Take a Risk! Add Your Voice to the Mix

Apply to WRJ's 2024 North American Board Service
August 4, 2023Rachelle Weiss Crane

Since you are reading this, you likely know that Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) cultivates sisterhood by empowering Reform Jewish women to find strength, joy, and connection in their communities. You likely know WRJ inspires spiritual growth by enriching contemporary life with Jewish rituals, traditions, culture, and opportunities for lifelong learning. And, you likely know that WRJ mobilizes collective action for various causes to create a more just and compassionate world for people of all backgrounds and identities. From abortion access to sexual harassment and assault, to pay equity and racial justice, WRJ empowers women to use their voices and cultivate the next generation of Reform Jewish leaders through education, advocacy, and action. But did you know that through its YES Fund, this year WRJ has awarded over $300,000 in grants to 22 programs? These programs will strengthen Jewish life and provide the necessary support for religious, social, and educational growth in North America, Israel, and worldwide.

If now is the time for you to take on a new leadership role, and you wonder how you can become part of all that sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice, consider applying to WRJ’s North American Board of Directors for the 2024-2027 term.

WRJ Board members are a diverse group of women. Each comes to the Board bringing her own gifts, expertise, and areas she wants to strengthen. This thoughtful group works together and inspires each other to make our world a better place while building skills, developing friendships, and having fun!

My own WRJ journey began in 1999 in Chicago, Illinois. The sisterhood at my congregation had been floundering and the senior Rabbi asked me to re-establish the women’s group. I was honored, excited, and frightened all at the same time. I grew up in a secular, unaffiliated Jewish family, so I had no role models for Jewish communal leadership. The women of what was then WRJ District 18 came to my rescue. They helped guide me as a new president, and our sisterhood began to flourish. My tutelage included my first visit to camp. Through workshops and one-on-one meetings at beautiful OSRUI in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, I learned about WRJ policies and best practices and gained confidence. During that visit, I also learned about WRJ’s role in establishing and funding URJ camps and the power of camps in building Jewish identity. I vowed to send my son there but as it turned out, my family moved to Dallas and he was instead destined for Greene Family Camp, an amazing URJ camp in Texas, for seven incredible summers.

WRJ networks are strong and have a wide reach. That move to Dallas in 2002 was an easy transition because of WRJ. My arrival was anticipated, and I immediately received a warm welcome, a meaningful project to work on, and a new group of mentors and friends in my new WRJ Sisterhood at Temple Emanu-El, Dallas. Since 2002, I have served in a variety of leadership roles in my local sisterhood, including president. I’ve also had meaningful roles with WRJ’s Southwest District, the Temple Emanu-El Board, and the broader Dallas community. I credit WRJ for helping me develop my leadership skills and giving me the confidence to take risks.

Joining WRJ’s North American Board was one of those risks. I wanted to learn and do more of WRJ’s work around North America and the larger Jewish world, so I applied for a Board position and was honored to be nominated. My Board service has been everything I had hoped for and more!  

Since my election to the WRJ Board in May of 2019, I have been privileged to serve on committees for Resolutions, YES Fund Allocations, Dues Commitment, and both the Executive Committee and Board of Directors nominations. I truly enjoyed each of those experiences and the relationships I have built through the work of WRJ. I am in awe of the amazing women I have come to know and call friends through my Board service. I’ve also picked up new skills, including how to write a d’var Torah and how to use Zoom for online meetings. The ability to run a Zoom meeting was invaluable as the world shut down during the COVID-19 epidemic. I had an advantage amongst all my professional colleagues since WRJ has been using that technology tool for years! And this summer, when our congregation looked to a handful of lay leaders to unpack a Torah portion on a given Shabbat morning, I was able to say, “Yes, I have the skills to do that.” I am truly honored to be chairing the WRJ Board Nominating Committee for 2024. WRJ Board members today owe much to those who came before us. This committee of 11 women will honor that legacy and help to shape the future of WRJ.   

Women who participate on WRJ’s Board utilize their strengths in these and other areas: 

  • programming and education
  • governance and strategic planning
  • social justice advocacy and action
  • fundraising
  • marketing and communications
  • leadership training
  • finance and budgeting

If you want to join a network of awesome women who make a difference in the world, we hope you will apply. If you would like to strengthen your leadership skills, we have much to offer. And if you have skills that will strengthen our voices, we need you! 

We need women who have climbed the “traditional” WRJ leadership ladder through our Districts, and women who have joined WRJ as individual members. The Reform Movement is diverse with members who are Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Jews of Color, Jews by birth, Jews by choice, Jews with young families, empty nesters, single, married, LGBTQ+, and more. WRJ’s Board should reflect women with all the diversity of the Reform Movement.

Add your voice! Take a risk and submit your application. Or, do you know someone you think would be perfect for WRJ's North American Board? Let them know by forwarding them this email with a note of encouragement.

Applications for the WRJ’s 2024-2027 Board term are open now and are due by October 10, 2023. If you have questions about applying to WRJ’s North American Board of Directors, please contact us at wrj-board@wrj.org. More information can be found on WRJ's website. I hope you will be inspired by what you see, and take the risk to add your voice to our mix.

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