The Torah Fund Campaign of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is a grassroots fundraising campaign dedicated to perpetuating Conservative / Masorti Judaism by supporting its seminaries.
The Jewish Theological Seminary (New York, New York)
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (Los Angeles, California)
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem)
Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires)
Zacharias Frankel College (Potsdam, Germany)
Our New Members, 2015-16
On Sunday, October 15th 2017 Temple Beth El Sisterhood held a Torah Fund Benefactors’ luncheon at the home of Tracie Glazer. Twenty-seven of our fifty-two benefactors attended. Our lunch menu was simple: a make your own salad bar which a committee of three was able to prepare (wash, cut, put into serving dishes, etc.) the morning of the event, and kugels and brownies which were prepared in advance in our synagogue’s kosher kitchen. A make your own ice cream sundae (with various toppings) with the brownies served as dessert.
Mrs. Glazer was our guest speaker. She shared a brief overview of her path to becoming director of Rochester Community Hillel Day School. She also explained how the curriculum and classrooms in the school have been brought into the twenty-first century while always remaining true to traditional Jewish values.
Temple Beth El Sisterhood is extremely proud to know that we have the largest group of Torah Fund benefactors nationally, and we’ve raised the most money in our region (International Northeast – which includes Albany to Buffalo NY and eastern Canada-) to support Torah Fund’s many projects. We also were one of only three Sisterhoods that donated to the Women’s League Seeds Program. This was a two year effort to raise additional funds above and beyond our yearly Torah Fund Benefactor campaign.
We try to stimulate congregational support by sending informational mailings to all the women in our congregation rather than simply a select few who may have shown support or interest in previous years. As a result we have found that we manage to increase our Benefactor membership by two or three each year. Last year we found congregants who were not benefactors, motivated by our mailing about the Seeds campaign, who contributed to the Seeds initiative which aimed to refurbish the JTS Women’s League Seminary Synagogue and support Ziegler Rabbinical Students’ year in Israel.
Welcome to all of you – our longtime Torah Fund benefactors and our new ones!
Out theme for 2016-2017 Torah Fund year is “Pri Yadehah” which means “the fruit of your hands” from Eishet Chayil. It is meant to depict the results of the work that is done to create a better world: a world that is focused on the opportunities to make a difference.
By giving so generously to Torah Fund you have all continued Women’s League for Conservative Judaism’s support of the educational institutions which are the core of the Conservative movement. These institutions include:
Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City which is comprised of nearly 500 students coming from 30 states and over 10 countries. It has over 100 full and part-time faculty members and claims the honor of being the largest faculty devoted solely to Judaic Studies in the Western Hemisphere.
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in California which is an international center of Conservative/Masorti Judaism. This school opened in 1996 and has ordained 150 Rabbis who are in leadership positions across North America, Israel and Africa and are keeping Judaism alive, relevant and meaningful.
The Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem which embodies a Rabbinic Seminary, a graduate school, and education program for 40,000 Israeli children, Midreshet Yerushalayim (a study program for Israelis and immigrants in Israel) and Neve Schechter-Legacy Heritage Center for Jewish Culture in Tel Aviv.
Seminario Rabinico LatinoAmericano which was founded in 1963 and is the only non-orthodox institution in Latin America which trains rabbinic students (including our own Rabbi Bitran) chazanim and Judaic teachers.
And, new to Torah Fund this year is the Zacharias Frankel College in Potsdam, Germany, which was conceived to train a new generation of Rabbis to address the spiritual needs of European Jewry.***The monies raised are used to provide financial assistance to students and to fund special projects to ensure Conservative/Masorti Judaism lives and thrives.
Before I turn your attention to Abbey who will introduce our speaker, Meredith Dragon, I do want to make you aware of Women’s League “SEEDS” Campaign which set a goal of raising $600,000 in two (2) years, over and above the Torah Fund annual campaign. The money is projected to refurbish the JTS Seminary synagogue which is the center of spiritual life there, and, to substantially support the Ziegler project which is an Israeli immersion program for Rabbinic students. Out Sisterhood Board has voted to donate $1800 to this special project. The money will come from monies in our treasury from various fundraisers we have held in recent years.
Education is the foundation upon which a better society is built. For the Jewish Community this means Hebrew education and Jewish tradition are both continuous and as such requires the means by which they can be sustained. Since the beginning Temple Beth El has been partners as members of the Women’s League in helping to build a better tomorrow for the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Ziegler Schools of Rabinic Studies, the Schechter Institute in Israel and Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano. Each and every contributor to Torah Fund helps provide the Jewish community with the people necessary to enrich our tradition, make it more meaningful and continue the heritage of Judaism.
Sunday, October 18th we held our annual TORAH FUND BENEFACTORS LUNCHEON at the beautiful home of Leslie Crane. We are pleased to share that we now have fifty two Benefactors at $180 level and 2 Guardians at $360 Level including 8 new Benefactors who have demonstrated their commitment to Torah Fund goals and support of Conservative Judaism. . Our newest members are Lois Bodek, Debby Goldman, Deborah Kravetz, Amy Libenson Shulman, Carol Lee, Michelle Marcus, Lana Russ and Jean Weisberg. Those continuing are Linda Axelrod, Silvana Bacman, Shelly Braiman, Debi Brenner, Henra Briskin, Sharon Brodsky, Rina Chessin, Rita Chessin, Barbara Cohen, Gloria Cohen, Michelle Cohen, Leslie Crane, Mary Davis, Fred Dushay in memory of Anita, Gail Finkelstein, Sara Futerman, Esther Goldberg, Tracie Glazer, Eileen Grossman, Sheila Hollander, Lisa Kasdin, Susan Krieger, Trudie Kirshner, Paulina Kovalsky, Debbie Krusch, Tillie Levinson, Merle Markus, Brenda Moss, Marcia Nabut, Helen Presberg, Abbey Rasnick, Linda Reynolds, Florence Salitan, Naomi Schrier, Barbara Schron, Wendy Scull, Judy Schulman, Trudy Sheinfeld, Toby Shinder, Dvorah Shulman, Elaine Simon, Susan Zauderer, Debbie Zeger and Karen Zivan.
Rabbi Leonardo Bitran was our guest speaker. He was able to present a window into what we help to achieve. In his warm and unique way he shared how he, as a student at both the Seminario Rabinico Latinamericano and Jewish Theological Seminary had been a beneficiary of Torah Fund support while also allowing us to get to know him better. It was a lovely and very successful event. A special thanks to those who helped prepare the food for Sunday, Leslie Crane, Merle Markus, Abbey Rasnick, Tillie Levinson, Naomi Schrier and Judy Schulman.
It is still not too late to be counted. Contact either Abbey Rasnick 244-8554 or Merle Markus 586-9436.
FYI you can pay your Torah Fund pledge online. At www.jtsa.edu/giving. It is secure and easy to do. Convenience is just clicks away. Any amount from $18 – $5000 or more can be donated by choosing this link. An acknowledgement of your donation is sent to your Sisterhood Torah Fund chair by mail.
Merle Markus and Abbey Rasnick