WRJ Or Ami Award
Winners 2020

Established in 1973, the WRJ Or Ami “Light of My People” Award recognizes exemplary social justice, community service, and educational programming that serves as a model for other WRJ Districts and sisterhoods. 


Gold Or Ami Award Winners  
 

Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp
Congregation Emanu El Houston Sisterhood
Houston, TX

Hurricane Harvey Day Camp was organized in partnership with URJ, Greene Family Camp, Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and Congregation Emanu El Houston to offer a safe place for those who needed childcare while focusing on restoring their lives or helping others in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Kits for Kids
Temple Sholom
Vancouver, BC

Kits for Kids provides backpacks to children in emergency shelters with a parent escaping abuse. The children often arrive with only the clothes they are wearing. This program provided 100 packs, each filled with new, age-appropriate clothing, toys, books, hygiene/bath and school supplies for newborns to 16-year-olds.

 

Passport to Judaism
Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood - Pacific District
San Jose, CA

Passport to Judaism is an Interfaith event to introduce non-Jews to Jewish holidays and life cycle events. Tables illustrative of holidays and other aspects of Judaism encircled the social hall during the Oneg following Friday night, Shabbat services where clergy explained the structure of the service and prayers.

 

Sisterhood Shabbat 2019: Celebrate Jewish Global Diversity
Congregation Emanu El
Redlands, CA

Sisterhood Shabbat celebrated Jewish racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity by using multimedia presentations to depict traditional and emerging Jewish communities, including those in Africa, India, and Latin America, while emphasizing women’s stories. Congregants from Congregation Emanu El participated in the diversity story with family history displays and a world map activity.
 

Sisterhood and Teenage Youth Group Tikkun Olam Project
The Community Synagogue
Port Washington, NY

The Community Synagogue Sisterhood worked with over 100 teenagers from their youth group, teaching about the mitzvah of comforting the ill. The teens made heart-shaped pillows and supportive cards for cancer patients. The pillows provide underarm cushion for patients who have had lymph nodes removed and protect chest chemo-therapy ports from seat-belts.

 

Syrian Refugee Outreach - A Taste of Syria Program 
Temple Judea
Coral Gables, FL

Women of Temple Judea organized two Taste of Syria programs, in which Syrian refugee women living in the community showcased their culinary skills, shared a meal with attendees and spoke about their plight. The program increased awareness about the refugee crisis and provided an extraordinary opportunity for meaningful dialogue.

 

Transplanting Life - Learning About Kidney Donation 
Congregation Ahavath Chesed
Jacksonville, FL

Inspired by the true kidney donation story of their own WRJ Sisterhood's Social Action Chair and her sister, a program was developed to educate the community about the importance and need of live kidney donation. Participants were encouraged to become organ donors.

 

Silver Or Ami Award Winners
 

EEG Pocket Vests for Children Being Evaluated for Epilepsy
Women of Fairmount Temple
Beachwood, OH

The Women of Fairmount Temple and some non-temple members prepared and sewed four different sizes of pocket vests for children diagnosed with Epilepsy at University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio The vest holds a small EEG box that the child must wear for the hospital stay to record the child's brainwaves.

 

Hey Baby! Sisterhood Social Action Baby Shower
Schaarai Zedek
Tampa, FL

This social action event served as an effective multi-generational and educational experience for Congregation Schaarai Zedek women and their children to come together in an authentic, hands-on community service outreach activity that provided baby items and funds to support pregnant teens and teen mothers in need.

 

Leaving a Colorful Memory
Southeast District
Marietta, GA

When stones are left at graves, it says, "I wish you were here” and “I remember you”. This program helps express loss, love, and spirituality, while promoting creativity and sisterhood bonding. This program was held at the 2019 Southeast District Area Day. Sisterhood members learned the origin of the ritual, painted stones and shared their memories of their loved ones, and gave the stones to local cemeteries for visitors to use. 

