Legacy Jewish Women’s Organization Expands Membership, Leadership Eligibility Requirements

Women of Reform Judaism Now Welcomes Those Who Identify as Nonbinary, Genderfluid and on a Jewish Journey

New York, NY– Women of Reform Judaism, a 111-year-old legacy Jewish women’s empowerment organization, recently voted at its triannual legislative body meeting to amend its constitution in an effort to recognize and lift up the diversity of current and potential WRJ members and leaders.

Among the voted upon changes, WRJ adopted a new provision that explicitly states: 

WRJ is open to anyone who identifies with WRJ’s mission and values. WRJ welcomes anyone who identifies as female, nonbinary, or gender fluid. Consistent with our longstanding legacy of women’s empowerment, whenever the words “woman” or “women” appear in this constitution, we understand them to include all of these individuals. WRJ welcomes all who identify as Jewish or have a commitment to the Jewish community.

WRJ’s membership recognizes that perceptions and understanding of gender are changing. The new language is meant to reflect greater inclusivity, while honoring WRJ’s legacy as a women’s empowerment organization. 

Similarly, WRJ’s membership recognizes the landscape of liberal Judaism is changing, and there is more than one way to be Jewish.

The new provision welcomes all who are active in Reform Movement synagogues and communities and who are committed to the values of Judaism, including those who have a Jewish partner, are building Jewish homes, and/or are raising Jewish children.

Both above provisions also expand the organization’s eligibility requirements for service on its board of directors.

“These amendments reflect one of our most time-honored Jewish values: that each and every individual is created btzelem Elohim, in the image of God,” said WRJ CEO Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch. “WRJ continues to strive to be an inclusive organization and we know this requires reflection on our beliefs and practices and the evolving needs of our members and groups. This is a moment to say yes to those who wish to be a part of our community and to fully acknowledge and support those already among our leaders and members.”

The legislative body also voted to change the title of WRJ’s senior most staff person from executive director to chief executive officer, in line with the organization’s efforts to promote gender equity, among other amendments.