WRJ Pacific District Area Day!
Do You Have a Few Hours to Spare? Help Your Sisters and CBI!
Gift Shop HoursSun: 9:15 AM -12:15 PM
Thurs: 4:30-6:00 PM
Fri: 11 AM -1 PM
Buy local, very local, and support the CBI Youth with every purchase.
State of the Sisterhood June 2015 - January 2016
WRJ/BIS Proposed By laws Changes
NO PHONE ZONE pledge
On April 3, the religious high school students took the NFTY pledge to drive phone free. This pledge stems from a Women of Reform Judaism resolution to help address distracted driving by partnering with NFTY and religious schools. Beth Israel Sisterhood and CBI religious school teachers will spend some time talking about the dangers of distracted driving. The students will pledge to drive phone free. The link to the NFTY NoPhone Zone is here. Thank you to Sally Swire for leading this effort.
Here is the pledge:
I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by committing to drive as responsibly as I can.
In addition, Sisterhood provided students with a wallet sized cards to remind them of their pledge and its connection to Judaism. The card reads:
NO PHONE ZONE
I will not text while I am driving. I will not use my phone while I am driving a car. If need to use my phone, I will pull over to a secure location.
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world.
And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.
- Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a
Amy R. Goldsmith/Spear Research Library News
The Amy R. Goldsmith/Spear Research 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. Visit the new Amy R. Goldsmith/Spear Research Library page to learn about the Library's news and upcoming events including Sisterhood's Special Sundays in the library and all the library's recent book acquisitions (pdf): adult fiction and non fiction, and children's books.
Art & Accessory and Bake Sale/Chanukah Packages to College Students and Military Personnel
The Sisterhood Arts & Accessory and Bake Sales were a success! Sisterhood raised over $1200, which will be donated to CBI Religious School and youth programs. Thank you to all the women who put the sale together! Linda Blum, Debbie Geller, Sarah Epstein, Kathleen Doctor, Suzie Chisnea. Ruth Polay, Leslie Gillis, Debbie Braymer, and Shoshana Landsberg (not shown). Thank you to all the donors of art, accessories, and baked goods!
We sent 77 Chanukah boxes to college students and military personnel. The boxes included gelt, dreidls, other goodies, and a beautiful note from Rabbi Cahana. The next time you give a tribute, please consider the Sisterhood Urman Family College Communication Fund, which supports this free service.Thank you Kathleen Doctor for bringing the warmth of Chanukah to our young people.
Sisterhood Report from the WRJ Assembly/URJ Biennial - Orlando
Sisterhood President Stephanie Siegel and Board members Ellen Bick, Debbie Braymer and Lynn Gelber represented WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood at the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) Assembly, held in conjunction with the URJ Biennial. Sisterhood received a Silver Or Ami (Light of Our People) Award for our program Network: PDX and two honorable mentions for programs we did for our religious school: Miss Representation and Becoming a Bat Mitzvah.
WRJ passed resolutions to advocate for pay equity and for paid family and medical leave. An additional resolution encourages Sisterhoods to partner with congregations to educate temple youth about the dangers of distracted driving: texting or calling on cell phones and other electronic devices. We have initiated a dialogue with Ben Sandler to help our youth understand these dangers.
In addition to attending workshops led by Jewish luminaries Anat Hoffman, Anita Diamont, and others, your Sisterhood reps were energized by the WRJ and URJ commitment to tikkun olam and we are excited to work towards this goal with our clergy, our youth, and our community.
We thank the entire CBI delegation for its audacious hospitality and we thank the many supporters of Sisterhood.
3rd Annual Progressive Dinner a Success!
On September 19th, 42 guests and 10 dinner hosts enjoyed the 3rd annual Progressive Dinner. The event began at Temple with appetizers and a short havdalah service led by Cantor Cahana. Then guests drove to their assigned dinner destinations -- 5 in all. After dinner we all came back together at the Oregon Jewish Museum for dessert and the Auto - Biography exhibit.
Thank you to everyone who attended and especially the dinner hosts: Susan & Ron Katz, Shalini & David Leckner, Susan & Barney Milstein, Jill & Ed Neuwelt, and Randie & Mark Peterson. Special thanks to the committee: Ellen Bick, Linda Harrison, Gerry Jackson, Shoshanna Lansberg, and Sally Swire. Event sponsors were: Ellen Bick (Realtor), Bonnie Barg, Kathleen & Lou Doctor (Western Bikeworks), Cristina Draghicescu, Diane Lowensohn, Janet Morgan & Mel Birgé (Recumbent PDX), Bob & Joanie Rosenbaum, and Scott Schaffer (Schaffer IP Law, LLC).
Toda Rabah - Thanks!
Thanks to Leslie Geller for the amazing Rosh Hashanah sweets table and to all the bakers: Ellen Bick, Debbie Braymer, Debbie Caldwell, Rebecca Cambreleng, Geri Cullers, Ilene Davidson, Bonnie Davis, Sarah Epstein, Leslie Geller, Sela Geller, Gerry & Morrie Jackson, Terri Koontz, Sarah Krakauer, Lynn & Alan Lertzman, Karen Miller, Susan Milstein, Daureen Morris, Eve Rosenfeld, Sally Rosenfeld, Tiffany Rosenfeld, Eleanore Rubinstein, Stephanie Siegel, Laura J. Spear, Judy Stone, Joanne Treuhaft, Julia Waldinger
Thanks to Kate Royston, Lynn Gelber, and Marilyne Shamanski for planning, shopping, and preparing the food for break the fast. We served over 70 hungry congregants and the spread was spectacular!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.