Welcome to the New Outlook

by Carol S. Simon


I am a glass half full kind of person. When something happens that might not be what I wanted, I usually assume something better is coming along. My mother always said that things happen for a reason and it may take some time, but in the end, it will be better.

With that in mind, I welcome you to our first edition of New Outlook for Women’s League.

Many of you will recall when Women’s League for Conservative Judaism published the original Outlook, a magazine that was totally ours, geared to our members and sisterhoods. So when CJ: Voices of Conservative/Masorti Judaism was no longer being published, we took that as an opportunity to produce this publication, and logically to title it New Outlook.

We look forward to connecting with you, our members, in these pages.

Look for features on current trends in Jewish life, profiles of fascinating women who happen to be members of sisterhoods, as well as information and resources for you to use as a Conservative Jewish woman everyday.

This month’s feature article (Why Not for Girls?) grew out of discussions at our annual meeting in January, when Rabbis Danielle Upbin and Michael Gold took on the issue of what it means to be a truly egalitarian movement. Does everyone have to do everything the same way? Do the traditional gender-based obligations now apply to all of us? It was a very compelling discussion, one that many felt was unfinished.

Most, but not all, Conservative congregations say that they are egalitarian, but actions speak louder than words. We need to encourage our daughters and granddaughters to wear their bat mitzvah tallitot more than once, modeling for them wrapping ourselves in a tallit. As a bat mitzvah girl, I couldn’t do the same things the boys in my Hebrew school class did, even though we had spent the same five years together. It was only years later, when I became involved in my region and Women’s League that I even thought of wearing a tallit. Today, I have three, and each has very special meaning. I purchased the first in Is-rael on a Women’s League mission and said a sheheheyanu at the Conservative synagogue in Jerusalem. The second I purchased at a Women’s League convention to celebrate my installation as a vice president. The third was not purchased. It was my father’s. I needlepointed an atarah, had it sewn on top of the original, and wore it for the first time on my father’s first yarhzeit. Every time I wear it, I feel as though my father’s arms are hugging me. Each of my tallitot is special, and each one will go to one of my grand-daughters for them to carry on the tradition. I invite you to begin your own family tallit traditions, and to tell us about them.

As spring fast approaches, I wish you a zissen Pesach. We hope you find something to think about on every page of New Outlook, and that perhaps you’ll discuss it at your sedarim!

Let us know what you think by writing to info@wlcj.org.

Women’s League Reads

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