2009 Pacific District Or Ami Award Winners
By Ellen Bick
The Or Ami “Light of My People” Award was established in 1973 by WRJ to recognize outstanding programs in social justice, community service, and education. These projects are solicited from sisterhoods and districts all over North America with the goal for the project to serve as a model for duplication. These awards are given every two years at the WRJ Assembly. In Toronto, the Pacific District was distinctly honored to receive three of the five awards as winners. There is also recognition for other submitted projects in categories of honorable mention, commendation, and special appreciation, with 59 total projects submitted.
Contact information for all 59 of these projects is available on the WRJ website: http://www.womenofreformjudaism.org/
Here is a summary of the three Pacific District award winning Or Ami projects acknowledged at the 2009 WRJ Assembly in Toronto, Canada:
WRJ/ Beth Israel Sisterhood, Portland, OR
Beth Israel Sisterhood Shabbaton: Wise-Hearted Women
Contact: Ellen Bick firstname.lastname@example.org
The sisterhood held an erev Shabbat service, followed by a day of worship and study with Dr. Judith R. Baskin, an editor of WRJ’s new publication The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, as the scholar-in-residence. The day was planned to enable members of the sisterhood, congregation, and community to explore the new Commentary, beginning with Torah study, morning service, and lunch with a keynote speech. Participants also explored the sisterhood’s role as “wise-hearted” Jewish women in creating and sustaining the Jewish world. The day included a series of afternoon workshop sessions led by local clergy and teachers that creatively responded to the Torah reading. The day concluded with a havdalah service led by the high school youth group. The event was open to all, and publicized extensively in the congregation, and in the Jewish and general press.
Temple Sholom Sisterhood, Vancouver, B.C.
Dedication of 226 Copies of “The Torah: A Women’s Commentary” to Our Temple and Establishment of a New Sisterhood Program, “Rosh Chodesh Renewal”
Contact: Donna Ornstein
Temple Sholom Sisterhood carried out an extensive promotion for purchase of The Torah, A Women’s Commentary for donation to the temple and for personal use, through flyers, bulletin articles, bima announcements, and emails, which culminated in placing an order for 226 copies. Following receipt of the Commentary, the sisterhood developed a new Rosh Chodesh Renewal group, inviting women to study Torah together using the Women’s Commentary.
Sisterhood of Temple B’nai Torah, Bellevue, WA
To Life, The Journey of Addiction and Recovery in our Jewish Community
Contact: Shana Aucsmith email@example.com
Acting on WRJ’s 46th Assembly adoption of a resolution calling for a change in public drug abuse policy from a criminal justice to a medical/social paradigm, the B’nai Torah Sisterhood held a conference on substance abuse to increase awareness of addiction as a disease, and provide hope and information about recovery. Partnering with Jewish Family Service of Seattle, the Sisterhood held a conference attended by about 175 professionals, lay people, and clergy. The conference focused on addiction in the Jewish community, addiction as a disease, concurrent disorders, the impact on the family, how to access help, and recovery.