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Or Ami Awards

The Or Ami "Light Of My People" Awards for Special Achievement

The Women of Reform Judaism Or Ami "Light of My People" Awards for Special Achievement, recognized at each Assembly, honor sisterhoods and districts undertaking distinctive and significant social justice programs, community service, or educational projects. WRJ is proud of the achievements of the many sisterhoods and districts that submit applications for the Or Ami Awards.

The sisterhood and district leaders working on programs and projects throughout the world fulfill the WRJ resolutions to respond to Jewish and humanitarian domestic and global needs. The attached Or Ami “Light of My People” Award for Special Achievement publications can be useful as resources for program and community service ideas which can be replicated, adapted, or taken in new directions.

Congratulations to all of this year's winners!

Gold Or Ami Award Winners

Be The Match – National Bone Marrow Registry
Temple Chai Sisterhood, Long Grove, IL, www.templechai.org/programs/sisterhood
Project Chair: Lisa Hartman
After learning that a bone marrow match can save a life, a match is more likely to come from a donor with similar genetic ancestry, and matches are desperately needed in the Jewish community, this sisterhood  held a bone marrow drive along with the organization Be The Match  to find a match for a local Jewish girl in need of a transplant. The drive registered 150 people.

Child Trafficking in Portland
Beth Israel Sisterhood, Portland, OR, www.bethisrael-pdx.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Daphna Stadig 
The city of Portland is a place where child sex trafficking is particularly rampant. Members organized a public forum to learn about the problem and its scope, identify who is at risk, and find out what can be done to help. Speakers included Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and representatives from organizations that combat trafficking and aid its victims. 

Judaica for Joplin
WRJ Midwest District, www.wrjmidwest.org
Project Chair: Julia Ziev
In response to the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado, this District (which does not include Joplin) asked its members to supply four Joplin Jewish families with needed Judaica items including: Shabbat candlesticks, challah covers, mezuzot, kiddush cups, seder plates, chanukiyot, and candles for Shabbat and Chanukah. 

S.O.S. – Supporting Our Sisterhoods
Gates of Prayer Sisterhood, Metairie, LA, www.gatesofprayer.org/groups/wrj
Project Chair: Lisa Dayan 
During the Passover season, members baked special Passover foods that were sold to the community to raise funds. All funds raised were used to provide financial support to a WRJ women’s group that might not be able to maintain its WRJ affiliation for economic reasons and so that they can attend a WRJ conference to sustain a meaningful connection with WRJ.  

Tikun Olam Gogos
Sisterhood of Temple Sholom, Vancouver, BC, Canada, www.templesholom.ca/programs/sisterhood
Project Chair: Marie Henry
This group, sponsored by the sisterhood, is one of nearly 30 groups in the British Columbia-Greater Vancouver Gogos Group, which helps African grandmothers, or “gogos,” care for their grandchildren who have been orphaned by AIDS.  The women create and sell tote bags to help support the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which fights the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

Twinning B’Yachad/Together: Making it Work, The Nahariya – Tucson Connection 
WRJ Kehillat Emet VeShalom, Nahariya, Israel, www.kbyonline.org/emet_vshalom/index.html
Women of Reform Judaism of Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ, www.templeemanueltucson.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Sharon Mann (Nahariya); Judy Lefton and Anne Friedman (Tucson) 
Since connecting in 2011, these “twin” WRJ women’s groups have inspired each other by coordinating joint religious, social justice, and educational programs. Both groups have learned about their counterparts, strengthened bonds between Jewish women in the diaspora and Israel, and bolstered their own Jewish identities through projects like a joint Shabbat Shira service.

Silver Or Ami Award Winners

Interfaith Event
B’rith Kodesh Sisterhood, Rochester, NY, www.tbk.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Sandra W. Arnold 
Each year since 1961, the sisterhood has held this interfaith program, which changes yearly to offer members a variety of speakers, including authors, college/university presidents, and clergy of different Abrahamic faiths. Attendees from synagogues and churches of different denominations hear lectures, participate in informal discussions, pray together, and enjoy lunch.

