Or Ami 2018 Program Award Winners

Established in 1973, the WRJ Or Ami “Light of My People” Award recognizes exemplary social justice, community service, and educational programming that serves as a model for other WRJ Districts and sisterhoods. The awards, listed below, are given biennially and will be presented at WRJ's Fried Leadership Conference 2018.


Beth Am Women Oral History Project: We Carried Torah
Beth Am Women
Congregation Beth Am
Los Altos Hills, CA

Beth Am Women recorded 12 past presidents’ memories, chronicling the changing roles of women and sisterhood in Judaism to honor the congregation’s 60th anniversary. BAW shared a short documentary, posted interviews online and published a booklet of narratives to build awareness and community.

A Celebration of Reform Judaism Around the World, A Creative Service
University Synagogue Sisterhood
University Synagogue
Los Angeles, CA

“A Celebration of Reform Judaism Around the World, A Creative Service” was designed to educate about WUPJ and the origins and development of the Reform Movement worldwide, including key milestones in WRJ’s history, and to transport congregants outside the synagogue walls to embrace Reform Jews, all around the world.

Temple Beth Torah Sisterhood
Temple Beth Torah
Wellington, FL

Temple Beth Torah sisterhood held a challah bake to teach & inspire. In addition to the challah bake they brought in Anes Vertes, a child Holocaust survivor to speak on her life. Other presenters included Rabbi Erica Rosenkranz who spoke about challah and the blessing, Cantor Jennifer Duretz-Peled who sang, Youth Group director Robyn Fleming and a Youth Group representative who spoke about their fundraiser for Camp Jenny. This event connected generations of women on a variety of aspects of Jewish life.

Days for Girls Volunteer Project
Sisterhood of Congregation Rodeph Sholom
Congregation Rodeph Sholom
New York, NY

CRS Sisterhood volunteers monthly with Days for Girls, a grassroots non-profit that creates reusable feminine hygiene kits for women and girls living in poverty world-wide, including New York City. Without these kits, women and girls would miss 5 days of work and school each month because they can’t afford feminine hygiene.

Human Trafficking/Sanctum House
Women of Temple Beth El
Temple Beth El
Rochester Hills, MI

The sisterhood showed a film about human trafficking. At the end of the film they had a panel consisting of a survivor, law enforcement, and the founder of Sanctum House, a home for recovering survivors. A donation area was set up for monetary and items for the house.

Tzedakah Collective
Women of Temple Israel
Temple Israel
Columbus, OH

This tzedakah collective pooled smaller contributions together in order to create a larger financial impact as one. The projected increased awareness in and comfort with women’s philanthropy disbursed funds to organizations worthy of support, placed an emphasis on the education of the organization/cause. The group incorporated text study as the basis for selecting the supported institutions.


Buy a Bowl… Save a Soul
Temple Kol Ami Sisterhood
Temple Kol Ami
West Bloomfield, MI

The sisterhood collaborated with the religious school in "Buy a Bowl...Save a Soul." Sisterhood supplied bowls; the students hand-painted bowls for donation back to their families. Sisterhood provided hot soup for the event. The students were taught tzedakah. It was fun working together and giving back to the community.

A Century of Sisterhood
Beth Israel Sisterhood
Congregation Beth Israel
Portland, OR

“A Century of Sisterhood: A Historical Perspective” is an exhibit to celebrate our centennial by exploring our past in the context of our mission statement. The opening of the exhibit included a special havdalah service and an explanation of the process of putting the exhibit together.

Global Refugee Crisis and the Jewish Call to Action
Sisterhood Temple Beth Israel
Temple Beth Israel
Skokie, IL

Sisterhood TBI Welfare Social Action Co-VPs wanted to alert their community and temple to these critical events occurring daily. Jessica Schaffer, Director of HIAS spoke passionately about the current refugee crisis and showed an award-winning documentary film called “Every Face Has a Name.” A Q&A session followed and she offered ways that one could get involved.

Panel on Pay Equity
WRJ Atlantic District

In 2015, WRJ adopted a resolution supporting Pay Equity. This Atlantic District Area Day program focused on this issue. Three panelists presented various viewpoints - the Torah's position, the viewpoint of a Union educator, and the experience of a deaf woman in the workforce. The program was significant in that it brought in stakeholders from outside the Jewish community and outside our usual circles of association to understand how this issue affects everyone.

Stepping Up to Success
WRJ Midwest District

Midwest District women collected clothing and accessories to create closets at various community-based organizations. Collecting the apparel allows women who might not otherwise be able to afford a new outfit for an interview or their first few days of work to “shop” in community closets and go into their interview or new job with confidence.

Women at the Top
Women's Leadership Council of Temple Israel of the City of New York
Temple Israel of the City of New York
New York, NY

Inspired by the WRJ resolution on Pay Equity, a panel of accomplished, professional women from different industries shared how they navigated challenges in the workplace and established themselves in their careers. The discussion targeted to multi-generations included the gender wage gap, working in male-dominated fields, and, personal branding and self-promotion.


