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Amendments to the Sisterhood bylaws have been proposed and will be voted on in an upcoming Sisterhood meeting. Click here to view proposed amendments.

 

EVENTS | NEWS | JOIN

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Please Help: Party for Meals on Wheels

December 4, 10:30 am

Sisterhood members, please come help Terri Warren with a holiday party for seniors at Meals on Wheels on December 4th. Volunteers should arrive at 10:30 am and we will be finished by 1:00 pm. The address is 1820 NW Irving Street, Portland OR 97209. If you have questions, please contact Terri at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Sisterhood Gift Shop & Jewelry Sale

Sunday, December 7, 10:00 AM-noon
Blumauer Auditorium

Come do your Chanukah shopping at the Beth Israel Sisterhood Gift Shop & Gently Used Jewelry Sale! The jewelry sale will be in Blumauer Auditorium on December 7, and continue in the gift shop on December 14. The gift shop will have 25% off all non-Chanukah merchandise, except books and candles. If you would like to donate jewelry, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Join Next Generation (NG) Sisterhood for the event of the holiday season!

Saturday, December 13, 6pm
At the home of Randie Peterson -
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NG Sisterhood is hosting a 21+ Hanukkah Iron Chef Party that will feature prizes and a chance to show off your cooking (or drink mixing) skills. This is a +1 event so feel free to bring your SO!

Please bring a dish to enter into one (or more!) of the following categories: Appetizer, Side Dish, Latke, Entree, Dessert, or Drink.

Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Gift Shop Happenings

Fall hours:
Sundays, 9:15 AM-12:15 PM
Wednesdays, 6-8pm
2nd & 4th Fridays, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

Volunteer: We always need volunteers in the Gift Shop. Please contact Debbie Braymer, Gift Shop Volunteer Coordinator, at (503) 649-8043 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Remember, proceeds from the gift shop help fund religious school activities.

 

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NEWS

WRJ Pacific District Convention Report

Four of our Sisterhood members attended the recent 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.

Sisterhood Convention

 

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.

Information about these issues can be found at the National Cancer Institute and the Komen Foundation. A copy of Ellen's presentation is available here.

 

Next Generation (NG) Sisterhood

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?

Join us at Next Generation Sisterhood as we find our place in sisterhood together! The goal of NG Sisterhood is to give women a place to feel comfortable and build a strong network within the Portland Jewish community. We will be hosting some fun events that are open to all! Join our Facebook page "NG Sisterhood" or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Rosh Hashanah Sweets Table & Break-the-Fast 5775

Every year it is Sisterhood's pleasure to present a display of sweets for our congregants to enjoy following Rosh Hashanah services and to serve noshes for congregants to break the fast. This year, as CBI executive director Sydney Baer said, "The sweets were extraordinary; both beautiful and delicious and lovingly trayed! Everyone really outdid themselves." Toda raba to Leslie Geller for organizing the sweets project. She had plenty of help with baking and preparing the trays.

Kate Royston was in charge of the Break-the-Fast, and did a wonderful job. It is so nice to have a nosh following the conclusion of Yom Kippur services. Toda raba to you, Kate with help from Lynne Bartenstein and Debbie and David Braymer. We want to thank Leslie and Kate, and all who helped, baking, tray preparation, and those who donated funds for these projects. You are all a blessing!

Sisterhood-RH-sweets

Many thanks to our cookie trayers shown above and bakers and contributors listed below:

Lynn Tobias, Stephanie Siegel, Terri Warren, Daphna Stadig, Ellen Bick, Eve Rosenfeld, Sally Rosenfeld, Jaime Kean, Cristina Draghicescu, Geri Cullers, Sarah Krakauer, Eleanore Rubinstein, Gerry & Morrie Jackson, Kathleen Doctor, Linda Harrison, Diane Lowensohn, Leah Letts, Sally Swire, Daureen Morris, Debbie Braymer, Susan Milstein, Dorota Sinclair, Ned Duhnkrack, Lynda Robbins, Bonnie Davis, Keren Hoover, Janice Slonecker, Rebecca Cambreleng, Connie Cambreleng, Michael Richman, Cantor Judith Schiff, Joanne Treuhaft, Tiffany Rosenfeld, Julia Waldinger, Deborah Kaplan, Debbie Caldwell, Sarah Epstein, Lois Urman, Lynn Lertzmann, Joanie Rosenbaum, Sydney Baer, Gayle Wolff, and Leslie Geller.

 

Sisterhood Members Enjoy Summer Hike

Nine outdoorsy sisters ascended the Mirror Lake Trail on Mt Hood for a 4+ miles round trip hike. After the hike, the group returned to Cristina's house for lunch on the deck, beside a bubbling creek.

 Sisterhood-hike

 

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.

Click here to listen to a beautiful blessing for caregivers, sung by Cantor Cahana.

 

Advocacy Update

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.  

LEARN MORE

 

Gift Shop Committee

If you are interested in joining with others to figure out the future direction of our Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop, please let us know. We are in the process of rethinking the shop and want your input. Just This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , with the heading "Gift Shop." Your participation is important.

 

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

Sisterhood-Or-Ami-award-BiennialWRJ/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."

 

volunteerVolunteer Opportunities: We need your help!

We always need volunteers for our gift shop. We'll train you. It's not a full-time commitment. Try a shift a month. If you are willing to volunteer or want more information, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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.

 

Bikur Cholim

Food for the Body and Spirit

bikur-cholimDo 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.

Whatever the reason, if you need help, please contact a member of our clergy in the CBI office (503-222-1069) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We will be ready with food to feed the body and spirit.

 

 

Attention All Past Beth Israel Sisterhood Leaders: WHO HAS ALL THAT STUFF?

early sisterhood

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.

 

 

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Join Sisterhood!

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.

You can download a membership form here.

Dues

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."

If you have any questions about dues, please contact Sisterhood Treasurer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 503-520-0759.

 

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.

Executive Officers
Co-President: Linda Harrison
Co-President: Stephanie Siegel
Recording Secretary: Michael Richman
Corresponding Secretary: Diane Lowensohn
Treasurer: Bianca Urdes
Parliamentarian: Leah Letts
Immediate Past President: Kate Royston

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.

Watch Sisterhood in Action

Listen to our program on Many Faces of Dementia

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Listen to our program on Child Trafficking

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Sisterhood Membership

All Ages, All Stages - All That's Missing is YOU!

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Women of Reform Judaism/Beth Israel Sisterhood is a group of dynamic women at all ages and stages of life that come together for fun and friendship, spiritual growth and learning, and service and support of our synagogue and community. All that's missing is you!

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.

You can download a membership form here.

Connect with WRJ/BIS

Sisterhood Mission

Mission: To bring women together to support and benefit Congregation Beth Israel and the community by providing opportunities for friendship, service, spiritual growth and learning.

Winner of 2009 & 2011
Or Ami "Light of My People" Awards
from WRJ for excellence in programming

Sisterhood Contacts

Co-Presidents 
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Recording Secretary
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Corresponding Secretary
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Treasurer
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Parliamentarian
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Immediate Past President
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Advocacy & Social Action
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College Outreach
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Fundraising
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Marketing & Communications
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Membership 
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Programming
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Religious Programming
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Goose Hollow Shelter Liaison
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Education and Youth Committee Liaison
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Shabbat Candle Lighting Coordinator
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All other inquiries 
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