Making a Difference for Women's League Convention 2012
by Shelly Goldin and Marilyn Wind
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is embarking on
a period of transformative change and innovation as it opens
its biennial convention on December 2 in Las Vegas. Two
of the items on the agenda that will impact the organization
at its core are the passage of resolutions focusing on social
action and public policy and the implementation of a
radically new strategic plan.
Women’s League is at a very exciting crossroad, ready to improve the way
we do things, provide new membership opportunities and build a track for
new leadership. Here are some of the highlights of the new strategic plan.
Individual memberships will open a new port of entry so that all Conservative
Jewish women can be involved, even if they choose not to join a
sisterhood. Products and services will be designed for individual members
as well as for sisterhood members. Efforts to support and help grow sisterhoods
will include improved marketing tools. Intergenerational training
will support individual and sisterhood members, as well.
Increasing the rotation of leaders is a top priority. Redefined volunteer
opportunities will encourage women to pursue their interests; new skills
will allow them to flourish in whatever capacity they choose. Playing a leadership role should be rewarding for all those who say yes to being a
part of Women’s League.
Products and services will reflect the needs of all Conservative Jewish
women. By disseminating new materials online, sisterhoods will have
the tools necessary to keeping their groups fresh and their members engaged.
A pilot program is already in place to bring new materials to the regions.
A communications plan to address women of every age includes the
website (www.wlcj.org), with information, products and administrative
tools. It is updated on a regular basis with interesting and relevant materials.
An active Facebook presence has been added, as well as BaOlam,
the world affairs blog.
The strategic implementation plan also includes changes on the international
level. Convention delegates will be voting to move convention
from every two to every three years. The professional and lay leaders will
define different causes and issues that both individual and sisterhood members
can embrace and work on together.
This implementation plan is the result of many hours of work by a
committee that represents the entire membership. Focus groups, surveys
and input from past and present leaders were essential to getting a broad
perspective of what changes were necessary to make the organization
vital and responsive.
These efforts will bring about a new network for all Conservative women,
an organization that will evolve as its members’ needs and interests evolve.
It is an anticipated rite of convention that delegates discuss and vote on resolutions
dealing with issues in our communities and the world at large.
Women’s League relies on its body of resolutions when asked to take a
position or to call for an action. In addition, the resolutions recommend
specific actions for sisterhoods and their members. This year’s resolutions
have been distributed to sisterhoods and are on the website
(www.wlcj.org). We invite you to review them carefully and make your
views known by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In a change of tradition,
this year resolutions will be discussed briefly and voted on by ballot during
the course of convention. The following introduces the goals of the 2012
The straightforward Support for Israel
resolution underscores Women’s League’s
commitment to Israel and resolves to work
with the larger community to end efforts to
boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel.
The resolution commends MERCAZ’s Israel
Advocacy work and encourages MERCAZ
Gender Equality in Public Secular Spaces
addresses segregation on sidewalks, public
buildings and public buses. It advocates
for laws that forbid gender segregation
and asks members of the government for
Equality of Treatment in Israeli Hotels,
written by the Masorti movement and
adopted by most Conservative movement
organizations, asks that Israeli hotels treat
all denominations equally and that Conservative/
Masorti groups patronize hotels
that follow a non-discrimination policy.
Some Israeli hotels have refused to let
Masorti groups use their Torah scrolls or
have asked for additional fees to bring in
The resolution on gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender (GLBT) Jews discusses “Rituals
and Documents of Marriage and
Divorce for Same Sex Couples,” the 2012
appendix to the 2006 teshuvah by Rabbis
Elliot Dorff, Daniel Nevins and Avram Reisner
that normalizes the communal status of
gay and lesbian Jews. It updates previous
resolutions and calls on sisterhoods to advocate
against laws that discriminate against
According to Jewish tradition, it is our
responsibility to feed the hungry. The resolution
calls on sisterhoods to ask officials
to insure hunger programs; to support
Mazon, the Jewish response to hunger; to
collect for food banks; and to take the Food
Stamp Challenge and spend $31.50 for a
week’s worth of food.
Hydrofracking is the extraction of natural
gas from previously impermeable shale,
a complex issue that has potential health
consequences. The Women’s League resolution
is based on resolutions passed by
the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA),
of which Women’s League is a member, and
the Rabbinical Assembly. It calls for laws
requiring companies to disclose all materials
used during fracking, for ongoing monitoring
and for safeguards to protect the
public health and the environment.
The resolution on women’s bodily autonomy
presents the Conservative movement’s
definition of when life begins and the status
of the fetus. It discusses attempts on the
Federal, state and local levels to define “personhood”
as starting at conception. Women’s
League is calling on members to study the
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards’
teshuvot on the subject and to support access
to the entire spectrum of reproductive health
care, and to oppose personhood legislation.
Separation of Church and State
The resolution on separation of Church
and State reinforces the legal requirements
that a non-profit in the United States not
intervene in elections and it discusses the
different definition of Church and State
issues in Canada.
All the women of the Conservative movement
are invited to come to Convention
2012 and have their voices heard as we look
forward to a new dawn for Women’s League
and the entire movement! For information,
or to register, go to www.wlcj.org.