Jacksonville Jewish Historical Tour
Congregation Ahavath Chesed Sisterhood, Jacksonville, FL, www.thetemplejacksonville.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Susan Board 
To acknowledge the temple’s historic role in Jacksonville, the sisterhood conducted a bus tour of local historic Jewish sites. Local Jewish historians, archivists, and founding families served as guides for sites including Jewish cemeteries, former synagogues, and areas of immigrant settlement, and highlighted the need to preserve these important sites.

Sister to Sister – A Virtual Connection
Women’s Group of Kehillat Mevakshei Derech, Jerusalem, Israel, www.mevakshei.org/eng
Temple Beth David Sisterhood, Commack, NY, www.tbdcommack.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Pnina Caplan (Israel); Debbie Friedman and Glenda Kersh (Commack) 
In an effort to foster better understanding of the lives and cultures of WRJ women in both the U.S. and Israel, these two WRJ groups have developed a successful twinning program that has spanned several years. They connect by Skype with their sisters across the ocean through song, prayer, discussion, and nosh, and have held joint programs to celebrate holidays.

Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Social Security and the Life of Frances Perkins 
Temple Concord Sisterhood, Binghamton, NY, www.templeconcord.com/index.php/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Judy Osburn
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Social Security, the sisterhood used music, art, and performance to highlight the accomplishments of Frances Perkins, the first female Secretary of Labor, whose career began at the same time WRJ (then NFTS) was founded. The program illustrated how Perkins’ political and professional goals aligned with WRJ’s.

Weekend Angels
Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood, Arlington, TX, www.bethshalom.org
Project Chair: Iris Jeffreys 
Many children in this community depend on the free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch program provided by the school system, but go hungry on weekends. In conjunction with the Weekend Angels Organization, the sisterhood (along with NFTY members and other youth) collects healthy food to give to children over the weekend.

WRJ Pacific District Banner Project
WRJ Pacific District, www.wrjpacific.org
Project Chair: Sheri Wolpe Langer 
In order to symbolize their common bonds and strengthen their connections to each other, this District’s 57 women’s groups each created a representation of their group on a piece of fabric. The pieces were then unified into a banner displayed at the 2012 District convention and will be used at future District events as a visual representation of the WRJ tagline: “Stronger Together.”

Bronze Or Ami Award Winners

Adopt a Food Pantry
Main Line Reform Temple Sisterhood, Wynnewood, PA, www.mlrt.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Sue Ellen Laken 
After learning that they are near the second hungriest and poorest Congressional district in the U.S., this sisterhood chose to fund and volunteer at the Calvary Baptist Church (CBC)’s annual Christmas and Easter lunches, serving hot meals to those in need. This has evolved into congregation-wide involvement and joint service projects.

Aromas from Grandmother’s Kitchen
University Synagogue Sisterhood, Los Angeles, CA, www.unisyn.org/our_community/sisterhood.htm
Project Chair: Marilyn Weitz
This sisterhood, together with the women of I-CERV (Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering), held a potluck luncheon to celebrate diversity, foster interpersonal relationships, and highlight similarities between Jewish and Muslim cultures through cooking, food, and music. The program success inspired the communities’ men to get involved.

Create a Bag – Save a Tree: Tu B’Shevat Project
Emanuel Congregation WRJ, Chicago, IL, www.emanuelcong.org/wrj
Project Chair: Sandra K. Fernbach 
To celebrate Tu B'shevat and enhance the visibility of sisterhood in their congregation, members created a program to honor and save trees. All religious school children were invited to a free "make a bag" workshop, where a public school art teacher helped them decorate a reusable muslin grocery bag for them and their families to use. 

Feeding the Hungry
Temple Beth Emeth Sisterhood, Ann Arbor, MI, www.templebethemeth.org/section/sisterhood
Project Chair: Nancy Szabo 
Inspired by her experience volunteering in Ghana, a sisterhood leader was eager to instill in the congregation’s youth a sense of responsibility to help the hungry. This sisterhood, along with the social action committee and religious school, has an ongoing program to collect food and provide tours to help the Back Door Food Pantry, which shares a property with their congregation and feeds the hungry in their community.

Joint Mitzvah Event “Baby Shower”
Women of Shir Ami, Newtown, PA, www.shiraminow.org/html/women_of_shir_ami.html
Project Chair: Hope Vitcov 
During this simultaneous mitzvah event between this group and their “twinned” women's group in Jerusalem, Kehillat Mevakshei Derech, sisterhood members were educated by a speaker from “A Women's Place,” a community organization that offers services to victims of domestic abuse and violence, and held a “baby shower” to collect items for a women's and children’s shelter.

Matan Chaim/Gift of Life Day
Temple Beth El Sisterhood, Knoxville, TN, www.tbeknox.org/index.php/community/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Kathy Young and Karen Smith 
This program involved partnering with organ donor organizations in the Knoxville area and educating the Jewish community about donor services and the Jewish perspective on organ donations. During the event, members were able to donate blood, learn about organ donation, and participate in other health and safety activities. 

Honorable Mentions

A Walk to Beautiful: The Hidden Epidemic
Am Shalom Sisterhood, Barrie, ON, Canada, www.amshalom.ca/sisterhood
Project Chair: Sandra Silverman 
Sisterhoods from the Jewish and Muslim communities came together to learn from medical professionals about the problem of fistulas in Africa and the need for birthing kits and fistula repair, to collect donations for the cause, and to create birthing kits for those in need.

A Woman’s Seder
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN, www.ihcindy.org/who_we_are/temple_sisterhood
Project Chair: Sonja Kantor 
Women gathered to create and conduct their own seder with a specifically feminine point of view. The women, led by female clergy, enjoyed an evening of collaboration and community as they celebrated Passover together and collected donations for local charities.

ARZA Rosh Chodesh
Congregation Kol Tikvah Sisterhood, Parkland, FL, www.koltikvah.net/sisterhood.htm
Project Chairs: Randi Pollack and Irina Hecht 
This joint program between the ARZA committee and sisterhood celebrated Rosh Chodesh, Israel, and important women in Israeli history. The women prayed together and taught one another about significant women in Israeli history. The event featured Israeli songs, dance, and food and drinks to celebrate the theme.

Beth Am Women Creative Salon
Beth Am Women, Los Altos Hills, CA, www.betham.org/women
Project Chair: Barbara Windham 
At Beth Am Women’s inaugural Creative Salon, attendees chose from over a dozen hands-on workshops ranging from poetry, art, and drama to fashion, jewelry making, and natural inspiration projects. The workshops were designed to inspire, foster personal expression, and allow women to make new friends as they relaxed and learned at a local nature center.

Beth Am Women’s Skype Kickoff Speaker
Beth Am Women, Los Altos Hills, CA, www.betham.org/women
Project Chair: Barbara Windham 
To kick off the year, the group invited the humorous and insightful gynecologist Dr. Sondra Altman to teach the women about staying healthy and sexy. Ill and unable to travel, Dr. Altman provided a “virtual presentation” using a Skype video conference from her home to the congregation’s social hall.  

Beth El Temple Center Health and Wellness Fair
Beth El Temple Center Sisterhood, Belmont, MA, www.betheltemplecenter.org/community-menu/sisterhood
Project Chair: Paulette Black
This community event provided information, raised awareness, and addressed health and wellness issues on a variety of topics such as the latest medical research, pediatric health, mental health, elder care, and more. The program included demonstrations, speakers, and experts as well as opportunities for massage, yoga, holistic treatments, and cooking demonstrations. 

BJBE ROCKS with The Not For Profit Band
Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim Sisterhood, Deerfield, IL, www.bjbe.org/pages/sisterhood
Project Chair: Carol Berger 
BJBE ROCKS with The Not for Profit Band was a multigenerational, community-building event in which sisterhood partnered in leadership and planning with the men’s club, senior youth group, and the temple’s clergy to host an evening for 300 attendees, raise funds for construction of a new, on-site religious school, and collect food for the homeless.    

Business Networking Group
Temple Israel Sisterhood, Minneapolis, MN, www.templeisrael.com/getinvolved_sisterhood.htm
Project Chair: Leslie Held 
Three times each year, sisterhood women from Temple Israel and two other area sisterhoods meet in a relaxed and professional environment to showcase their businesses while building meaningful personal and professional relationships.

BUSTed: Are You One of the 85% Wearing the Wrong Size Bra?
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN, www.ihcindy.org/who_we_are/temple_sisterhood
Project Chair: Sonja Kantor 
The sisterhood hosted this intimate affair to share stories about their many friends and family affected by breast cancer, view “before & after” bra looks, and learn from bra experts about proper fittings. They also heard from the Susan G. Komen Foundation about breast cancer statistics and new advances in research and treatment and donated to the cause.

Centennial Shabbat
Temple Beth Sholom Sisterhood, Santa Ana, CA, www.tbsoc.com/community/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Michelle Jasper-Singleton and Susan Jasper
This Centennial Shabbat service was created to honor the last 100 years of American Jewish women, illustrating their important role in societal changes including prohibition, suffrage, civil rights, and the fight for reproductive rights, as well as WRJ’s influence in these areas. All service music and readings were contemporary and written by inspirational Jewish women.

Chili Throwdown & Supper
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN, www.ihcindy.org/who_we_are/temple_sisterhood
Project Chair: Sonja Kantor 
This event’s recipe for success was a partnership between sisterhood, brotherhood, and the connections committee. It included a new member chili cooking session for sisterhood, a temple-wide chili competition and chili Shabbat supper, and a fundraiser for a local food rescue and culinary training charitable organization.

Cincinnati Chocolate Festival
Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood, Cincinnati, OH, www.wisetemple.org/?page=Sisterhood 
Project Chairs: Sarah Roberts and Deb LaFrance
This event featured chocolate tastings, celebrity chef demonstrations, live vendor competitions, contests, raffles, and children’s activities. Proceeds support the Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood, whose projects include but are not limited to: Interfaith Hospitality Network, Over-the-Rhine Soup Kitchen, Freestore Foodbank, and the YMCA battered women’s shelter.

Day Spa for the Soul
WRJ Southwest District, www.wrjsw.org
Project Chair: Nicole Villalpando 
In lieu of traditional leadership training and workshops, the District created an afternoon that would give its convention delegates a true, relaxing Shabbat experience complete with Torah study and choices of art, yoga, zumba, comedy, meditation, and prayer writing.

Day Spa for the Soul
Congregation Beth Israel Austin Sisterhood, Austin, TX, www.bethisrael.org/conglife/sisterhood
Project Chair: Shari Nichols 
Less than a week after wildfires ravaged communities around central Texas (including affecting families from this congregation), the sisterhood gathered together for a day of spirituality and healing and created care packages for the volunteers who were helping those who lost their homes in the fires.

Dayenu Monologues
Women of North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, IL, www.nsci.org/Get_Involved/Women_of_NSCI/Women_of_NSCI
Project Chair: Rachel Heyman 
This study/writing group formed to create and perform the Dayenu Monologues, a choral presentation based on the personal stories of women in the group, re-written as a “Dayenu.” The project served to spiritually and ritually refresh the sisterhood’s popular Women’s Seder and the Haggadah they had previously written together.

Facing Fears, Finding Grace: A Symposium on End-of-Life Issues
The Sisterhood of East End Temple, New York, NY, www.eastendtemple.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Linda Hetzer 
Facing Fears, Finding Grace was a day of learning about what Judaism has to say about end-of-life issues including ritual practices, spiritual matters, bereavement, and practical considerations. The sisterhood designed the event to approach these important issues in a meaningful way that both comforts and challenges.

Giving Back to Our Host City Lunch
WRJ Southwest District, www.wrjsw.org
Project Chair: Nicole Villalpando 
The District turned their convention’s Shabbat luncheon into a social action project by first learning about human trafficking and how they can get their own sisterhoods involved in prevention. They then heard from speakers from the facility and created bags filled with toiletries to give to a women’s sober living facility.

Handwritten to Halleluyah: Bringing your Volunteer Gift Shop Into the 21st Century – Credit Cards, Computers, The Cloud, and All
Sisterhood Congregation Emanu El, Redlands, CA, www.emanuelsb.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Lisa Wise-Wolk 
This program was designed to help bring the sisterhood’s gift shop into the 21st century retail environment without a major cash outlay. Using a web-based system, participants were taught to process credit and debit cards and use other procedures to improve sales experiences for customers and volunteers while increasing efficiency and bolstering their bottom line.

Havdalah Hoedown
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN, www.ihcindy.org/who_we_are/temple_sisterhood
Project Chair: Sonja Kantor
The sisterhood’s first co-ed event, this program featured a Havdalah service followed by a Chuckwagon Dinner, square dancing, and bonfire with s’mores. The group also collected school supplies to donate to a local charity. People of all ages attended the event at the URJ GUCI camp.

Healthy Women Healthy Lives
Congregation Ner Tamid Sisterhood, Henderson, NV, www.lvnertamid.org/index.php?submenu=Sisterhood&src=gendocs&ref=Sisterhood&category=Main
Project Chair: Susan Sernoe 
This collaborative effort between the sisterhood and the local Hadassah regional group provided a venue for Jewish women to improve their lives by increasing their knowledge of health and wellness. Attendees heard from vendors and speakers about current health issues, participated in active wellness sessions, and enjoyed a healthy lunch and time to socialize. 

Helen F. Thalheimer Care Committee
Temple Israel Sisterhood, Charleston, WV, www.templeisraelwv.org/sisterhood.html
Project Chairs: Lois Phillips Coleman and Caroline Ostand
The Helen F. Thalheimer Care Committee, which began in 2003, has evolved from home visits and small outings with mostly homebound congregants to an ongoing sisterhood project solely funded with donations. The committee reaches out to all who have needs with cards, gifts, food, transportation, calls, flowers, and support.  

Heritage Dinner
Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha Sisterhood, Waukesha, WI, www.waukeshatemple.org
Project Chair: Sandy Small 
The sisterhood’s second Heritage Dinner was a shared celebration of the special Jewish foods that our ancestors used to nourish Jews and keep us alive throughout the ages. While staying loyal to Jewish traditions and culture, sisterhood members organized, cooked, and baked everything for this delicious menu.    

Interfaith Trip to Holocaust Museum
Women of Temple B’nai Israel, Clearwater, FL, www.tbiclearwater.org/temple-life/affiliates/sisterhood
Project Chair: Helene Debowsky 
This joint program with the sisterhood and Women of First Presbyterian Church provided an opportunity to visit the St. Petersburg Holocaust Museum together and hear from a Holocaust survivor, in order to further community relations and build interfaith relationships between the two groups.

Knead and Nosh Challah Baking
Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim Sisterhood, Deerfield, IL, www.bjbe.org/pages/sisterhood
Project Chair: Ethel Kikoler 
Knead and Nosh Challah Baking is an intergenerational social, bonding, and Jewish experience that enables the congregants to learn to make homemade challah for their families for Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. The program also helps women discover or renew awareness of the sisterhood, a welcoming organization with programs of interest to women of all ages.

L’Dor Vador: Strengthening Yourself and Your Jewish Family
WRJ Southwest District, www.wrjsw.org
Project Chair: Nicole Villalpando 
For its convention, the District created an evening focused on the family with an opening speaker and three different workshop blocks to appeal to varying types of women: moms with younger children, women with older or 20-something children, and older women or those caring for a parent.

Lilith Salon
Beth Tikvah Sisterhood, Hoffman Estates, IL, www.beth-tikvah.org/HouseofCommunity/Sisterhood.aspx
Project Chair: Gayle Kopin 
This sisterhood’s Lilith Salon is an ongoing book club and discussion group centered on articles from Lilith magazine. A diverse group of women in their 40s through 80s meets four times per year to share camaraderie and conversation from a Jewish, feminist perspective.

Mad Hatter’s Tea
Temple Sisterhood of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN, www.ihcindy.org/who_we_are/temple_sisterhood
Project Chair: Sonja Kantor 
The annual spring membership meeting was “topped” off with a Mad Hatter's Tea featuring a hat contest, a social worker speaking on “How to Reduce the Madness in our Lives,” and Mad Hatter-themed food and décor. Collections were donated to a local charity.

