WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood

WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood

WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood 


At Congregation Beth Israel, WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood’s mission is to bring women together to support and benefit Congregation Beth Israel and the community by providing opportunities for friendship, service, spiritual growth, and learning.

Coming Soon

Sisterhood Shabbat Service
Friday, February 24, 6:00 PM
Pollin Chapel and Livestream

Join us for Sisterhood’s Annual Shabbat service on Friday February 24 at 6:00 PM.

The service will be conducted by many women of Sisterhood and the CBI clergy It is always a meaningful service. Please bring small packages of menstrual products to donate to our ongoing work to address period poverty. Your donations are always appreciated.

Discussion with Author Maggie Anton.

Author of The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith, and the Talmud.
Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 PM
Via Zoom

Join the Sisterhood for a virtual book talk with Maggie Anton, author of The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith, and the Talmud. Maggie has written a wholly transformative novel that takes characters inspired by Chaim Potok and ages them into young adults in Brooklyn in the 1950s — a time of Elvis and Marilyn, communist scares and polio vaccines, postwar Jewish migration to Israel and America.

When journalist Hannah Eisin interviews Rabbi Nathan Mandel, a controversial Talmud professor, she persuades him to teach her the mysteries of the text forbidden to women though it might cost him his job if discovered. Secret meetings and lively discussions bring the two to the edge of a line neither dares to cross, testing their relationships with Judaism and each other.

Participants are encouraged to purchase the book in advance – check out options on Maggie’s website at https://thechoicenovel.com/buy/. E-books can be purchased at https://payhip.com/b/XBOmh.

Wine, Women and Words
Save the date: March 15

Join us for an evening to schmooze, meet new friends, enjoy a glass of wine and light snacks, and learn about Beth Israel Sisterhood in the comfort of a Sisterhood member’s home.  This is a time to become acquainted with board members, other women and consider becoming a member.

 RSVP to Ellen Zellinger, ellenzpc@gmail.com to sign up and get the address in John’s Landing.

Special Comunity Seder
Sunday, March 30

Each year WRJ/Beth Israel sisterhood partners with Jewish Family and Child Service to host a noontime seder at CBI for their clients. We seek five volunteers to drive guests to and from the seder and three additional volunteers to decorate kiddush cups. Contact Kate Gillespie to volunteer at 3dv.kate@gmail.com

WRJ Pacific District Convention
March 23-26 in Bellevue Washington
Reimagining Traditions: Finding Harmony and Balance

This is the Pacific District’s 56th Convention and it promises to be a fun and educational four days! The Beth Israel Sisterhood has set aside some funds to help in paying for the registration/hotel. We want as many people there as possible. See details at: https://www.wrjpacific.org/2023-pd-convention.html.

Convention is all about sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice: Meeting new people, seeing friends we have made over the years, learning about everyone’s challenges and successes, gathering latest ideas and information, getting involved, giving back, and just having fun together. 

This convention is being held as a hybrid event, so several of the main sessions will be broadcast on livestream and one workshop in each block will be available for virtual attendance.

You will see more updates on the Chai Line and Yammer emails. If you need to sign up for those emails just check the www.wrjpacific.org website.

To get connected with others from CBI regarding travel, room-sharing, etc. contact our VP Ellen Zellenger at ellenzpc@gmail.com.

Sisterhood Board Meetings

Sisterhood Board Meetings
Thursday, March 9 (online ONLY)
Thursday, April 13
Thursday, May 11
Thursday, June 8
6:00 PM (Social Hour), 6:30 PM (Meeting)

Anyone is welcome to Join us for our monthly board meetings and quarterly gatherings.  These are held on the second Thursdays and every other month is on zoom.  You can always find the zoom links at www.bethisrael-pdx.org/joinus

Mark your calendars for March 9 (on zoom), April 13, May 11, and June 8. When there are more details or changes to the schedule, we will alert everyone through email and the newsletters

Connect With Sisterhood

Want to be up-to-the-minute with all things Sisterhood? Read on, or click one of the buttons below.

Sisterhood Leadership

Susan Berniker – President
Ellen Zellinger – Vice President & Membership Co-Chair
Shoshanna Lansberg – Immediate Past President & Religious Programming
Michael Richman – Corresponding Secretary
Rita Effros – Recording Secretary
Rachel Segal – Treasurer
Vacant Vacant – Parliamentarian
Rose Marshall – Communications
Ellen Bick – Emerita
Kathleen Doctor – Emerita
Melissa Himmelman – Fundraising Co-chair
Michelle Shari Kruss – Fundraising  Co-chair
Bonnie Barg – Gift Shop
Rhonda Daniels – Membership Co-Chair
Karen Stavis – Programming   Co-chair
Nadine Block – Programming Co-chair
Debbie Braymer – Volunteer Coordinator
Virginia Gitter – College Outreach Co-chair
Leslie Berman – College Outreach Co-chair
Judy Stone – Gift Shop Treasurer

Cantor Ida Rae Cahana – Clergy Liaison

Current open positions include Community Seder and Rosh Hashanah Reception Chairs.

President’s Message | February 2023


As we head into the ninth month of this program year, I’m grateful that the coronavirus hasn’t upset our plans to date. Both the CBI calendar and the sisterhood calendar are chock-full of activities.

At this time of year, I explain to my Sunday School students the teaching of our sages that “When Adar is near, joy is here.” I can’t think of a better way to experience delight than by attending all the upcoming synagogue and Sisterhood events in March.

I hope to see you Schpielin’ In the Rain for Purim, or at convention, or…

Wishing you a deep sense of joy—simcha—as the coming days grow lighter and longer.

Susan Berniker, President, 2022-2024

D’Var Torah, January 12
Sh’mot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)
Nadine Block

This is a very well-known section of the Torah, as we tell this story every year on Pesach. In this parshah, the new king of Egypt, threatened by the growing numbers of Israelites, forces them into slavery and orders newborn males to be killed; the Pharoah’s daughter discovers Moses in a basket in the Nile and raises him; Moses flees from Egypt, but is then summoned by God to free the Israelites from Egypt; and finally a reluctant Moses assembles the elders of the Israelites, tells them what God instructed him, and then confronts Pharoah.

I was struck by the coinciding of this Torah portion with our celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend.

Moses was a reluctant leader. He essentially says to God, “are you sure I’m the guy for this job?” He points out to God that he has a speech impediment, he worries he will not be able to convince the Israelites to unite behind him, and he implores God to find someone else. I think many of us can relate to how Moses felt. It is frightening to step forward for weighty tasks with such consequences. But his moral compass was powerful, compelling him to correct wrong in the face of risk.

Moses was also a witness. He saw firsthand the suffering of the Israelites and decided that something had to be done. One commentary on this parshah said “we have to get proximate to the injustices we are trying to correct”. Dr. King Jr. and other civil rights leaders spoke loudly and repeatedly about the injustices and compelled society to not only see what was happening around them but to take action. Dr. King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

This Torah portion is a good reminder to all of us, especially as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend, of what is at the heart of reform Judaism – the articulation of social injustices and the mitzvot of acting to address those injustices.