Coffee House with Rabbi Rinat Tzfaniah: Building Relationships in Shoham
Temple Israel Sisterhood
Temple Israel
Memphis, TN

Rabbi Rinat Tzfaniah came as part of the Shoham Project to build relations with a Reform Jewish community in central Israel. Rabbi Tzfaniah spoke, along with a leader in the Muslim community (via video), about their interfaith experiences. They discussed Torah and Quran. Attendees held in-depth conversations about the two religions.

Religious Programming with a Twist
Congregation Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood
Congregation Schaarai Zedek
Tampa, FL

Women gathered at Temple for dinner and the creation of fused glass mezzuzot. After discussing the impact of posting a mezzuzah and demonstrating how to make one, participants each made mezzuzot. The unused glass was donated to the youth group, who also made mezzuzot to give Tampa Jewish Family Services.

Unity Seder
Congregation Beth Or Sisterhood
Congregation Beth Or
Maple Glen, PA

The Sisterhood hosted a Unity Seder which brought together women from many different faiths to celebrate our freedom with a special Haggadah incorporating Social Justice readings.

Warriors Rising
Women of Temple B’nai Israel
Temple B’nai Israel
Clearwater, FL

In this inaugural speaking series, WTBI hosted best-selling author, inspirational speaker and courageous truth-teller Glennon Doyle to a sellout crowd of 800 people. This interfaith event was designed to celebrate sisterhood and strengthen community in a time where divisiveness in the country is at an all-time high.

Women’s Community Seder
Women of Reform Judaism Temple Kol Ami Emanu-el
Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El
Plantation, FL

This seder focused on the theme of climate change, a threat to the Earth and all the living things G-d created. Their specially compiled Haggadah raises awareness of climate change and how women can preserve our planet for future generations. The Haggadah can be incorporated in seders around the world.

Women’s Interfaith Tea: A Celebration of Women in our Community
Main Line Reform Temple Sisterhood
Main Line Reform Temple Beth Elohim
Wynnewood, PA

Main Line Reform Temple Sisterhood invited women from their temple and from neighboring churches and mosques to join us for storytelling and tea. Poet, Vernyce Dannells, talked about women who were meaningful in her life. After she spoke they all shared personal stories with each other, reaching out with warmth and friendship.

Jubilee Award Winner

50th Anniversary Food-a-Rama
Temple Beth El Sisterhood
Temple Beth El
Madison, WI

Temple Beth El Sisterhood celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Food-a-Rama on November 8, 2016, Election Day, with the Madison Community. It Included a Deli Lunch Line, Delivery, Carryout, Bakery Shop and Deli Shop with homemade food for sale in celebration of our democratic voting process as Temple Beth El was originally a polling place. The entire Sisterhood, Clergy, Staff, and Congregation supported this historic fundraising event.

Honorable Mentions

Area Day: Advocacy
WRJ Atlantic District

Bags for Hope: A District Social Action Project
WRJ Pacific District

Sisterhood of Temple Beth-El
Temple Beth El
Providence, RI

Brave Girl Truth Card Exchange Project
WRJ Northeast District

Chai Tea
Dallas Area Sisterhoods
Dallas, TX

Fighting Breast Cancer with Community and Peer Support
Women of Emanu-El
Congregation Emanu-el B’ne Jeshurun
Milwaukee, WI

Fighting Sex Trafficking: A Jewish Response
Sisterhood Temple Beth Israel
Temple Beth Israel
Skokie, IL

Food for the Soul: Interfaith Potluck Dinner
The Sisterhood of the Community Synagogue of Port Washington
Community Synagogue of Port Washington
Port Washington, NY

Interfaith Families: Expanding our Tents
WRJ Northeast District

Interfaith: A Return to “901”
Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (BJBE) Sisterhood
Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim
Deerfield, IL

Little Sister Spa Day
Temple Shalom Sisterhood
Temple Shalom
Dallas, TX

Mindfulness and Meditation
Women of Isaiah
Temple Isaiah
Lafayette, CA

Sweat, Sip, & Snack
Sisterhood Temple Beth Israel
Temple Beth Israel
Skokie, IL

The Golden Rule: Is There Still Common Ground Today?
University Synagogue Sisterhood
University Synagogue
Los Angeles, CA

The Innocence Project
Temple Ahavat Shalom Sisterhood
Temple Ahavat Shalom
Palm Harbor, FL

The Legacy Project: Creative Commemoration
East End Temple Sisterhood
East End Temple
New York, NY

The Whys of Shabbat, A Creative Service
University Synagogue Sisterhood
University Synagogue
Los Angeles, CA

Women’s Seder
Women of Rockdale
Rockdale Temple
Cincinnati, OH

Women’s Freedom Seder
Temple Israel Sisterhood
Temple Israel
West Bloomfield, MI

Women’s Self-Defense Class
Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (BJBE) Sisterhood
Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim
Deerfield, IL

WRJ Art Day
WRJ of Temple Emanu-El Dallas
Temple Emanu-El
Dallas, TX