Programming Idea of the Week

Grace Schessler, Vice President of WLCJ, and Karen Seltzer, Program Activity Chair, have collected these programs which can be adapted for use by many Sisterhoods.

 

 

May 14, 2021

Rabbi Michael Lotker is a second career rabbi having been ordained at age 55 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2003. He is a physicist who spent his first career in Alternative Energy focusing on wind, solar and geothermal energy.

He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics from Queens College in New York City and from the University of Illinois. Prior to his ordination from HUC-JIR (the Reform movement’s rabbinic seminary) in 2003, he received his Master of Hebrew Letters degree from this same institution. An entrepreneur, he started a number of alternative energy firms including a wind power development company that installed and operated wind farms in Hawaii and California.  

 
He is presently Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo, California, the Scholar in Residence at Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, CA and the Community Rabbi for the Jewish Federation of Ventura County.  He is a member of the Central Conference of America Rabbis and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. He is a sought-after speaker at synagogues, churches and campuses.  

 

Rabbi Lotker’s expertise covers a wide range of subjects including:

  • God, Science, and Judaism (A Scientist Makes a Great Case for the Existence of God)
  • Introduction to Judaism
  • Children of Abraham:  Understanding Judaism, Christianity & Islam
  • How a Rabbi/Physicist Views Religion, God and Belief
  • The Afterlife
  • Focused Bible Study: Ex: “What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?”
  • What “Fiddler on the Roof” Has to Teach Us About Judaism

In lieu of a fee, Rabbi Lotker requests an honorarium be given to the Jewish Federation of Ventura County, CA. Click HERE to contact Rabbi Lotker.

Thank you to Pixie Cohn, Programming Chair at Austin WLCJ Chapter at Congregation Agudas Achim Sisterhood, for sharing Rabbi Lotker’s information with me.

 
 
May 7, 2021

With many of us longing to travel, especially to Israel, perhaps your Sisterhood would like to schedule a Zoom talk with Eitan Morell. Eitan was born in Binghamton, NY but went to Israel to study for a year after high school in Yeshivat Shaalvim. He then served in the IDF as a tank gunner.  Following his service in the army, Eitan studied Middle Eastern and Jewish History at Bar Ilan University, eventually becoming a licensed tour guide.  Eitan lives in Talmon with his wife and six children. Whether you have been to Israel many times or never before, Eitan creates unique touring experiences for everyone! 

Tour idea #1: The Story and Origins of the Song “Jerusalem of Gold” 

Written a few weeks before the Six Day War, this beautiful song has entered the pantheon of great songs about Jerusalem and is loved by Jews throughout the world. In this song, Naomi Shemer relates Jerusalem to many concepts and issues which appear in Talmudic and other historical sources throughout the generations. The song, which captures a fleeting moment in the history of Jerusalem, also gives us a sense of the eternity of the city. In this tour we will see the Old City of Jerusalem through the prism of this song. The streets of Jerusalem will give us a deeper understanding of this famous song but more importantly – this song will give us a deeper understanding of Jerusalem. 

Tour idea #2: A Connecticut Yankee in King David’s Court: Americans in Jerusalem

Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th. many famous Americans visited Eretz Yisrael. Americans such as Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Herman Melville and Mark Twain all frequented Jerusalem. Others, less well known, made important contributions toward achieving an independent Jewish state. In this tour the focus will be on these Americans in Jerusalem.

This tour will introduce you to fascinating stories which took place in Jerusalem. We will “meet” the first American Consul in Jerusalem and learn of his conversion to Judaism, be shocked by the American Consul whose murder remains unsolved till today and learn of the connection between Jerusalem and the battle of Bunker Hill. Our discussion will conclude with Americans who played crucial roles in the defense of Jerusalem in 1948. 

For more information check out: Eitanmorelltours.com  (Fees range from $150 – $400 depending on the size of your Sisterhood).

Thank you to Pixie Cohn, Programming Chair at Austin WLCJ Chapter at Congregation Agudas Achim Sisterhood, for sharing these programming ideas with me.

 

April 30, 2021

Throughout history, and across America today, seltzer’s fizzy flavor has attracted a loyalty and passion that often defies logic.  Seltzer is more popular now than at any time in the past, reflecting the desires and cultural expectations of those who partake of its bubbles.  How did such an ordinary drink become so extraordinary?

In the program (based on the book of the same name), Seltzertopia, Barry Joseph will share the untold story of seltzer, and you will meet the seltzer men and women who turned a hobby into a passion. From health to refreshment, identity, and even comedy, explore all the ways we infuse this unassuming drink with meaning. Discover . . .

  • Why an eighteenth-century minister “invented” seltzer to save the British navy?
  • How the Jewish mafia showed their love of egg creams?
  • Why doctors once believed seltzer could cure everything from scurvy to gout?
  • How the Three Stooges turned seltzer siphons into carbonated comedy?
  • Why the Pittsburgh Seltzer Works displays a jagged row of broken “bottles of death”?
  • Why one seltzer owner leaped off a building to demonstrate his love of seltzer?
  • What is seltzer, anyway?

Based on more than fourteen years of research and countless interviews, and including more than 75 photos, Seltzertopia celebrates the fizzy magic of a simple drink.

Virtual Option:

For remote presentations – which are lively, interactive, fun and engaging – Barry recommends an hour. You can add an optional egg cream mixing/drinking component at the end (another 15 minutes); Sisterhoods can encourage folks at home to get the required ingredients.  Barry is currently booking now for remote engagements over the next 12 months. 

In-Person Option:

This is the same hour-long presentation but, in person, Barry adds all sorts of extras.  The egg cream mixing is one – and in person you can all do it together.  Also popular is a flavored seltzer tasting competition, where people from the audience try to guess the flavors of the seltzers they are drinking which also brings down the house.  In the next year Barry is only traveling in the New York Metropolitan area, but post-pandemic he’d love to get to the west coast and northwest. 

Barry’s price is negotiable.  He wants to spread the love of seltzer everywhere he can.  Barry’s preference is to talk to a group of 40 or more people.  He’d also like to connect with book clubs – people who don’t just want to hear a presentation but want to be part of a conversation.

You can contact Barry Joseph HERE for more information.

 

April 23, 2021

Calendar Planning Made Easy…Step-by-Step Guide!

There are many things Sisterhoods must consider as they begin calendar planning for the year ahead.  So, this week, instead of sharing an idea of what to plan, I’ve created a guide to help you do the actual planning!

  1. Know when all the Jewish Holidays (Major, Minor and Modern) are. Click here for a printable version of the upcoming year, Sept 2021- June 2022. 
  2. Know when all the Secular and National holidays are. Although we may not celebrate or recognize some of these, synagogues may be closed out of respect to its staff and public-school schedules. Click here for a printable version.
  3. Be mindful of the WLCJ Calendar of Events as well as your Region’s and synagogue’s calendars to avoid any possible conflicts.
  4. Create an outline, organized by month, to continuing planning.  For example, many Sisterhoods resume programming in September.  As you can see on the Jewish Holidays attachment, the High Holidays, specifically Rosh Hashana, coincide with Labor Day this year.  Some Sisterhoods will, therefore, choose to plan a Welcome Back event for October, subsequent to Simchat Torah while others may seek to plan a Sisterhood Sukkot program with the hope that we’ll be able to be together in person, yet outside.
  5. Decide how many programs your Sisterhood would like to plan. Do you want to have an event every month? Every other month? Do you have a monthly Book Club or Rosh Hodesh group and, if so, are these planned in addition to special programming?
  6. Think about what kinds of programming you like to offer. Do you want to plan a big fundraiser this year? Would your Sisterhood like more holiday-based or spiritual programming? Make a list that may include a Paid-Up Membership Program, a Torah Fund event, a craft night, a cooking or baking night, a Sisterhood Shabbat, a game night, etc.
  7. Change things up a bit. Does your Sisterhood always plan a Woman’s Seder? Perhaps this year you’d like to host a TuBiShvat Seder instead. But, if you know that your members look forward to rolling Hamantaschen every year, plan it! Maybe this year your Sisterhood can invite/teach the Religious School students in an earlier session, too. 
  8. When you are selecting days and times, be sure to vary the days of the week, nights and Sundays, to be fair and accommodating to all members.
  9. Always select a 1st choice date as well as a 2nd so that you have a backup planned if your first preference is already booked by WLCJ, your Region, Synagogue, or even your desired Speaker or Facilitator.
  10. Once you have your outline completed by type of program by month, you can go back to the beginning to specify the actual program you’d like to plan. Meaning, if you’ve designated March for your Craft Program, consider offering a wire-beaded, pen painted Miriam’s Cup for the upcoming Passover Holiday. However, if December is your Craft Program, you might want to create a Chanukah-themed mosaic tray.
  11. Does your Synagogue issue a summer bulletin? Find out the deadline for submissions and try to have your Calendar of Events ready to submit in time. Note: While it’s fabulous to have all programs selected and booked by this time, it’s also fine to share just the date, time, and type of event with a “more details to follow” note. Getting your members to Save-the-Dates is what’s most important.
  12. Suggestion: you might want to include a line on your Sisterhood Membership form asking what type of programs they might be interested in seeing offered. Also, you might want to ask if they have any special passion or talent they would be willing to bring to the Sisterhood as a program.

 

 

April 17, 2021

Memories Roadshow vs. Antique Roadshow

As many Sisterhoods begin planning next year’s Calendar of Events, you may be looking for a “Getting to Know You” ice breaker-type of Welcome Back Program. Why don’t you consider planning a Memories Roadshow? Each Sisterhood member is invited to bring an item of personal significance to the Zoom Room (or soon, in person!). It can be a piece of Judaica or art, an heirloom or something new. She will share what the item is, why it is important to her and what it represents. A Memories Roadshow is a fantastic way to get to know each other or to learn something new about a long-time friend. 

