Last Thursday, Daniel Stone spoke to us about his book, The Food Explorer. The evening was a real adventure, because we had a power outage that started a half hour before the presentation and lasted until after midnight. We were unfazed. We brought out candles (electric and wax) and flashlights, and of course we all had our phones. The powerpoint presentation did not happen of course, and we had to work without microphones, but the audience (of over 100!) was not going to let a little thing like a lack of light prevent us from hearing Daniel's excellent presentation, and the show went on!
Later on, it occurred to us that originally our Sisterhood seder was scheduled for that night. However, because many Sisterhood members were going to be on the Sisterhood MahJongg cruise, the seder was moved a week earlier, to March 15. If it hadn't been for the cruise, the seder would have been on the night of the power outage.
While we were able to proceed with a evening that only involved a single speaker and snacks, it is hard to imagine that we could have done the seder, with about 130 people, multiple readers, and dinner, in the dark. We would have undoubtedly had to cancel.
But, thanks to the cruise, the seder wasn't on the night of the power outage, and thanks to an accommodating audience Thursday, nothing got canceled. Both events were wonderful, as was the women of the wall event last Saturday.
So what do you think? Was it coincidence or divine intervention?
Went looking for jokes about darkness and found this one - it was too cute to pass it up.
Our Sisterhood seder last Thursday was incredible! The haggadah was really special, the clergy was wonderful, the food was delicious and the turnout was amazing. Best of all, it all ran smooth as silk, thanks to the excellent work of our awesome seder committee. Thanks to Arlene Stone (chair), Mel Birken, Sue Issler, Diane Levine, Laraine Miller, Alyce Schultz-Rozsa, Laurie Scher, Sonia Smith, and Judy Stehr. The cute centerpieces were courtesy of Sherry Lucks and Becky Breuer. Thanks also to everyone who pitched in to help set up and clean up.
Pictures from the seder are posted online. Go to our website (tassisterhood.org) and click on Photos - there are three pages worth of photos, so keep clicking!
Our Women of the Wall event on Saturday (7:30pm) will also be excellent. We would love to see you there. The $12 rate expires March 20, but it's only $15 at the door.
If you need any supplies for Passover, like seder plates, matzo covers, or plague finger puppets, consider purchasing them at our Judaica shop. It's easy and supports Sisterhood at the same time - a win-win!
If you are debating over whether to come to hear Daniel Stone talk about his book, "The Food Explorer" on Thursday, March 22 (7pm), or Cheryl Temkin speak on the Women of the Wall organization on Saturday, March 24 (7:30pm), here is some background information on each subject.
"The Food Explorer" is the story of intrepid botanist David Fairchild (1869-1954), who exposed America to myriad exotic plants and food crops. The foods Fairchild introduced include the Hass avocado from Chile, seedless grapes from Padua, sweet mangoes from the Philippines, nectarines from Pakistan, German hops and kale. As one review puts it, Stone's book is "Narrated in vividly realized, richly descriptive text with accompanying photographs."
Women of the Wall is a multi-denominational organization based in Israel who has been working since 1988 to secure the rights of women to pray at the Western Wall (aka the Kotel) in a fashion that includes singing, reading aloud from the Torah and wearing religious garments (tallit, tefillin and kippah). When the "Women of the Wall" hold monthly prayer services for women on Rosh Hodesh, they observe gender segregation so that Orthodox members may fully participate. But their use of religious garb, singing, and reading from a Torah have upset some members of the Orthodox Jewish community, sparking protests and arrests. Not only will Temkin present the riveting story of this organization's work, but the beautiful Women of the Wall Tallitot and other merchandise will be available for purchase. See https://tassisterhood.weebly.com/wowevent.html for more information.
The book presentation is free. The Women of the Wall event is $12 if paid by March 20, and $15 at the door. Both are open to anyone, so bring your friends! If you are coming to the seder this Thursday, why not bring a check for the WoW event?
We returned from the Fried Leadership Conference today and it was AWESOME! Great workshops, fabulous speakers, controversial plenaries, moving services, (mostly) excellent food, and oh that Purim Palooza! Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund received the 2018 Jane Evans “Pursuit of Justice” Award, WRJ’s highest award, and, WOW, is she amazing! It was a pleasure to listen to April Baskin, URJ VP of Audacious Hospitality. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President, spoke passionately of the things that URJ is doing to support women, youth and social justice. Kathryn Fleisher, immediate past president of NFTY, blew us all away with her poise, presence and passion. And of course Blair Marks and Susan Bass, immediate past President and current President of WRJ, both spoke eloquently as well.
Services with 400 women are always something special, but Michelle Citrin, singer, song writer, and artist, gave services an extra measure of spirituality and depth. On the flip side, plenaries are usually long and boring, but these were filled with stimulating controversy and debate, and were quite interesting. We passed all the bylaws changes, and passed resolutions on affordable housing and child marriage.
We loved the workshops and got a lot out of them. Jackie Zev got the most out of the workshop on membership and will be bringing back several ideas to implement, but her favorite workshop was the one on learning from our youth – the young women on the panel were all incredible. Kathy Barker enjoyed the social justice workshop – she really loved hearing Leslie Brier, the WRJ representative to the UN (did you know that WRJ has a representative at the UN?). On a practical level, she thought the workshop on the secrets to running an effective meeting was extremely well done and useful. Sharon Janis was enthralled with the workshop on anti-Semitism led by April Baskin.
The conferences closed with a speech by Abby Brafman, who organized March For Our Lives Nashville. This 19-year-old Vanderbilt student from Parkland, Florida, spoke of what it was like to hear that there was a shooting at her High School. She spoke movingly of the hours after the shooting trying to reach one of her friends, and how she hoped that it was because she was being taken to the hospital, or in surgery, or in recovery, and finally realizing that the reason she couldn’t reach her was far more terrible. The entire room was in tears.
Our biggest regret was that more women were not able to join us at the conference to share in the memorable experience. We hope that you will all consider joining us at Area Day in July and at WRJ-Pacific District Convention in San Diego in October.
Just in case this email didn't give you enough information and you would like to read more, Jackie will be posting detailed information about her experience on her blog (www.ityfaq.com) - A post about Thursday is up, and she will try to post something each night until the entire 5-day experience is posted.
Rather than end this email with humor, we're ending it with Marian Wright Edelman quotes!
If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.
Far less wealthy industrialized countries have committed to end child poverty, while the United States is sliding backwards. We can do better. We must demand that our leaders do better.
Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.
I never thought I was breaking a glass ceiling. I just had to do what I had to do, and it never occurred to me not to.
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