As the religious school co-chair at my synagogue, Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, PA, I listened to a speech by a member of our temple’s sisterhood. At the end of her talk, she mentioned we could join sisterhood for only $36. I decided to write a check to be gracious but with no intention of participating because I was already active at the temple. I couldn’t have imagined when I first got involved in sisterhood that it would lead me to engage at a global level.
Upon joining sisterhood, I got “the phone call.” You know the one, thanking me for my membership and personally inviting me to an event. Two weeks later, I was sisterhood president! Well, at least it seemed that way. After four years of being on the sisterhood board and serving as Area Director in WRJ's Atlantic District, I had the honor of becoming sisterhood president for a group of wonderful, warm, and dedicated women. The president who preceded me took me to my first WRJ convention where I learned more about WRJ and its mission.
But, my journey didn't stop there.
After ending my term as sisterhood president, I was encouraged to apply for a board position with WRJ. At my first meeting as a WRJ Board Member, they were looking for someone to help our WRJ's United Nations representative. I thought this was an incredible opportunity so I raised my hand. Two weeks later, WRJ's then-President Blair Marks offered me the chance to work with Janet Stovin – the WRJ UN representative.
That was five years ago. Since then, I have had tremendous opportunities to speak about the WRJ’s role at the UN to sisterhoods around the country. I’ve taught religious school children about human rights and participated in a panel of faith leaders to the international community at the United Nations Annual Conference about Reform Judaism. In those meetings, I used my public speaking skills, how to write a D’var Torah, and how to run workshops, which I had learned at the Fried Women’s Conference. Best of all, I’ve stayed in the homes of wonderful, warm, and dedicated WRJ women.
Because of my UN work on behalf of WRJ, I was invited to be on the World Union for Progressive Judaism's North American Advisory Board and represent WUPJ at the UN. I also joined the National Council of Synagogues, a partner of the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements in Judaism that dealt with inter-religious affairs on a national level. In my three years with this group, I had afternoon tea with Cardinal Timothy Dolan in his home and attended a meeting where I heard Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh share his reflections about that tragic day in their community. More recently, I am now serving on the UN Committee of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
I share my story to bring awareness to the opportunities available to all women of WRJ. These experiences will contribute to your personal growth and, through your work, will surely make a positive impact on people in your community and for generations to come. WRJ women can have experiences that are unimaginable yet still attainable. What makes this possible? I'd say it is how we lift each other up along the way, provide growth opportunities, and are supported by wonderful, warm, and dedicated women.