Oldest Jewish Women’s Religious Organization Marks Centennial at Convention; Open to Public for First-Time in 100-Year History

New York, NY, August 19, 2013 … Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ)’s 49th Assembly & Centennial Celebration will be a time to celebrate the organization’s distinguished and renowned history as a leader and advocate in the Reform movement.

The WRJ Assembly, a biennial tradition since WRJ’s founding in 1913, will take place Dec. 11-15, 2013 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA.

The main WRJ Centennial celebration will be Saturday night when WRJ receives the URJ Eisendrath Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Reform Movement, and presents the WRJ Dr. Jane Evans: Pursuit of Justice Award (given to a woman of strength and action) to Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and Chairwoman of Women of the Wall.

“This Assembly culminates a year-long celebration of WRJ’s Centennial, which has been guided by the motto, ‘Inspired by the past, committed to the future’,” said WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla J. Feldman. “During the concurrent Assembly and Biennial conferences, we look forward to having the entire Jewish community join us to learn more about WRJ’s storied accomplishments and lay the foundation for WRJ’s next 100 years and beyond.”

The WRJ Assembly will be held concurrently with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)’s Biennial, ensuring that the more than 5,000 attendees of both conferences combined will study, worship, learn, network, and celebrate WRJ’s Centennial anniversary together.

URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs said, “We are thrilled to gather with Women of Reform Judaism to experience both the Assembly and the Biennial together and to honor a century of Reform Jewish women’s contributions to the Movement.”

Registration for the convention, which opens today, includes options for the public, WRJ-affiliated sisterhood members, rabbis, young adults, and active military for the entire conference or for specific days or events, such as Shabbat.

“We are excited that for the first time since our biennial conference began in 1913, registration will be open to any individual who wants to learn, celebrate, and worship with the Reform Jewish community,” said WRJ President Lynn Magid Lazar. “This opening of registration symbolizes WRJ’s desire to be more inclusive toward women who, regardless of congregational or sisterhood-affiliation, want to embrace a Progressive Jewish life.”

Other highlights of the 2013 WRJ Assembly will include educational workshops and learning sessions, forums, and speakers, including Ruth Calderon, Member of the Knesset; Jay Feinberg, Founder and CEO of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation; Rabbi David Ellenson, retiring President of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR); and Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS). WRJ will also install its new Board of Directors during the Assembly.

New to the Assembly this year are late-night activities in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, a Kikar Biennial (a “town square” with informal learning spaces, the WRJ Centennial exhibit, and places to socialize) and a Shabbat “lunch and learn” session with noted authors Maggie Anton, Anita Diamant, and Zoe Klein.