Dear Women of Reform Judaism,
I have had the pleasure of serving as Women of Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center Eisendrath Legislative Assistant for the past year. I could not have asked for a longer job title, nor could I have asked for a better experience. The opportunity to work with WRJ greatly enhanced my fellowship. In my final letter to WRJ, I would like to share just a few ways you all impacted me.
About a month into my year, my grandfather passed away. Up until then, I did not fully know the value of Uniongrams. But when I returned to the office to a package of notes from women I worked closely with and women I had not once spoken with, I understood and I appreciated. As touched as I was to receive kindness during a challenging time in my life, it felt just as substantial to receive Uniongrams for my birthday. Acknowledgement of significant life events does not go unnoticed. It makes you feel seen. I know I am not alone in my feelings. Not a day goes by that my Yammer notifications are not filled with WRJ women expressing immense gratitude for recognition of experiences, joyous or difficult. Uniongrams aside, the compassion that WRJ women express and share is remarkable, and every woman should be so lucky to have a WRJ woman in her life.
Wow. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I headed out to attend the Fried Leadership Conference in Charleston! I witnessed interactions that I thought were between old friends, only to find out they had just met. There was no cattiness, only open arms. Making new connections was effortless. It was clear that each individual contributed in some way to this greater whole of WRJ. The community transcends the Charleston Marriott Hotel ballroom and is evident in the programs and spaces that individual sisterhoods create. I know that anywhere I go, WRJ will be there. You have shown me that we truly are stronger together, especially when wearing matching bedazzled lanyards.
I had a blast at every WRJ-sponsored event I attended, regardless of how exciting the task I was performing really was. I am positive it is because of the people. Not only do you all know how to have fun, but you take genuine interest in learning more about people new to the space. You build authentic relationships. I am particularly grateful to the WRJ staff for quickly becoming my friends. I can guarantee you no other legislative assistant looks forward to calls with their coalition partners as much as I do with my weekly WRJ calls. One second Megan, Micaela and I would be discussing the blog schedule, and the next we would be trying to shut down the patriarchy, or just as importantly, showing each other photos of our pets. And, nothing compares to working with Marla, who I deeply admire. I feel truly honored to have had the chance to work with and learn from her.
I could go on, but alas, I must go. So I want to give you one final, huge, THANK YOU. Thank you for standing with me and for showing me strength and support. Thank you for being my teachers and sometimes my students. When I step out of 2027 Massachusetts Avenue on August 11th, I will bring with me the memories of a year filled with compassion, community, and comradery. But I think we all know this will not be the last time we spend together.
I mean, who knows. Maybe I will see y’all in Nashville.
All my best, in solidarity,
Maya H. Weinstein
Maya Weinstein served as the 2016-2017 WRJ Religious Action Center Eisendrath Legislative Assistant.