 

Our Hands Are Not Bound - Human Trafficking IS Modern-Day Slavery!
Temple Emanuel Sisterhood
Cherry Hill, NJ

Speakers were invited to inform Temple Emanuel’s community about human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery. Speakers included the congregation’s Assistant Rabbi, who spoke of the Jewish imperative to fight against slavery, the founder of Heart2Heart, an organization providing services in NJ regarding human trafficking victims, and a survivor of human trafficking.

 

Refugees and Asylum Seekers Share Their Stories of Exodus: A Women's Interfaith Gathering
Main Line Reform Temple Sisterhood
Wynnewood, PA

Main Line Reform Temple’s Spring interfaith gathering focused on social action. The Executive Director of HIAS PA spoke, and three agency clients (refugees/asylum seekers) shared their stories. Rabbi David Straus talked about the meaning of Passover, and they reflected on their own personal stories of moving from narrowness to freedom.

 

Sisterhood's Bat Mitzvah - '13 Events for 13 Years'
Sisterhood of B'nai Israel
Southbury, CT

In recognition of B’nai Israel’s Sisterhood's creation in February 2006 and their 13-year affiliation with WRJ, they developed 13 inclusive programs culminating in a Bat Mitzvah celebration. Participation in their Friday evening and Shabbat morning services represented multiple generations and their diverse community.

 

We Continue to Remember...Honoring Our Survivors
Temple Emanuel Sisterhood
Cherry Hill, NJ

This event honored Holocaust survivors from Temple Emanuel. The evening began with a 20-minute documentary film, followed by a panel discussion with four congregants, all children who escaped persecution from the Holocaust. The discussion was moderated by a sisterhood member who is a lead volunteer at the local Holocaust education center.

 

Bronze Or Ami Awards

 

Becoming MyMakom Women
MyMakom Women
Highland Park, IL

This program looks at how two congregations, with very different views regarding gender-based groups, were able to reach agreement and receive acknowledgement and approval from the merger steering committee regarding a connection for all women of the new congregation.

 

HEAL HER NOW SCARVES
Rodef Sholom
San Rafael, CA

"Heal Her Now" scarves given to female congregants with cancer, a gift from the Women of Rodef Sholom. Once plain silk fabric, now a holy "healing prayer," a new minhag (custom) of WRS. The scarf also provides Clergy another way to love/support a woman in her most vulnerable time.

 

Not Your Bubbe & Zayde's Passover - A Fresh Approach
Temple Rodef Shalom
Falls Church, VA

Bubbes and Zaydes have passed down their culinary traditions from distant lands. The WoTRS sisterhood partnered with two Temple committees to provide an evening with Havdalah service, an Obama White House guest Chef, followed by noshes, wine, and tasting a fresh approach to 70+ Passover foods from around the world.

 

Shalom Bayit: An Educational Panel on Family Violence
Temple Shalom Sisterhood
Dallas, TX

Temple Shalom Sisterhood held an Educational Panel on the topic of Family Violence. Panelists included Temple Rabbi, representatives from law enforcement, the Counseling Place and Jewish Family Service. A Temple member also movingly shared her own personal experience. Dinner was served and donations were collected for Jewish Family Service.

 

SING OUT FOR JUSTICE: A Sing-Along Creative Shabbat Celebrating the Music of Songwriters of Conscience
University Synagogue Sisterhood
Los Angeles, CA

A Sing-Along Creative Shabbat Celebrating the Music of Songwriters of Conscience is an original Shabbat evening experience created by University Synagogue Sisterhood. This program combined American 20th-century music and special readings to highlight our Jewish search for social justice and inspire members to action.

 

Sisterhood TBI Centennial Celebration
Temple Beth Israel
Skokie, IL

Sisterhood Temple Beth Israel celebrated its 100th birthday in a variety of ways to make it meaningful, not only to its members but to Temple Beth Israel as a community. Through these programs they shared their history and looked forward to the next 100 years together.

