WRJ's Civil Rights Journey: A Reflection

Talia Shapiro Blank
December 16, 2022
WRJ's Civil Rights Journey was our organization's first of its kind. Our attendees and communities long awaited this program, and it did not disappoint! Finally, being back in person led to an overwhelming feeling of connection throughout the entire trip. While time has passed quickly, we are still reveling, reflecting, and sharing the powerful experiences we had in Georgia and Alabama. While every place we visited was rich in history and meaning, here were some highlights that have remained with us.

Parashat Vayeishev

fredi Bleeker Franks
December 16, 2022
Over the years, I have heard so many stories of women who had big dreams for themselves, their families, and yes, even their women’s groups, but had let them go because they were told to be realistic and get their heads out of the clouds. They were told that their dreams would never come true. During those conversations, I encouraged those women to revisit their dreams. I told them that, as with our friend Joseph, dreams could be connections with God and our most authentic selves, and we owe it to ourselves to try to make them come true.

Parashat Vayishlach 

Jane Taves
December 9, 2022
How many family rifts have we witnessed in our lives, over far less serious wrongs than those suffered by Esau, and how often are the family members unable to find this forgiveness? And in our larger world, how many conflicts are we witnessing between nations, political beliefs, religions, and even streams of Judaism? Forgiveness and reconciliation are in short supply right now. What can we learn from the decisions that Esau makes in this parashah?

Fighting for the Rights of Women to be Seen

Orly Erez-Likhovski
December 9, 2022
I have been fighting gender segregation and the exclusion of women for 18 years since I joined the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). The attempts to treat women differently and prevent them from enjoying equal rights are incomprehensible in a democratic state. WRJ has stood by IRAC in the struggle for a more equal, just, and pluralistic Israel. Together, we will make this vision a reality.

Parashat Vayeitzei

Karen Sim, WRJ First Vice President, Isaac M. Wise Temple, Cincinnati, OH
December 2, 2022
For me, Jacob's ladder is the connection between heaven and Earth, which we travel in life, as contemporary Jews, with the guidance of Torah and the wisdom we garner from personal experience to act in an ethical and moral fashion. Our “house of God” is the Earth we inhabit, the arena where we balance good and bad, and seek to bring divine inspiration to daily life. This is our challenge and guides our choices as individuals and as members of Women of Reform Judaism.

We Are, We Are, We Are, WRJ

Shari Carruthers
Lillian Burkenheim Silver
December 2, 2022
In October 2022, 88 of us traveled from across North America to Atlanta to join other sisters on the WRJ Civil Rights Journey. Armed with articles, movies, books, and memories about the fight for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s, we visited historical landmarks in Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham. We found what we knew intellectually was no match for walking in the footsteps of those who were there and have continued to advocate and advance racial equality. As we kick off WRJ’s end-of-year campaign, we reflect on the impact of this trip and the work still to be done.

Parashat Tol'dot

Sharon Zydney
November 25, 2022
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. 

Parashat Chayei Sarah

Jenn Daley, WRJ Executive Committee, Marketing & Communications Chair
November 18, 2022
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?’

Lori Motis: A WRJ Leadership Spotlight

Lori Motis
November 18, 2022
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.