Taking Stock in a Changing World: Personally and Institutionally

Women’s League continues to expand its role, placing members at the top of its service pyramid.

by Carol S. Simon

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Do you recall your ?rst portable phone, that huge brick that really wasn’t very portable? I recall my 92-year-old father-in-law, of blessed memory, who didn’t encounter electricity until he was 13, complaining about how slow his computer was. Or have you tried explaining to a grand-child that you watched what was on TV when it was shown and not when you wanted to watch it on a recording device? All of these experiences, plus so many more, make us realize how quickly the world is changing.

The sisterhoods that make up the backbone of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism know they need to adjust their programs and structures to impact their members. They are only too aware of the need to remain vibrant, relevant and innovative to build and maintain a strong network of Conservative/Masorti women in our synagogues.

With the High Holidays upon us, it is time for each of us, as individuals, to evaluate where we need to go in the year to come. But organizations can’t wait for the holidays to reconsider where they are going and what they are doing. Through-out this past year, the leadership of Women’s League has been taking stock. Our goals have been defined and examined as we continually asked ourselves if we are addressing our goals the best that we can. Most importantly, throughout this process we have given ourselves permission to change.

We understand that our regions and sisterhoods are challenged to find volunteers willing to take on the responsibilities of previous generations. Yet, regardless of how busy we are with careers and family, we do find time for the things that we want to do. We also know that it is more fun to do things with friends. The work is still there, but now it’s being done in teams of friends (even if the friendship just began) working together to accomplish so much more.

Women’s League’s new structure encompasses nine working teams, from services to regions and sisterhoods, to communications, programming, Israel, social action, and Torah Fund. We are encouraging our regions and sisterhoods to evaluate their structures and create the teams that they need to accomplish their specific goals. We support collaboration between the teams and opportunities for leadership development within our regions.

Our goals remain the same – effective relationships between sisterhoods, regions and Women’s League, focusing on service to our members. We realize that through this assessment of needs and restructuring, sister-hoods and regions might each look different. We no longer ask what “must we have?” but rather “what are our needs?”

Our members are at the top of our service pyramid, sup-ported by sisterhoods and regions, with the goal of connecting them to Women’s League. Women’s League Reads: our on line book club, Distance Workshops once a month, an increased presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and listserves for sharing ideas are all ways we are reaching out to our membership. You can share in any of these programs at www.wlcj.org. This year we plan to add a Rosh Chodesh group, YouTubes addressing sisterhood challenges and introducing new educational materials, updated region websites, and an all new Women’s League app.

Innovative, relevant and committed! We are proud of how our members and regions have embraced this process. We know that we have the flexibility and vision to change with the times.

May this new year bring you sweetness, health, happiness and the ability to take some time to connect with a sisterhood or region in your community. We may not be your mother’s sisterhood any more, but we are your network, the network for all Conservative Jewish women.

From our family to yours, l’shana tova tikatevu. CJ

Carol S. Simon is international president of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.