I am told that my great-grandmother, Bubbie, not only taught her daughters to be strong, independent women living in America, she also taught them the importance of family and Jewish traditions. These values influenced the Traub family rituals when Tante Mollie and Grandma Fannie started their own families during the 1930s and the 1940s.
Last Saturday, January 22nd, marked the 49th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The Roe decision was revolutionary, as it protected a pregnant person’s right to have an abortion without excessive government restrictions. Now, we face a grim reality that Roe may not reach its 50th anniversary. This spring, the Court will deliver its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that could functionally overturn Roe. If this happens, almost half the states in the US are poised to ban abortion entirely.
The first time I personally connected with Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) was in 2015 at the URJ Biennial in Orlando where I was invited as their guest.
One of the most important ways WRJ connects with our members/the community/the world is through the North America and District Speakers Bureaus. The Speakers Bureau is an interactive initiative that allows us to share information and learn together. Speakers may be a WRJ Board member or officer, a district president, sisterhood member, or community leader that connects with your group. It could be YOU.
This week’s Torah portion, Parashah Yitro, sets the stage for our work, reminding us that to create a just and equitable society reflective of our values, we need to share leadership, stand together, and strengthen relationships across lines of difference.
What do we do when we approach a crossroads in our lives? These moments define us. Often the path is not clear and we are unsure of what challenges or opportunities lie ahead. Anticipation, uncertainty, and excitement inhabit our consciousness. Will I make a good decision for myself and others? What would it be like if you were at the shore of the Sea of Reeds on that fateful day when the sea parted? Should we look ahead or behind?
What I love most about WRJ is the feeling that I make a difference even as an individual. My donations to the YES Fund help, the advocacy work done through the RAC makes our voices heard and the women I meet.
We want to wish you a happy and healthy secular new year! With the new year comes the opportunity to reflect on the past, take stock of what’s important, and set goals for the future. Last year may not have been the relief from COVID-19 we all had wanted, but it showed us that with a strong network of WRJ sisters, we can still find connection in sisterhood, spirituality in studying Torah, and purpose in helping others through social justice work. We are excited to see what the new year has to offer and want to remind you that WRJ has the resources to help you achieve your sisterhood resolutions for the upcoming year.
Parashah Bo begins with the most dramatic of God’s plagues upon the Egyptians: the infestation of locusts that destroys the life-giving crops, the shroud of darkness that covers the land, and the precise time of the death knell for all the firstborn: at midnight of the fifteenth day of the month of Nissan.
I remember reading this story over and over when I was young. I remember it, of course, as the centerpiece of our family seder, when I would ask my mother “Why didn’t they just run away when they had the chance?” My mother had no answers for me. She just sighed and said that maybe someday I would understand. She told me that sometimes people lost all hope and that they were blind to the possibilities around them. As I get older and wiser, I think I am beginning to understand.