Women of Reform Judaism

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Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), formerly known as the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, is the women's affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism. As the primary women's organization in the Reform Jewish movement, WRJ represents over 65,000 women. WRJ advocates for social justice, raises funds for charities and rabbinic scholarships, and educates congregational leaders.[1]

Notable Contributions[edit]

In 1972, the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods was instrumental in the ordination of the first American female rabbi, Sally Priesand. In 1963 the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods had approved a resolution at its biennial assembly calling on the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion to move forward on the ordination of women. [2]

The YES Fund (Youth, Education, and Special Projects), maintained by WRJ, provides support to North American Federation of Temple Youth, the Hebrew Union College, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and many other organizations and charities. WRJ also supports Abraham Geiger College, the first seminary to ordain a Rabbi in Germany since World War II.

The Torah: A Women's Commentary recently won the Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year award. This counterpart to The Torah: A Modern Commentary gives a new perspective on women in the Torah. A Women's Commentary is a scholarly work, written by Jewish women, that gives voices to the women in the Torah and gives a woman's perspective on these classical stories. The book began as a WRJ project in 1992 and was published in 2008 with URJ Press.[3]

Leadership and Structure[edit]

For its first twenty years (1913-1933), Women of Reform Judaism was led by volunteer presidents, the first being Carrie Simon. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Jane Evans became its first full-time Executive Director in 1933, a position she held until 1976. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

As of January 2013, the President of WRJ is Lynn Magid Lazar, of Temple Sinai in Pittsburgh, PA. Lynn is known for her commitment to Reform Judaism, social justice, generous spirit, and her email signature block "Flexible people don't get bent out of shape!"

Her First Vice President is Blair Marks (Temple Kol Emeth, Marietta, GA). She is also assisted by vice presidents Susan C. Bass (Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, TX), Sharon K. Benoff (Shir Ami, Newtown, PA), Edith Caplan (Temple Beth Torah, Fremont, CA), and Sara Charney (Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto, ONT). The Treasurer is fredi Bleeker Franks (Congregation Emanu El, Houston, TX), and the Secretary is Pat Blum (Temple Emanuel, McAllen, TX).

The Executive Director is Rabbi Marla J. Feldman (Central Syngagogue, New York, NY), and there is an executive committee to assist the Officers and Board of Directors.

Prior to 2009, the President had been Rosanne M. Selfon (Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, Lancaster, PA).

There are eight districts that span the United States and Canada, each of which has a district president.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.womenofreformjudaism.org/
  2. ^ http://jwa.org/thisweek/apr/29/1957/jane-evans
  3. ^ The Torah: A Women's Commentary, Ed. Dr. Tamara Cohn Ezkenazi & Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., URJ Press & WRJ, New York 2008.
  4. ^ http://tmt.urj.net/archives/2socialaction/101105.htm
  5. ^ http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=3144
  6. ^ http://urj.org/about/union/leadership/yoffie/evans/
  7. ^ http://blogs.rj.org/wrj/2013/03/12/jane-evans-of-blessed-memory-one-of-a-kind/
  8. ^ http://jwa.org/thisweek/apr/29/1957/jane-evans
  9. ^ http://tmt.urj.net/archives/2socialaction/101105.htm
  10. ^ http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=3144
  11. ^ http://urj.org/about/union/leadership/yoffie/evans/
  12. ^ http://blogs.rj.org/wrj/2013/03/12/jane-evans-of-blessed-memory-one-of-a-kind/
  13. ^ http://jwa.org/thisweek/apr/29/1957/jane-evans

External links[edit]