 

WRJ Midwest District Kallah 2019
WRJ Midwest District

WRJ Midwest District Kallah, 2019, was a 24-hour retreat held at OSRUI. Shabbat and Havdalah services incorporated the retreat theme, “סַבְלָנוּת Tolerance.” The guest speaker gave presentations about “Understanding Bias and Intolerance” and “Creating an Inclusive Environment.” The weekend included a mixer, Torah study, break-out sessions, and a mitzvah project.  

 

Honorable Mentions 

 

BETC Reads, A Social Justice Book Group
Beth El Temple Center Sisterhood
Belmont, MA

 

Breast Cancer Awareness - What Everyone Needs to Know
Temple Emanu-El Women of Reform Judaism
Dallas, TX

 

Choosing "The Chosen"
Sisterhood of Temple Beth El
Pensacola, FL

 

Comfort Blankets for Cancer Patients
Women of Reform Judaism Northeast District

 

Creative Service: A Celebration of Jewish Cycles of Life
University Synagogue Sisterhood
Los Angeles, CA

 

Engaging Members Through Canasta
Temple Chai
Long Grove, IL

 

Esther’s Salon
Temple Ahavat Shalom Sisterhood
Palm Harbor, FL

 

Exo Mezuzahs
Congregation Emanu El of Waukesha
Waukesha, WI

 

Finding Our Voice - Sisterhood Shabbat
Women of Temple Beth Hillel
Valley Village, CA

 

Gary Rosenthal Candlestick Project
Women of Washington Hebrew Congregation
Washington, DC

 

Havdalah-Rosh Chodesh Program
Sisterhood of Temple Beth El
Tacoma, WA

 

Interfaith Women's Circle
Women of Temple Chai
Long Grove, IL

 

Kline Galland Resident Store
Sisterhood of Temple B'nai Torah
Bellevue, WA

 

Makeovers, Manicures & Mitzvah
Women of Temple Beth Ami
Rockville, MD

 

Passover Through Art and History 
Women of B'nai B'rith
Santa Barbara, CA

 

Pink Shabbat
Sisterhood Temple Beth Israel
Skokie, IL

 

Project Empty Bowls
The Sisterhood of Temple Bat Yam of East Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, FL

 

Simchat Binah
KKBE Sisterhood
Charleston, SC

 

Sisterhood Shabbat and Installation
KKBE Sisterhood
Charleston, SC

 

Temple Beth Hillel Homeless Task Force
Women of Temple Beth Hillel
Valley Village, CA

 

Temple Beth Zion Sisterhood Intergenerational Women's Seder
Temple Beth Zion Sisterhood
Amherst, NY

 

The WECARE Project
Temple Beth-El Sisterhood
San Antonio, TX

 

TSG Sisterhood Campership Program
Temple Sinai of Glendale
Glendale, CA

 

Use Your Voice/Raise Our Voices
Congregation B'nai Israel Women of Reform Judaism/Sisterhood
Boca Raton, FL

 

Water Under Ground Fundraising and Education Event
Beth David
Westminster, CA

 

We Are Happy To Say YES - YES Fund Event
Temple Shalom Sisterhood
Dallas, TX

 

Where is the Love? An Intergenerational Women's Pre-Seder
Sisterhood at Temple Beth Am
Pinecrest, FL

 

WLC/Sisterhood Women’s Seder 
WLC/Sisterhood of Temple Israel of the City of New York
New York, NY

 

Women of NSCI Annual Shabbat Retreat: Sacred Space, Sacred Time
Women of North Shore Congregation Israel (WNSCI)
Glencoe, IL

 

Women's Seder - A Celebration of Women co-hosted by Women of WHC and Women of TBA
Women of Washington Hebrew Congregation and Women of Temple Beth Ami
Washington, DC

 

WRJ Central District Book Group
Women of Reform Judaism Central District

 

Yom HaShoah Education and Observance for Children, Families and Community
Temple Isaiah of Lexington MA Sisterhood
Lexington, MA