By Corinne Black and Jill Kamin,
Co-Presidents of Holy Blossom Temple Sisterhood.
It was five very full and memorable days of learning, sharing of ideas and experiences, prayer and fun! Eight women of Holy Blossom Temple Sisterhood were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to San Diego early in December to attend the 49th Assembly of the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ).
We attended plenaries and listened to keynote addresses such as the one by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Executive Director of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) where we learned about “audacious hospitality”. We heard from Rabbi David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR, New York. We came together for workshops such as Sisterhood Finances, Schmooze for Sisterhood Presidents, Changing Leadership Models, Social Media, Engaging Sisterhood Volunteers, How to Run an Effective Meeting, Celebrating your Sisterhood’s History and more. We have returned home with many ideas and much enthusiasm to share with our Sisterhood.
We were so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with Anna Kislanski, one of the liaisons of our Israel twin Sisterhood at Kehillat Hashachar in Even Yehudah, Israel. We are looking forward to the opportunities to form a meaningful and purposeful relationship with our twin Sisterhood Congregation.
We joined together with the other Canadian Sisterhoods for dinner, we ate with our Holy Blossom delegates to the URJ and reconnected with some long-time members and friends of HBT who joined us for dinner. We attended a URJ music festival in bars and restaurants in San Diego’s Gaslamp District and gathered together with ARZA Canada for music and more connection.
How can we convey the experience of celebrating Shabbat with 5,000 people? We prayed and learned and danced and sang! Shabbat afternoon, we kvelled as Sara Charney was installed on the WRJ Executive and Lyn Feldman and Carole Sterling were installed on the WRJ Board.
Saturday night was the culminating celebration of WRJ’s centennial year and the launch of the 75th anniversary of NFTY. Anat Hoffman was awarded the WRJ Jane Evans Social Justice Award for her fight for religious pluralism and the rights of women in Israel. Her topic was “More than One Way to be Jewish”.
Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Biennial and Assembly via satellite from snowy Jerusalem about three challenges of peace for Israel.
We returned home replenished and rejuvenated and are ready to share what we have gained with our HBT Sisterhood and our HBT Congregation.
Mark your calendars for the 50th WRJ Assembly in Orlando, Florida,
November 4-8, 2015.