View from the WRJ Assembly

December 15, 2011Rabbi Marla J. Feldman

With so much attention devoted to the URJ Biennial convention in National Harbor, MD it is easy to overlook the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) Assembly taking place concurrently. As the incoming Executive Director for WRJ, this is not my first chance to work with our Movement’s sisterhoods, but it is my first opportunity to participate fully with them at this historic assembly. WRJ LogoOver 500 sisterhood representatives from congregations throughout North America are gathered for the WRJ 48th General Assembly, with a full program of meetings, workshops, resolutions and speakers. I have been awed by the vibrancy, energy, enthusiasm and professionalism of this group of women. Frankly, I have been surprised to see the diverse age range of participants. Like many, I shared the presumption that this is still our grandmothers’ sisterhood. In fact, the women at this Assembly, who are the leaders of our sisterhoods and districts, run the gamut from young women to grandmothers with lots of baby boomers in between. And their range of interests and activities is as diverse as any group within the Reform Movement. They strive to create meaningful spiritual and education programs for their sisterhoods even as they work to support their local congregations’ activities, fund youth groups and religious schools and, at the North American level, help fund the Reform Movement through support of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, NFTY, the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and the URJ. I have been especially impressed to learn of the growth of WRJ in Israel, with 25 Israeli sisterhoods recently joining our ranks. These active Israeli Reform women are bringing the best of what the Women of Reform Judaism has to offer to the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. In conjunction with our sisterhoods in South America, we are truly becoming a global movement. Watch out world, here we come!

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