WRJ President

Elected in June 2024, WRJ President Karen Sim is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a member of Isaac M. Wise Temple. She is the second WRJ President to hail from both Cincinnati and Wise Temple in WRJ’s 111 year history. She has held many positions on the WRJ District and North American levels. 

My WRJ leadership journey began when the sisterhood president asked me to come to a meeting, then soon after she asked me to edit the newsletter, then shortly after that she asked me to join the Board, and then she asked me to join her in attending a WRJ/UAHC (now URJ) Biennial in Atlanta in 1999. This was a watershed moment for me:  I had never met such amazing and engaged women, bound together by purpose in community in a Jewish context. I was hooked. After Atlanta I was then asked to become Sisterhood President. I was a recipient of that famous engagement formula: “How did you get involved? And the answer is often, as it is mine, “Someone asked me!” That very special someone is still one of my closest friends.  

As sisterhood president, I introduced agendas to our board meetings.  A separate social justice portfolio was created, removing it from programming. As a result, Wise Sisterhood ended up 2 years late, garnering an Or Ami honorable mention for a still ongoing program with the Cincinnati Y’s Battered Women’s Shelter. During my tenure, we centralized the sisterhood’s financial assets and arranged for a Cincinnati investment firm to manage our money pro bono. This greatly enhanced our ability to assist the congregation, our philanthropic efforts in the Cincinnati communit,y and our support for WRJ. It was also at this time that I started to become involved with WRJ on the District level and attended WRJ North American events. I soaked up everything I could. There was so much to be learned!

I became a member of the WRJ Board of Directors in 2003. Since my first board meeting I have always felt nurtured, mentored, encouraged, and befriended by so many extraordinary women. In WRJ, I have found an amazing community of people driven by Jewish values to empower women, enjoy spiritual expression and engage in tikkun o’lam.

Since joining the WRJ Board of Directors, I have served on the WRJ Executive Committee as a Member-at-Large and was a WRJ Vice President for Sisterhoods and Districts (now Member Services), was a Vice President of Development (now Philanthropy), and most recently served as First Vice President. During my years of service on the WRJ Board I have had many responsibilities and opportunities including strategic planning, affiliate development, YES Fund grant allocations, the WRJ Centennial committee, the budget committee, alumni development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as task force leadership including individual membership development and speaker training. I have led symposiums for districts, and weekend workshops for sisterhoods throughout the United States and Canada. I also served on the Executive Committee of the WRJ Central District and now sit on the Executive Committee of the Heartland District.

In addition to my work with WRJ, I am a Union of Reform Judaism board member.  I also serve on the Board of Advisors for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Central Region.

My involvement with WRJ has significantly impacted who I am today.  My experiences and opportunities as a WRJ leader have given me the space to learn skills and hone qualities that I do not think I would have developed with the same depth had I not been on my WRJ journey. My appreciation for my Jewish faith and heritage, my involvement with and knowledge of Israel and world-wide Jewry, my commitment to the Union for Reform Judaism and HUC- JIR, my management style, my belief in committee work and the value of other’s ideas, my character and humanity are shaped by my experiences with WRJ. I have made deep friendships and have interacted with some of the most extraordinary women (and men) in the world because of my association with WRJ. I am indebted to WRJ, and I am passionate about WRJ. 

I hope I can help others find the value and benefit of WRJ. I hope I can convey the personal growth and fulfillment that is possible in association with WRJ as we work together in a warm and inclusive environment for the sake of the WRJ mission. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as WRJ President.  
To contact Karen, email her at wrjpresident@wrj.org