Stay tuned for upcoming events!
Find Your Ancestral Roots
Be A Mensch
Please be a mensch both beneath and outside our dome! How can you be a mensch for Sisterhood? This list gives you all the information, the websites, and the links for everything menschy. Greet, sell, shelve, lead, cook, stuff, or bake. These are among the paths to mensch-hood. You can be a mensch once a year, weekly, or when you have time. Please look at the options; sign up, send an email, and be engaged in our community. We need your help; be a mensch!
- MONITOR The doors and be welcoming helper at our religious school, ensuring the safe arrival and departure of our students. Learn more and sign up here.
- SELL Judaica in the Sisterhood Gift Shop
- GREET Members for Shabbat and High Holiday Services Sign up here.
The gift shop is closed for the summer and reopens when religious school reopens in the fall. Yahrzeit and Shabbat candles are available from the main Office at CBI. If you would like to shop over the summer, please call Bonnie Barg at 503-243-3249 for a special opening.
The Sisterhood Report Card
The Sisterhood Report Cardwas available at the Annual Meeting. Here are the numbers and the significant achievements:
- 251 Sisterhood Members
- 4 Women sent to URJ Biennial/WRJ Assembly in Orlando, FL
- $6300 Money raised by the Progressive Dinner, Arts & Accessory and Bake Sales, and Sisterhood Leadership Circle
- $8000 Gift Shop Sales
- $6800 Annual donation to Religious School, Preschool, and Camp Kalsman
- $12,800 Purchase of 500 new High Holiday Prayer Books, including large print books
- $1800 Donation to first CBI Women's Seder, to assure inclusion
- 25 Engagement opportunities for Sisterhood and for CBI members during 5776
- Given Women of Reform Judaism Or Ami Light of My People Awards for Exceptional Programming
- Reinvention of the Goldsmith & Spear Library, purchasing of furniture, new adult and children's books, and three laptops loaded with ancestry.com. Visit the new Amy R. Goldsmith/Spear Research Library page
- Creation of five Special Sundays featuring CBI member speakers on topics ranging from Being Jewish in PDX (Lisa & David Sarasohn) to The Forgotten Native American History of Portland (Tracy Price) to Growing Up Jewish in the Deep South (Ann & Lewis Young)
- Sponsorship of the Special Community Seder for over 50 members of the Portland Jewish Community, and ongoing support of Goose Hollow Family Shelter and Cedar Sinai Park
- Led Tot Shabbats to help educate young children and promote engagement of young families and gave cell phone-free driving pledge cards to Religious School high school students and staff
- Sent 80 care packages to college students and military personnel at Chanukah and at Purim
Sisterhood fed breakfast to 300 volunteers during Mitzvah Day, and led two projects: cleaning and cataloguing books in the Goldsmith & Spear Library, and cooking soup for the Caring Community. In addition, Sisterhood members created beautiful pillows for post-operative breast cancer patients at the Ruth J. Spear Breast Center. These small pillows are a great comfort to women and help during recovery. A special thanks to our seamstresses: Michael Richman and Diane Lowensohn. View the CBI Mitzvah Day photo album.
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
State of the Sisterhood June 2015 - January 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.