Legacy Jewish Women’s Organization Installs New President, Executive Director, North American Board

New Orleans, LA – Following the conclusion of Women of Reform Judaism’s flagship event, Fried Women’s Conference, the legacy Jewish Women’s organization elected a new president, executive committee, and board of directors.

The organization also formally installed their new executive director, Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch, who assumed the role in July 2023. The conference highlighted the core pillars of the organization including sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice, while also honoring its leaders.

Karen Sim, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was elected as president after actively volunteering with the organization for over 20 years. Sim became a member of the North American Board in 2003 and has served on the Executive Committee in three different officer positions. She has served on many committees and task forces throughout her service including strategic planning and individual membership development, and she has made personal strides to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion at WRJ. Sim also previously served on the Executive Committee of the WRJ Central District (now Heartland) Board.

In addition to her work with WRJ, Sim is a Union for Reform Judaism Board member and also serves on the Board of Overseers for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

“I am honored to add to the 111-year legacy of an organization that has taught me so much of what a true leader embodies,” said WRJ President Karen Sim. “I am excited to expand what being a member of WRJ and sisterhood means as the organization grows and help others discover their leadership potential as part of my tenure.”

As she enters her 3-year term within the position, Sim will work closely with Rabbi Hirsch. Sim, along with the other officers and board, were formally installed Saturday morning of the conference.

A Massachusetts native, Hirsch previously served as rabbi of Temple Anshe Amunim, a Reform synagogue in Pittsfield, MA. She is the founding co-chair of RAC Massachusetts, a statewide synagogue-based community organizing project of Reform Judaism. Hirsch and her family will be relocating to Cincinnati later this summer. 

Prior to her pulpit, Hirsch was the rabbi and a director at URJ Eisner Camp and worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center (RAC) in Washington, D.C. Hirsch was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York.

Since assuming the role in July 2023, Hirsch has led WRJ through the immediate and on-going response to the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7, including being one of the first in North America to speak out against reports of gender-based violence and heading a feminist solidarity mission to Israel in February. She also launched a podcast, Just For This, in which Hirsch interviews women who stand out in their fields, who have stepped up just for this moment.

“In less than a year, I have truly grown to understand the profound commitment our lay leaders have to our pillars of sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice. It is a blessing to work closely with all our leadership, in addition to the other leaders and affiliates of the Reform Movement. I am excited to continue these partnerships as I lead WRJ into the future,” said WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch. 

At the concluding plenary, Rabbi Hirsch was installed by Rabbi Andrea Weiss of HUC-JIR and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner of the RAC.

All of WRJ Officers, Executive Committee members, and new board members were also installed with Sim and Hirsch, including First Vice President Judith Wexler, Winnetka, IL; Vice President (Leadership) Andrea Gingold, New York, NY; Vice President (Member Services) Karen Goldberg, Walnut Creek, CA; Vice President (Programs) Sherri Feuer, Edina, MN; Vice President (Social Justice) Michelle Scheinkopf, Northbrook, IL; Treasurer Susan Singer, White Lake, MI; and Secretary Jane Karlin, Bronx, NY.