We hope you will enjoy this Annual Report, which provides a snapshot of all that WRJ has accomplished over the past few years and our dreams for the future. WRJ’s network of over three hundred sisterhoods and women’s groups and tens of thousands of women leaders empowers women and communities through sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice.
Within these pages, you will read about the many ways that WRJ engages women by providing enriching educational and creative programs. Through webinars, trainings, local and District gatherings, and international conferences and missions, WRJ cultivates women’s leadership, lifts up women’s voices, and strengthens our Jewish communities. And you will see how WRJ’s philanthropy through the YES (Youth, Education, Special Projects) Fund galvanizes the collective power of our network to support Reform Jewish institutions worldwide, inspire and train the next generation of leaders, and bring innovative programs to our communities.
During these challenging years of the pandemic and economic distress, WRJ has proven itself to be resilient, creative, and enduring. To ward off isolation during the COVID-19 crisis, WRJ provided critical opportunities for women to connect and build community remotely through virtual Israel missions, social and educational Zoom offerings, and a robust collection of online programs. These will continue, even as we transition back to in-person gatherings, such as our recent Civil Rights Journey to America’s South, our seven District conventions, our Israel mission, and our Wilkenfeld International Women’s Leadership Seminar in Jerusalem.
WRJ’s advocacy efforts to advance women’s rights, pay equity, and other high-priority issues are as critical as ever. Led by our Education to Action team, the “WRJ says STOP” training series and “I Wear Teal Because…” awareness project empower women to address sexual harassment and assault through education and strategic interventions. Working in coalition with others, WRJ mobilizes women to be effective change agents, as we have done throughout our history.
The year ahead will be bittersweet as we say farewell to our Executive Director, Rabbi Marla Feldman, and welcome Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch as the new executive director in July 2023. With a sturdy foundation, a remarkable staff, and dedicated leaders, we know that WRJ will continue to thrive through this transition, and we are well-positioned for a vibrant future.
What are some of WRJ’s dreams and plans for 2023? As you can see from our robust Annual Report, we plan to continue to create opportunities for women to share ideas, learn from each other, renew friendships, mobilize for justice, and deepen their connection to Jewish life.
We have each been blessed with many beautiful relationships through WRJ, and we know that the bonds of friendship and deep connections formed within our community of women can last a lifetime. This is the core of sisterhood. We invite you to share your talents, wisdom, and energy with your WRJ sisters to dream big and plan for the future.
Sara B. Charney
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman