One of the most important ways WRJ connects with our members/the community/the world is through the North America and District Speakers Bureaus. The Speakers Bureau is an interactive initiative that allows us to share information and learn together. Speakers may be a WRJ Board member or officer, a district president, sisterhood member, or community leader that connects with your group. It could be YOU.
This week’s Torah portion, Parashah Yitro, sets the stage for our work, reminding us that to create a just and equitable society reflective of our values, we need to share leadership, stand together, and strengthen relationships across lines of difference.
What do we do when we approach a crossroads in our lives? These moments define us. Often the path is not clear and we are unsure of what challenges or opportunities lie ahead. Anticipation, uncertainty, and excitement inhabit our consciousness. Will I make a good decision for myself and others? What would it be like if you were at the shore of the Sea of Reeds on that fateful day when the sea parted? Should we look ahead or behind?
What I love most about WRJ is the feeling that I make a difference even as an individual. My donations to the YES Fund help, the advocacy work done through the RAC makes our voices heard and the women I meet.
Parashah Bo begins with the most dramatic of God’s plagues upon the Egyptians: the infestation of locusts that destroys the life-giving crops, the shroud of darkness that covers the land, and the precise time of the death knell for all the firstborn: at midnight of the fifteenth day of the month of Nissan.
I remember reading this story over and over when I was young. I remember it, of course, as the centerpiece of our family seder, when I would ask my mother “Why didn’t they just run away when they had the chance?” My mother had no answers for me. She just sighed and said that maybe someday I would understand. She told me that sometimes people lost all hope and that they were blind to the possibilities around them. As I get older and wiser, I think I am beginning to understand.
We are inspired by the desire to make the world a better place for all, but may have difficulty determining how to proceed. This is true whether it is our first steps on an issue, or the next step in our engagement with it.. There is so much we can do to help those in need, but before we can act, we need to be educated. Thus, the WRJ Education to Action (E2A) Advocacy Committee was formed to help us in our advocacy journey.
Fear of the stranger and the consequences of this fear are a theme of Sh’mot. And we, the Women of Reform Judaism, are still fighting this fear today, advocating for policies promoting: comprehensive immigration reform including a path to legalization for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, humane treatment for all detained immigrants, including proper medical care and educational and other services for children in detention, and improving the processes for visa renewal and family reunification.
From the inception of NFTY: The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) has been helping to support Jewish life for teens in the Reform Movement. From local synagogue youth programs to regional and North American NFTY programming, WRJ’s YES Fund has helped NFTY sustain its efforts and continue to grow.