Parashat Miketz is one of the great dream stories in the Torah. Joseph, falsely imprisoned, goes from prisoner to a position of power in Pharaoh’s court because of his ability to interpret dreams. In interpreting dreams, Joseph was connecting the reality of what was to his vision of what could be.
I imagine that Carrie O. Simon might have dreamed of all that the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS, now WRJ) could become when it first began in 1913. In that way, we are the Josephs of our day as we interpret the dreams of just what WRJ might be like in the next one hundred years.
In a few short weeks, we will gather in San Diego to celebrate our Centennial as Women of Reform Judaism… one hundred years of women in sisterhood. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t been part of the magic of an Assembly yourself. You’ll find a connection and a sense of pride. You’ll find spirituality, ideas, and camaraderie. You’ll find workshops, worship, and music. You’ll find the perfect place to celebrate Sisterhood and all that Carrie O. Simon could have possibly dreamed of for her “sisters.”
So let me ask you… what is sisterhood? It is a noun in the dictionary, which says, (1) The state or relationship of being a sister or sisters, (2) The quality of being sisterly, (3) A society, especially a religious society, of women and (4) An association or unification in a common cause.
How appropriate for us, because as WRJ, we truly are sisters. We belong to the family of Reform Judaism. We show what it is to be sisters. We care and we share our simchas and sorrows; we laugh and we cry together, we show compassion for one another… YES… sisters.
And we are certainly a religious society of women. We have the power to create, not just babies, but reality. We have the power to give each other strength, to help make our congregations strong, to make a difference in each other’s lives, as well as in the world. As a religious society, we strive to be women of character and morals, to be models for our children, our sisters, mothers and friends, a model of what it means to be female and live a Jewish life.
And the last definition; an association or unification of women in a common cause… this one is the basis for our existence. We are unified in our common cause, to volunteer, to answer the call to support WRJ and Reform Judaism as a whole. We make time to serve not only God, but our congregations and the larger Jewish community near and far. We dream big!
One of my favorite sayings is “More hands make less work.” I think it exemplifies Sisterhood in that we are always STRONGER working TOGETHER. Share your enthusiasm for WRJ as we build on the wisdom and the lessons of the women that preceded us. Dream big as we continue to create a sense of covenant everlasting and ensure the future of Women of Reform Judaism, so that in one hundred years our children’s children will know the true meaning of Sisterhood.
Jo Stamler Thompson is a WRJ Board Member and Co-President of Temple of Israel Sisterhood in Greenville, SC.