MIFA COOL Kids Cooking
Temple Israel Sisterhood, Memphis, TN, www.tisisterhood.org
Project Chairs: Jane Eckstein and Linda Paddock 
With the temple’s middle- and high school-aged students, the sisterhood prepares healthy snacks for 180 at-risk Memphis City high school students in the COOL (College Offers Opportunities for Life) program of the Memphis Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). They also sponsor two parties for participants: one to meet program alumni, and a college signing party in the spring. 

Mystery Night Kick-Off
Bet Aviv Sisterhood, Columbia, MD, www.betaviv.org/programs/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Pam Skulsky and Lynn Green 
During this mystery-themed event, guests determined “Who Dun It?” to learn more about their sisters and completed a centennial collection for donation. They heard husband and wife authors Rosemary and Larry Mild speak about their mystery books and about the death of their daughter on Pam Am flight 103, which became the basis for Rosemary’s memoir. 


Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood, Ocala, FL, www.jewishocala.com/sisterhood
Project Chair: Rochelle Gerofsky 
The sisterhood adopted PACE (Practical Academic and Cultural Education), a community program for alternative education for at-risk girls from dysfunctional homes. They collected and donated 100 packages of sanitary supplies in honor of WRJ’s Centennial anniversary.

Passing the Hat Mitzvah Project
Adat Chaverim Sisterhood, Plano, TX, www.adatchaverim.org/temple-life/sisterhood
Project Chair: Sharyn Diamond 
Since this tikkun olam project was initiated in 2012, Adat Chaverim Sisterhood has helped those stricken with cancer in the Dallas area by hand-making and delivering over 200 donated hats to the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, an affiliate of Baylor Hospital in Dallas. 

Promise for Prom
Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood, Washington, D.C., www.whctemple.org/sisterhood.htm
Project Chair: Judy Protas
Through Promise for Prom, the sisterhood helps local underprivileged youth enjoy all the excitement and accomplishment of going to their high school prom in fabulous outfits collected from the congregation’s members and community. “Look good, feel great” takes on a whole new meaning in this easily replicated, low-cost project.

Rings of Advocacy Committee
Sisterhood of Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, Lancaster, PA, www.shaarai.org/sisterhood.html
Project Chair: Rhea Starr 
This sisterhood established the Rings of Advocacy committee to promote awareness and mobilize action on critical issues pertaining to the congregation and community. Their first endeavor focused on mobilizing against the budgetary cuts within their local public education system, which they felt negatively impacts school children, especially those with disabilities.

Room at the Inn
Sisterhood of Shaare Emeth, St. Louis, MO, www.shaare-emeth.org/Sisterhood
Project Chair: Barbara Feldacker 
This sisterhood, along with other local congregations and churches, participates in the Night Site Partners Program of the St. Louis County program “Room at the Inn.” Once a month, they provide temporary overnight accommodations, dinner and breakfast, personal care items, blankets, crayons and coloring books to homeless women, children, and families.

Main Line Reform Temple Sisterhood, Wynnewood, PA, www.mlrt.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Karen Gutsche and Mary Kamplain
This sisterhood holds an annual two-day rummage sale for the local community. On the second half of the second day of the sale, sisterhood volunteers host refugees from HIAS (Hebrew Immigration Aid Society) and help them select and take whatever items they need, free of charge.

Sandy Hook Comfort Blanket Program
Temple Beth El WRJ, Spring Valley, NY, www.templebethelrockland.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Helayne Pfeffer
This sisterhood made twenty-eight no-sew fleece comfort blankets for the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in order to show the Sandy Hook community how much they cared about them and to help our their temple community heal from the tragedy.

Temple Israel Alzheimer’s Project Respite Room – Good Friends Social Club
Temple Israel Sisterhood, Tallahassee, FL, www.templeisraeltlh.org/index.php/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Lesley Mendelson
This tikkun olam project provides healthy and nutritious snacks and lunches for Alzheimer's and dementia patients as wells as the volunteers who attend a weekly Wednesday caregiver respite care sessions.

The Blessings Wall
Sisterhood of Temple Sholom, Vancouver, BC, www.templesholom.ca/programs/sisterhood
Project Chair: Julia Bennett
In honor of WRJ’s 100th anniversary, the women of Temple Sholom joined with the sisterhood in the preparation and assembly of a large art project known as “The Blessings Wall.” The project represents the weekly act of blessing the Shabbat candles, and its emphasis on prayer and the act of lighting the candles provides visual evidence of the members’ commitment to sacred time.

The Red Tent
Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood, Ocala, FL, www.jewishocala.com/sisterhood
Project Chair: Rochelle Gerofsky
Sisterhood members taught each other knitting, crocheting, and embroidery while developing friendships during a monthly meeting held throughout the year. The fruits of their labor have been donated to the sisterhood and to wounded veterans.

TRADITION: Tefilah, Tikkun Olam, Transcending Terror
Women of Temple Bat Yahm, Newport Beach, CA, www.tby.org/Women_of_TBY.php
Project Chair: Sherrill Lief
This three-part educational project consisted of a “Tefilah” program that showed Women of the Wall’s “Praying In Her Own Voice” documentary and had a rabbi-led discussion. The Tikkun Olam portion was an expert-panel presentation, “Recognizing the Crisis of Bullying in Today's Society.” The third portion, about domestic violence, featured a speaker from the Hands of Ahava organization. 

Vision Screening
Ladies Concordia Society, Temple of Israel, Wilmington, NC, www.temple-of-israel.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Dawn Ferrer
Without early detection, children’s vision problems can lead to permanent vision loss and/or learning difficulties. Volunteers from the sisterhood are trained by the Prevent Blindness America organization to screen all first, third and sixth grade students each year to identify children with vision problems.

Weekend Meals on Wheels
Ladies Concordia Society, Temple of Israel, Wilmington, NC, www.temple-of-israel.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chair: Dawn Ferrer
As a partner of Weekend Meals on Wheels of New Hanover County, NC, this sisterhood ensures the provision of nutritious meals and social contact to senior and disabled homebound persons living on four routes in the county on one Sunday every month and on Christmas Day.

WHC Sisterhood Literary Group Discussion of The Free World by David Bezmozgis
Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood, Washington, D.C., www.whctemple.org/sisterhood.htm
Project Chairs: Lynne Emmer and Janice Burne
Member Marcia Weinberg, wife of Rabbi Joseph Weinberg z”l, led a discussion on the novel, which takes place in 1970s Rome where Russian Jews languished awaiting visas for emigration to the West. Marcia lent personal perspective to the discussion, having traveled to Rome with Rabbi Weinberg to help Soviet Jews.

WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) Shower
Sisterhood of Temple Beth Israel, Skokie, IL, www.tbiskokie.org/sisterhood.cfm
Project Chair: Jane Page
Attendees at the WINGS shower brought gift-wrapped useful items, from toilet paper and hygiene products to gift cards, baby items, and non-perishable food, for at-risk women and children to help them in their WINGS-provided new, safe housing. Local Girl Scouts also participated in this “shower” and the sisterhood has established an ongoing donation to WINGS.

YES Fundraiser
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Sisterhood, Charleston, SC, www.kkbe.org/index.php?page=sisterhood
Project Chair: Diana Cohen
This sisterhood partnered with a local theater company for a private performance and fundraiser for both of the groups. The play tells the story of a Jewish confederate soldier who returns after the Civil War to celebrate Passover with his newly freed slaves who have been raised as Jews. The story sparked a discussion amongst attendees about this aspect of Southern Jewish history. 

Youth Torah
Congregation Ahavath Chesed Sisterhood, Jacksonville, FL, www.thetemplejacksonville.org/community/sisterhood
Project Chairs: Heidi Ruff and Phyllis Stein-Wood
Sisterhood members facilitated the community-wide production of a “Torah” made of illustrated cloth panels depicting each Torah portion, stitched together and attached to handmade Torah rollers. Interactive discussions coincided with the production of this Torah, which is to be used at holidays and synagogue events and permanently housed in the community ark. 

Click here to review the Guidelines for the 2013 Or Ami awards, which were recognized at the WRJ 49th Assembly in San Diego, CA in December 2013.

Download the description of projects and programs that were 2011 Or Ami awardees (PDF)

Download the description of projects and programs that were 2009 Or Ami awardees (PDF).

Download the description of project and programs that were 2007 Or Ami awardees (PDF).

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