Goldsmith & Spear Library News
The Goldsmith & Spear Library Committee, which was created under the Sisterhood umbrella, has completed its work to modernize the library and to create a community space for congregational engagement. Under "UPCOMING EVENTS" below, you can see the Special Sundays in the library, Also, please "check out" our recent book acquisitions (pdf): adult fiction and non fiction, and children's books.
Please Join Us for an Educational Evening at the Ruth J. Spear Breast Center at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
Tuesday, October 13, 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Did you know that Ruth J. Spear was a member of Sisterhood and CBI? The Spear family's generous gift to Providence St. Vincent has supported thousands of breast cancer patients. Learn more about the Ruth J. Spear Breast Center.
Directions to the Ruth J. Spear Breast Center:
The Ruth J. Spear Breast Center is located at Providence St Vincent Medical Center, 9205 NW Barnes Road, Portland. There is free parking. The Breast Center is located in the main Hospital Building. After you enter the main Hospital Building, turn right and the Breast Center is on the right. If you have questions or need further directions, please call Stephanie Siegel at 503/504-0166. Click here for a map of the campus.
Goldsmith & Spear Library Happenings
Growing up Jewish in the Deep South
Sunday, October 18, 10 - 11 AM
Goldsmith & Spear Library
Please join us in the Goldsmith & Spear Library for this Special Sunday program. Congregants Ann and Lewis Young will give a brief presentation, share their experiences growing up in the deep south, and answer questions.
Jewish in PDX
Sunday, November 8, 10 - 11 AM
Goldsmith & Spear Library
Please join us in the Goldsmith & Spear Library for another Special Sunday program: Jewish in PDX led by congregants Lisa and David Sarasohn. Lisa is an author and a Professor Emerita at Oregon State and David is a columnist and a political pundit for The Oregonian. Natives of New York City and New Jersey, the Sarasohns have called Portland their home for over 30 years.
"Check out" our Recent Book Acquisitions (PDF)
Thanks to Sarah Epstein, Lisa Sarasohn, and Ellie McMonies Watts (daughter of CBI President Ned Duhnkrack) for coming up with these titles. All of these books were purchased with funds from the Nettie Director Library Book Endowment. See all our new titles here.
We have 3 new laptops loaded with Ancestry.com for congregant use - please come in the library on Sundays from 9:30 AM-12:30 PM (when religious school is in session), and Thursdays from 4:30 - 6:00 PM (when religious school is in session) and find your family's story!
The Sisterhood Furnishings Fund was used to purchase two tables for the Goldsmith & Spear Library. Please consider a donation to this Fund to assure Sisterhood can continue to support CBI.
Gift Shop HoursSun: 9:15 AM -12:15 PM
Thurs: 4:30-6:00 PM
Fri: 11 AM -1 PM
Please come in and shop. Gift Shop proceeds benefit our religious school.
Women of Reform Judaism Exec Director to Represent Reform Movement
In honor of the Pope's visit to New York, WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla J. Feldman will represent the Reform Movement when she speaks at the Washington D.C. Prayer Service and Civil Society Gathering. The gathering will be calling for action on climate change outside of the United Nations on Thursday, September 24. The Reform Movement wrote in their press release:
“The global mobilization is calling upon us to address the challenge of climate change and should speak to the hearts of people of faith throughout the world,” Rabbi Feldman said. “Our sacred scriptures teach that we are stewards of God's creation, commanded to care for ‘the world and all that dwell therein.’ It is therefore incumbent upon us to raise our voices before the leaders of the world to move them to action so that we might bequeath to future generations a sustainable world in which they thrive. So we join together with other people of faith in the midst of the Jewish High Holy Day season to affirm our commitment to this sacred task.”
The annual WRJ Pacific NW Area Day took place in Bellevue on July 24-25, as a leadership weekend with the added goal of helping to connect our sisterhoods.
