In the US, slavery and segregation meant that Blacks and whites lived as ‘2 peoples’ where whites prevailed over Blacks. While laws have been passed to remove barriers to equal justice, centuries of racial subordination and discrimination do not end just because laws are passed to prohibit them. There is still much work to be done to ensure that all persons have their civil rights and that, unlike the blessing Isaac conferred on Esau, they can live freely wherever they wish to reside. We can help affect change through participation in any number of social action and social justice initiatives.
On the recent WRJ Civil Rights Journey (CRJ), the theme of legacy was repeated over and over. As our tour guide, Billy Planer wrapped up our powerful five-day experience, he asked this poignant legacy question, ‘How will you live your life so that when you die, you have a legacy of justice for the next generation to remember you by?’
Supporting our local congregations and communities is what makes Sisterhood membership so rewarding. WRJ expands on this by connecting us to other sisterhoods and communities in this amazing network. Our impact in the world is magnified by our involvement in the organization.
P2P is a well-studied concept. We know it works! Studies show that the funds raised from P2P are usually double that of traditional fundraising. The easier you make it for people to fundraise, the more they’ll do it. Sometimes people just need a reason to say yes. We encourage you to share your areas of interest so we can support you in this endeavor. We hope this article can help you to brainstorm expanding fundraising efforts, whether on behalf of your women’s group or individual accomplishments.
Right now, women have opportunities to make a difference in every aspect of life: in our families, communities, country, and the world. Perhaps, it is not our obligation to finish this work, but it is our responsibility to act, participate, stand strong, and work together within the various opportunities to repair our world. It would appear that a major effort must continue to ensure the rights and opportunities of all women and hope that G-d listens and guides us as we do the work of Women of Reform Judaism and other groups who share our values, visions and goals.
Perhaps my greatest journey has been, and continues to be, my spiritual one. It is not a destination, but a mindset. To be one with God and my loved ones. Today, it is my life’s purpose. I think of the faith I have in God, after being a non-practicing Conservative Jew for more than twenty years, all spurred on by the beauty of Reform Judaism where inclusivity - and even individuality - are at its very core. WRJ has also played a big part in my spiritual journey. No matter where I journey in ‘WRJ-land,” I am home.
Over the past several years, it seems that so many of the things about which we, as Reform Jews, care have been under attack. Gun violence is still the norm; Roe v. Wade has been overturned; and People of Color and immigrants are still under attack. All that is not to mention the attacks on the very fabric of our democracy. What do all these things have in common? The best way to “fix” them; to move forward toward the sort of world we might actually like to have, is to vote.
While the rainbow is a sign from the Eternal as to the covenant not to flood the Earth, we can also take it as a beautiful reminder that we are to act on our values. In whatever way we can, we can act against corruption and for justice. Tzedek, tzedek tirdof, justice, justice you shall pursue (Deuteronomy 16:18.) For me, the social justice work of Women of Reform Judaism is a way to bring this concept into my own life, working on issues from racial justice to reproductive health and so many others.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) in the U.S. This year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) chose the theme of #Every1KnowsSome1 to highlight how common domestic violence is. Each of us may (or likely) knows someone, either in our Jewish community or our secular communities, who has been impacted by or is a survivor of domestic violence.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be District President, but WRJ gave me the confidence and knowledge to move forward. That confidence has profoundly shaped other areas of my life, from my professional life to my recreational life. I made a big career move last year, one I am sure I would not have made without the leadership skills formed in WRJ.