WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah: Parashat Pekudei

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This week’s Torah Reading, Parashat Pekudei, concludes the book of Exodus, Sefer Shemot. Parashat Pekudei is an inventory of all that was used in the construction of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the moveable Temple used by the Israelites while wandering in the desert. Parashat Pekudei concludes the Miskhan project, and it reads like some HGTV Shows, but on a much greater scale: “Project Runway,” with descriptions of all the clothes produced for the High Priests, and a home improvement show about a construction project for God to dwell. I would think that, at the end of such a long project, which must have taken a long time, there must have been a huge adrenaline letdown. Now what do the people do? Perhaps they should do what any organization should do after a project or program – an Assessment and Evaluation. Assessment is made to identify the level of performance of an individual, whereas evaluation is performed to determine the degree to which goals are attained. The basic difference between assessment and evaluation lies in the orientation, i.e. while the assessment is process-oriented, evaluation is product-oriented.

What went right with the program or project, and what needs improvement? How could costs be cut, and what were some items that were needed, but not obtained? At Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, in order to service our community better, we make sure that we have an assessment and evaluation for all we do, to make sure that we are enriching, enhancing, and engaging our WLCJ women in the best possible ways we can, and in the most effective ways we can, for the best outcomes. Did our ancestors in the time of the Mishkan assess and evaluate this immense project that they did, in order for God to dwell amongst them? Since the Mishkan construction project was commanded for God, by God, I am not sure that they were allowed to evaluate. We at Women’s League are much humbler. We can assess and evaluate, and make sure that all we do at WLCJ, in our next 100 years, speaks to the needs of our WLCJ women. Together, we create vibrant, thriving Jewish communities: to enhance, enrich, and engage our women of the Conservative Movement, who help God dwell in their homes, synagogues, and communities.