20 women from 5 sisterhoods participated in Saturday training, hosted by the sisterhood of Temple B’nai Torah (TBT). In lieu of a president’s workshop, Phyllis Bigelson, PD President and Judie Ning, 1st VP, used the Saturday meeting to hold leadership training with the sisterhood presidents and other leaders. Phyllis opened the session with a chance for each person present to tell one thing that she liked and one thing that was challenging about being a sisterhood leader. We went on to discuss how to keep volunteers engaged and making sure that each meeting we hold has a purpose.
Approximately 35 women from 8 Pacific Northwest sisterhoods participated in a great and very collaborative area day on Sunday.
Second-term Pacific NW Area Director Toni Kennedy spearheaded this effort and made sure that all sisterhoods in the region had assigned tasks. Women from the TBT sisterhood provided the meals, led discussions during the social justice forum, opened their gift shop for us and donated 25% of proceeds to the YES fund.
Women from Kol Ami in Vancouver, Washington handled both online and on-site registration including name badges and folder preparation, with special thanks to Kol Ami Sisterhood president Deawn Herrmann. And also to Sue Meyer, who handled the online registration for all 3 area days. Deawn also organized a YES fund raffle with contributions from every participating sisterhood. DeHirsch Sinai’s sisterhood president Doreen Butterklee led Havdalah on Saturday and Temple Sholom’s Reesa Devlin led the area day closing circle.
The “traditional” parts of area day included a welcome by TBT Sisterhood President Carol Schuster, who helped in so many ways, a President’s Report by Pacific District President Phyllis Bigelson, and a convention poll and preview by Pacific District 1st Vice President Judie Ning regarding the 2016 Pacific District convention to be held in Las Vegas.
Sunday began with an icebreaker led by Temple Beth El in Tacoma. During this bonding exercise we learned that most women had joined sisterhood to meet new women.
Peggy Martin, Area VP, led an Equity and Access Forum for the social justice component. of this area day together with three women from TBT Sisterhood. Our discussion focused on four topics: pay equity for women, gender sensitivity issues for LGBTQ youth, equal access to quality education, and recognizing and addressing inequities caused by privilege.
After a motzi led by a member of Beth Am Seattle’s sisterhood, we ate a buffet lunch, listened to a YES Fund presentation by Immediate Past President Ellen Bick, and watched the Yes Fund video. Pacific Northwest’s per person donations were very impressive. Altogether over $1150 was raised for the YES Fund including proceeds from the raffle. The district scholarship fund benefited from sales of new district T-shirts and pins; our district Mitzvah project collected over $700 in gift cards for Temple Beth Sholom for reconstructing their fire damaged kitchen, and meal-time donations to Mazon during a Tish B’Av observance led by Judie Ning raised an additional $55.
In the afternoon, participants were divided into three groups according to a number written on each folder. We rotated round-robin style with discussions on membership led by Ellen, on programming led by Judie, and on cultivating new leaders led by Phyllis.
Evaluations show that the weekend and this collaborative approach were extremely well received. Thank you to the Beth Israel attendees: Shawna Adams, Becky Cambreleng, and Ellen Bick. We are stronger together!
WRJ Awards $350,000+ in YES Fund Grants
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), through its Youth, Education, & Special Projects Fund, has given $370,200 in grants to 19 programs that will strengthen the Reform Movement and provide the tools necessary for religious, social, and educational growth in North America, in Israel, and around the world.
These grants to Reform Jewish institutions worldwide will help train future leaders of Reform Judaism by providing scholarships for youth programs around the world, including for girls to attend a science and technology summer camp, and funding the training of Jewish professionals in Reform seminaries and other special programs. Capital projects include renovating the Leo Baeck College Library in London and building a new housing unit at a Reform kibbutz in Israel for a residential environmental education program, while social justice initiatives include advocating for issues in the U.S. and Israel through organizations in D.C. and Jerusalem.
While the YES Fund was formally established in 1955, the tzedakah roots of WRJ date back to its founding in 1913 when it began sponsoring rabbinic scholarships. Since then, the YES Fund has raised millions of dollars through campaigns and product sales for numerous projects including: building the dormitory at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati and the former Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) headquarters in New York City, establishing the Jewish Braille Institute (now JBI International), founding NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), and helping to create the first URJ camp.
Click here for a list of organizations and programs to whom the 2015 WRJ YES Fund grants were awarded.
