The 50th WRJ Assembly took place November 4-8, 2015 in Orlando, FL. Over the course of the week, 450 Jewish women from around the world gathered with 4,500 Reform Jews to learn, connect, worship, and strengthen the future of Reform Judaism.
Early arrivals were able to take advantage of WRJ's popular Speakers Development Training program on Tuesday; for the other Assembly attendees, the fun began on Wednesday with the change to meet, socialize, and network with their WRJ Districts. At the opening plenary, WRJ awarded Lilly Ledbetter the WRJ Jane Evans "Pursuit of Justice" Award and voted to pass a resolution in support of pay equity in her honor. That evening, WRJ joined URJ for the first joint plenary session and heard from The New York Times writers Nicholas Kristof and Jodi Kantor, actor Michael Douglas, URJ Vice President of Audacious Hospitality April Baskin, and CEO Danny Meyer. Many women gathered for late-night mah jongg and a meet-and-greet with global WRJ women.
On Thursday morning, attendees met to hear from consultant Rabbi David S. Wolfman and discuss the future of WRJ, eventually voting historically to open WRJ to individual members. That afternoon, attendees learned together at a number of workshops, including on public speaking, sisterhood mission statements, social justice, and the WRJ Or Ami award-winning programs. In the evening, Assembly participants joined with URJ Biennial participants for the second joint plenary and enjoyed a song session with favorites Julie Silver, Peri Smilow, Beth Schafer, and Michelle Citrin.
Friday morning WRJ hosted jointly with the Women's Rabbinic Network a joint service. Then attendees voted to pass a variety of constitutional revisions and two resolutions, in support of paid family and medical leave and against distracted driving. That afternoon was the long-time favorite YES Fund Luncheon, featuring RAC Former Director and Legal Council Rabbi David Saperstein and RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who praised WRJ as leaders in social justice within the Reform Movement.
Shabbat services on Friday night and Saturday morning were as memorable as ever, as 4,500 Reform Jews from around the world gathered to pray, chant, sing, and celebrate together. Saturday afternoon attendees enjoyed the WRJ Choir, led by Stacy Beyer, at the installation of the WRJ Board of Directors. Then attendees heard from Vice President Joe Biden, followed by a memorable havdallah service.
Sunday, the final day of the Assembly, attendees could choose from a number of activities, including a local service project, Torah study, and a shuttle to Disney world! The five-day conference was historic, and one not to forget! We wished our attendees well and encouraged them to attend the WRJ Fried Leadership Conference 2017, March 3-5 in Charleston, SC.