Oldest Jewish Women’s Religious Organization Broadens Reach, Advocates For Pay Equity and Paid Leave at Biennial Convention

New York, NY, November 10, 2015 … Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ)’s 50th Assembly united Reform/Progressive women from across North America and around the world who came together to learn best practices, make decisions about the organization’s future, worship together, and connect with other leaders within the Movement.

The WRJ’s 50th Assembly, a biennial tradition since WRJ’s founding in 1913, took place Nov. 4-8, 2015 at the Marriott’s Orlando World Center in Orlando, FL and had more than 500 women from across the U.S., Canada, Israel, Spain, Guatemala, Brazil, and Argentina.

“WRJ’s Golden Assembly was truly a one-of-a-kind experience for the WRJ Board members and alumnae, WRJ District and sisterhood leaders, and sisterhood members,” said WRJ President Blair C. Marks. “In continuing the WRJ tradition of excellent conferences, our participants were able to learn new skills and share ideas, celebrate Shabbat with worship and song, form new bonds and reconnect with old friends, and leave feeling inspired as they return to their sisterhoods and Jewish communities.”

In a landmark decision, the WRJ delegates voted to expand WRJ’s membership beyond affiliated sisterhoods to include individual women who identify with its values and objectives. Additionally, the conference focused on the WRJ Pay Equity initiative, featuring 2015 WRJ Jane Evans “Pursuit of Justice” Award recipient Lilly Ledbetter and a resolution to mobilize its sisterhoods to work toward pay equity. Delegates also passed resolutions advocating for paid family and medical leave policies and for distracted driving preventive measures.

Highlights of the WRJ Assembly included educational workshops and learning sessions, forums, and speakers, including Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, actor and inclusion activist Michael Douglas, The New York Timescolumnist Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large of International Religious Freedom and former Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) Director Rabbi David Saperstein, and current RAC Director and URJ Senior Vice President Rabbi Jonah Pesner.

As in previous years, the WRJ Assembly joined together with the concurrently held Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)’s Biennial for a Shabbat celebration of 5,000 Jews who participated in services, music, and programs.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) strengthens the voice of women worldwide and empowers them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values.