WRJ/BIS Revised Bylaws Approved December 2014
Read the D'Var Torah, by Sisterhood Co-president Stephanie Siegel, given at February's Sisterhood Shabbat.
Sisterhood Support of CBI Youth
Sisterhood donated $5000 to religious school and preschool, and $500 to Camp Kalsman. These donations were made from Gift Shop sales and fundraising efforts. Sisterhood Co-President Stephanie Siegel presented this check at the Mitzvah Day opening assembly. See the 2014-2015 Sisterhood Report Card here.
Special Seder a Success!
Terri Warren planned a wonderful evening. Cantor Cahana led a beautiful service with singing and storytelling..The guests, clients of Jewish Family & Child Services, were very excited to get their gift bags! Thank you Terri Warren for all your efforts - we are honored by your commitment to Sisterhood and CBI beneath and outside the dome. The drivers were Debbie and David Braymer, Daureen Morris, Cristina and Mircea Draghicescu and Stephanie Siegel. Alan and Lynn Lertzman and Eve Rosenfeld were also essential to the evening.
Needed: Goose Hollow Shelter Volunteers
Goose Hollow Shelter Most of us don't worry about having a safe place to sleep and providing satisfying, healthy meals for our children. Unfortunately that is not the case for some Portland families. There are many who need the services provided by the Goose Hollow Family Shelter, a winter family emergency shelter located at First United Methodist Church.
You can help by joining the group of Congregation Beth Israel members, their families, and friends who volunteer at the shelter. Three to four people form a team, pick one night each month from November through April (for example, the second Tuesday of each month), and coordinate with their team members to cook a nutritious meal at home and bring it to the shelter. Children and parents, volunteers, and staff join each other for the meal.
WRJ Pacific District Convention Report
Four of our Sisterhood members attended the District Convention in Pasadena October 24-26: Ellen Bick, Linda Harrison, Kate Royston, and Debbie Braymer. These women has been very active in our local Sisterhood and in supporting the District as well. This was the 52nd District convention and was attended by about 175 women, from all over the District, including 8 states and Canada, and 49 of our 58 sisterhoods. The Convention had excellent speakers: Rosalie Eisen from PJ Library, Dr. David Barzalai of ARZA talked about Israel, Leslie Friedman of the Jewish Braille Institute (JBI), and Rachel Katz, presented about her involvement in NFTY, the high school youth group. WRJ was the founder of NFTY as well as JBI. Our scholar in residence was Dr. Madelyn Katz (Rachel's mother) and Associate Dean of Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. She spoke about how we can be better leaders: Notice instead of just looking. Leadership is values in action. Our delegates to Convention were also active in leading workshops: Ellen gave a workshop for sisterhood presidents and also one called Talk to the Experts. Linda gave a workshop modeled on our sisterhood's relationship with synagogue: "Creating Programming Partnerships with your Synagogue." Kate gave two workshops: "Taking the Mystery out of Winning Kavod & Or Ami Awards" and also "Making Technology Work for You." Debbie was able to truly enjoy the Convention, as she was the past Local Arrangements Chair for the Portland Convention. Our Sisterhood also won another District Kavod award, for our project on Child Trafficking. In addition to wonderful, informative workshops and speakers, we made new friends and enjoyed Shabbat services and Havdalah, with the support of 11 rabbis and cantors being involved in various aspects during the weekend. Saturday night featured celebrated singer, Julie Silver, who was fabulous. Ellen Bick was honored as the outgoing District President, and was presented with a special president's pin and gift. Talk to one of these women who attended to learn more, and you can go to the District website: www.wrjpacific.org.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Ellen Lairson from the Providence Breast Clinic spoke to Sisterhood and CBI members about breast cancer awareness, the BRCA gene, and the Ashkenazi Jewish increased risk of breast cancer, due to the prevalence of the BRCA gene in the Jewish population.
Next Generation (NG) Sisterhood
Are you in your 20's or 30's or do you know a woman in her 20's or 30's who wants to learn more about Beth Israel Sisterhood, but isn't sure if it is right for her?
