple Israel Sisterhood - Akron, OH

Temple Women's Association/Tifereth Israel Sisterhood - Beachwood, OH

The Valley Temple Sisterhood - Cincinnati, OH

Rockdale Temple K.K. Bene Israel Sisterhood - Cincinnati, OH

Temple Israel Sisterhood - Columbus, OH

Women of Temple Emanu El - Orange Village, OH

The Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim Sisterhood - Sylvania, OH



Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood - Indianapolis, IN

Temple Israel Sisterhood - W. Bloomfield, MI

Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple Sisterhood - Beachwood, OH

Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood - Cincinnati, OH


Marilyn Goldfein,  

1st VP 



Thank you for the forwarded story of the trip to Uganda.  It was heart warming and encouraging.   In the NY Times this morning was the above article on the front page of the paper.  It is nice to learn of small pockets of peace and prosperity, especially thirty five years after Operation Thunderbolt.  What a contrast in the two articles. 



Cynthia Flaksman



Department on Programming and Advocacy

The Department on Programming and Advocacy included chairs in Programming (Jewing Education), Advocacy (Israel and Israel Twinning), and Jewish Family Concerns (caring community, sacred aging, and youth activities).  Our deparment as a vacancy in Programming Chair.  If you would like additional information about this job opportunity on the District Board, please contact Royalyn Vert.



Learn more, experience the connections.....

Save the date, plan to go!

48th Biennial Assembly 

December 14-18, 2011

Gaylord National Convention Center

Washington DC vicinity 


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.


Visit for more information.   




from our archive, 2009 Assembly:


Update on Area Directors
The new email address to use for Peggy Behrens  is
and for Lucy Gersten, 
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-- Membership


Sept 15, 2011. 

Send articles and images to


Looking forward to hearing from you

Hillary Handwerger
WRJ Central District, Bulletin Editor