When women support each other, incredible things happen.
Sisterhood is all about empowering women and supporting our synagogue. The Sisterhood of Temple Beth El, Rochester, New York was established in 1920, and affiliated with Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ) that same year. We are the oldest Sisterhood in our WLCJ region, and the largest. Our region, the International Northeast Region (INR), includes affiliated Sisterhoods in upstate New York, Ontario and Quebec.
Sisterhood is governed by the Board of Directors.
Officers and Board Members for the 2022-2023 program year:
President & Data Manager – Gail Finkelstein email@example.com; 585-755-8790
Treasurer – Tammi Steinberg
Financial Secretary – Amy Ressel
VP Membership – Judy Schulman
VP Torah Fund – Abbey Rasnick
VP Torah Fund – Merle Markus
Community Services / Tikkun Olam Chair – Amy Wasserman
Judaica Shop Chair – Lynda Axelrod
Judaica Shop Chair – Iris Mand
Shiva Comfort Chair – Susan Zauderer
Sunshine Card Chair – Judy Ressel
Member-at-Large – Barbara Schron
The Board also includes INR Board Members
INR Ritual Chair – Marla Allentoff
INR Board Member-at-Large – Susan Greenberg
Dues are collected annually, and are used to support our many programs benefitting Temple members and the community. Many of our programs are annual favorites. Other programs may change as new opportunities develop. Here are some long-standing favorites.
*Note – All Sisterhood programs are open to the entire Temple Beth El family.
Gifts to Bat/Bar Mitzvahs: Sisterhood and Men’s Club join together to give an Etz Hayim Chumash to each child celebrating their Bat/Bar Mitzvah with us at Temple Beth El.
Just Judaica Gift Shop at Temple Beth El is the largest retail Judaica gift shop in western New York! We carry one-of-a-kind finds, like unique hand-made art, side-by-side with traditional items. Our selection of Talit is remarkable. Sisterhood runs all aspects of the shop. We buy from artists and manufacturers locally, in the US, in Israel, and even South Africa. The Just Judaica Shop is a true gem.
P.A.D. Project is community service at its best! For this project, we partner with the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Rochester section. Our Temple members donate feminine hygiene products, and then assemble kits which are donated to teens and women in the Rochester area. Most of us are lucky enough not to realize that this is a desperate need for many in our community. These are absolute necessities. Girls are missing school; women are missing work. We are trying to help.
Scholarships toward Pre-College and College Study in Israel – Sisterhood offers a needs-based scholarship for an Israel Immersion program. Scholarships are available to pre-college and college students, whose families are members in good standing with Temple Beth El Sisterhood. Scholarship recipients must commit to participating in the educational/ enrichment program at Temple Beth El and/or make a “contribution in kind” to the Temple Beth El community.
Shiva Comfort Packages were conceptualized and developed by our Sisterhood, and the idea is spreading. It’s a package of non-perishable items that are quite useful to those who will be “sitting shiva” in their home. From disposable tableware to ritual washing equipment to educational material, this package helps make a difficult time a little easier for the mourners. Sisterhood delivers a bag to Temple Beth El families who will be “sitting shiva” in the Rochester area.
Sisterhood Shabbat is sponsored each year by Sisterhood. It’s a special Shabbat service and kiddush presented by Sisterhood. This is an opportunity for women to learn prayer skills and participate at whatever level they choose.
Torah Fund is an annual campaign, led by WLCJ, to support the Jewish Theological Seminary and other higher learning institutes associated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Funds go toward building improvements, scholarships, and special projects. As a thank-you, Torah Fund Benefactors receive a distinctive annual designer pin.