The Many Faces of Dementia
Listen to the program. Click on the audio recording featured at top right of the page.
Thanks to all who attended our April 6th forum discussing “The Many Faces of Dementia.”Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Symptoms can also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. Dementia develops when the parts of the brain that are involved with learning, memory, decision-making, and language are affected by one or more of a variety of infections or diseases. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, but there are as many as 50 other known causes.
Our guest speakers were David Douglas, MD, an expert on dementia with board certifications in psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry, who has worked in the field for the last 20 years; and Shelly Edwards, Outreach and Program Director, Oregon Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association®. We were also joined by Cantor Ida Rae Cahana.
On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sibelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Conestoga Wood Specialties, Corp. v. Sebelius, two cases that grapple with important questions of religious liberty and reproductive rights and women's health.
Later that day, Women of Reform Judaism Executive Director Rabbi Marla J. Feldman joined President of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, CEO of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Steve Fox and Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Rabbi David Saperstein in a statement regarding oral argument. Read the Statement here.
Gift Shop Committee
New Way to Give: Pay Online for Dues and Donations
Now you can pay your sisterhood dues or make a donation to any of the sisterhood funds online on the CBI website! It's easy. Click here. After you fill in your name and contact information, look down to "Choose a fund. " This has a drop down menu with lots of choices. Look at the lower portion of the drop down list for the sisterhood funds. Right below the funds list is "WRJ Beth Israel Sisterhood Annual Dues Contribution." It is as easy as choosing the fund or dues and indicating how much you wish to contribute.
Our dues are:
- $18 child/student (Ruth)
- $36 (Sarah)
- $54 (Rachel)
- $72 (Deborah)
- $108 (Miriam)
Our funds are:
- Bikkur Holim - Hope in Life
- Prayer Book ($36 each)
- Service to the Blind
- Sisterhood Furnishings
- Sisterhood Programming, Leadership, & Enrichment
Thanks for supporting your sisterhood.
BIS Honored with Gold Or Ami Award
WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood has been honored with the distinguished Gold WRJ Or Ami "Light of My People" Award for social justice programmatic achievement during 2011-13 for our program on child trafficking in the Portland area. US Representative Suzanne Bonamici and Deputy Keith Bickford of OATH (Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans) were featured speakers at the March 2, 2013 program, which also included a moving performance by the Agnieszka Laska Dancers. The awardees were recognized during WRJ's 49th Assembly & Centennial Celebration, Dec. 11-15, 2013 in San Diego, CA. This is the third Or Ami Award our sisterhood has won over the past three assemblies.
Portland has been identified as an area where child sex trafficking is particularly rampant. Members of the BIS Advocacy and Social Action Committee wanted to learn about the scope of the problem, identify who was at risk, who was working to eradicate the problem, and what could be done to help. The result was a well-structured forum in which to share findings and spur the community to action. Attendees had an opportunity to speak with the experts one-on-one following the formal presentation. Daphna Stadig, chair of the committee, was instrumental in planning and organizing the program, which was free and open to the entire Portland community.
Listen to the entire program from the audio track on the right side of this page.
"I am proud and grateful that our sisterhood was able to bring awareness and inspire action in our community," said Linda Harrison-Fintzy, Beth Israel Sisterhood President. "Receiving this award is a considerable honor and will hopefully inspire others to take action in their own communities to aid the vulnerable victims of child trafficking."
Established in 1973, the WRJ Or Ami "Light of My People" Award recognizes social justice, community service, and educational programming that is exemplary and serves as a model for other WRJ Districts and women's groups. The awards are given biennially and coincide with WRJ's Assembly. For the period of 2011-13, there were 66 applications from WRJ affiliates in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. Based on selection criteria including quality, program content, replication potential, and impact, there were six programs in each of the following categories: Gold, Silver, and Bronze (with Gold being the highest category, followed by Silver, and then Bronze).
"As we celebrate WRJ's Centennial year, we are pleased to recognize exceptional WRJ District and women's group programming with this renowned award," said Lynn Magid Lazar, WRJ President. "These programs represent WRJ's continued commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world) for the past 100 years and they will ensure that commitment will continue for the next 100 years and beyond."
Volunteer Opportunities: We need your help!
Are You the Parent of a College Student or a US-Based Member of the Military?
The Sisterhood College Communications Committee is updating our mailing list of CBI members who are current college students or US-based members of the military. We send two packages a year, usually at Chanukah and Purim, to keep in touch with our kids, let them know we're thinking of them, and to wish them well while they're away at school or the military. We send the Jewish Mother's version of a care package, with packets of soup and cocoa, dreidels and gelt, or hamentashen and groggers. We include a student directory, a note from Rabbi Cahana, and anything else we think might interest/benefit them. We also slip in a Starbucks or iTunes gift card when possible.
This is a free service made possible by funds directly budgeted by our sisterhood, member donors, and the Urman Family College Communication Fund. The next time you plan to give a tribute, please consider the Urman Family College Communication Fund.
Food for the Body and Spirit
Do you know about Sisterhood's Bikur Cholim project? Daphna Stadig leads a group of cooks in preparing food for families in our congregation in need of assistance: perhaps a family member is ill or injured or in the hospital; maybe there is a new baby; or there has been a death in the family.
Attention All Past Beth Israel Sisterhood Leaders: WHO HAS ALL THAT STUFF?
The year 2017 is the 100th anniversary of our sisterhood and for that occasion's celebrations archival material will play an important role. For that reason, as well as for the need to keep all of our sisterhood's story safe, we urge you to bring whatever materials you have - documents, artifacts, photographs, whatever - to the Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM) so they can be cataloged for preservation and easy accessibility.
Rose Rustin reports, "Michael Wood Richman and I are at OJM most Monday mornings and have come close to completing our work on the material given to OJM, but we know there are huge gaps in the sisterhood story. For example, we have found practically nothing on the Braille Project, yet we know it was at one time a significant part of Sisterhood's program."
"WHO HAS ALL THAT STUFF? Look in your closets. Bring any Sisterhood material to OJM, any week day. We'll welcome and thank you for anything you bring to us."
If you are unable to get to the OJM, please bring your materials to the CBI office and ask that it be put aside for Rose.
WRJ Centennial Moments
Social justice and advocacy are among the hallmarks of National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods/Women of Reform Judaism. Our sisterhoods annually support soup kitchens, public schools, nursing homes, community gardens, and other institutions in their local communities. They also contribute to disaster relief efforts in times of crisis and support global initiatives around the world.
Altogether, sisterhoods and women's groups contribute an average of $2500 annually to such causes or $1,250,000 collectively. That's about $85,000,000 over the course of our hundred year history for non-Reform social justice causes.
Your membership makes the difference. We are stronger together. Your dues support our religious & pre-schools and special projects here at CBI, as well as our work with those in need in our community, and provide significant support to our parent organization, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ). Sisterhood is one of the most vital organizations at Congregation Beth Israel.
We invite you to join us by becoming a member or renewing your membership.
Did you know that unless you indicate payment be applied specifically to your Sisterhood dues, all payments will go to your CBI dues and other fees first? Please support Sisterhood by paying your dues today. Dues levels are:
- $18 child/student (Ruth)
- $36 (Sarah)
- $54 (Rachel)
- $72 (Deborah)
- $108 (Miriam)
You can check the "Sisterhood Dues" box on your CBI billing or send a check, payable to Congregation Beth Israel, marked "WRJ/BIS Dues."
You can also now pay your dues online! Click here to do so. After you fill in your name and contact information, look down to "Choose a fund. " This has a drop down menu with lots of choices. Look at the lower portion of the drop down list for the sisterhood funds. Right below the funds list is "WRJ Beth Israel Sisterhood Annual Dues Contribution."
New Board Elected to Serve Two-Year Terms
The Board of Directors of the WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood is pleased to announce the election of Executive Officers and the appointment of Committee Chairs and Members-at-Large to the Board of Directors of the Sisterhood for the two-year term, July 2014 - June 2016.
Congratulations and thanks to all of the women who serve our sisterhood, our synagogue, and our community. Click here to view the entire WRJ/BIS Board of Officers, Chairs and Members-at-Large.