 

Want to kick this idea up a notch? Are you curious to know what Bubbe’s candlesticks might be worth? Your Sisterhood can hire an appraiser/antiques dealer to bring their expertise to this event. The first 25 Sisterhood members to RSVP will get to have her item appraised. (Extra time can be assigned by a lottery system). This virtual Antiques Roadshow will be fun for participants and viewers alike! Need a suggestion on how to find an appraiser? Check out Mike Ivankovich’s “What it’s Worth Antiques and Collectibles Roadshow Events” at michaelivankovichappraisals.com.

April 10, 2021

Kehila Kedosha Janina Virtual Tour

Learn about the community of Kehila Kedosha Janina (the Holy Community of Janina) and discover the nearly 2,300-year-old history of the Romaniote Jews of Greece and their American descendants. Romaniote Jews are a unique community of Jewish people whose history in Greece dates back over two thousand three hundred years to the time of Alexander the Great. The Romaniotes are historically distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Greece after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

The congregation was first organized in New York in 1906 by Greek-speaking Romaniote Jews from the city of Ioannina in Northwestern Greece. Kehila Kedosha Janina was built in 1927 and is still at its original location on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and a designated New York City Landmark since 2004, it is the last remaining Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.

The approximately 45-minute Zoom presentation by Marcia Ikonompoulos, Museum Director and congregant, takes you through the history of the Romaniotes in Greece, their immigration to the United States, the effect of the Holocaust on their Greek community, and into the present day with descendants now spread across the United States.  Historic photographs and artifacts from the congregation’s museum add unique insight and meaning into the presentation. A question-and-answer session is included.

In lieu of a fee for this program a $100 donation to help support this historic congregation is requested. For more information, go to https://www.kkjsm.org or contact Ms. Ikonompoulos at (516) 456-9336 or museum@kkjsm.org.

 

March 22, 2021

This program is both a culinary history of the Jewish delicatessen as well as a cultural history of four generations of Jews in America, from 1880 to the present. This humorous and educational multimedia history is based on comedian Seth Front’s Jewish Zodiac, a deli food parody of the Chinese zodiac. Using the twelve most iconic deli foods which comprise his Jewish Zodiac (Year of the Bagel, Year of the Pastrami, Year of the Schmear, etc.), Seth explains how deli foods – and Jews – arrived, adapted, assimilated, and returned to authenticity over four generations in America.   

About Seth Front: 

Seth Front is a comedian and rabbi’s son who uses humor to emotionally connect Jews to their heritage and faith. A graduate of the USC School of Cinema-Television, he co-wrote the feature film comedy “Nickel and Dime.” In 2009, Seth turned a joke about a deli food zodiac into a gift company called Jewish Zodiac. Jewish Zodiac has been profiled on KCRW’s Good Food radio show as well as in the LA Times and LA Weekly, and he has performed stand-up in Los Angeles at venues including The Comedy Store and Flappers. 

Pre-COVID, Seth entertained synagogues all over the country with this program. In this era of social distancing, it is the perfect “ed-Jew-tainment” event for Zoom audiences. And we could all use a laugh these days.  

The cost for Seth Front’s presentation is $360 making this the perfect program on which to partner with another sisterhood or even your Men’s Club. To round out this event, plan a parking lot Deli Dinner Pickup for your participants to enjoy!

He can be reached at SethFront5@gmail.com or via phone at 818.645.2670. 

 

March 16, 2021

Reimagining the Balabusta–A Workshop with Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein

What comes to mind when you think of the word “Balabusta”?

Do you see a stocky woman baking challah, hand rolling kneidlach, and curing every ailment in her family? Let’s rethink the powerful Jewish woman for our world.

This interactive Zoom workshop is about:

  • Noticing how we are wasting our energy trying to please everyone around us
  • Bringing awareness to how we are reacting, interpreting and blaming ourselves and others
  • Looking at who we TRULY are and not who we are TRYING to be
  • Living out our deepest values as Jewish women in a new age
  • Reclaiming control over our lives with our willingness to let go of control
  • And so much more…all based on our beautiful ancient Jewish traditions and modern coaching techniques.

This is Judaism for the 21st Century

Tradition and change. Deep, impactful, life-altering wisdom that was there all along. Contact Rabbi Bernstein at rabbi.bernstein@cbohr.org so she can help your Sisterhood reinvent the Balabusta for the 21st Century.

There is no fee for this program.

 

March 9, 2021
Plan Now for Shavuot!

Synagogues and homes are traditionally adorned with fresh greens and flowers in honor of Shavuot. Small trees, leafy or flowering plants, boughs, and floral arrangements are placed around the sanctuary and near the ark, as well as around the house and on the dining table. As an agricultural holiday, Shavuot has always been linked to plant life. In particular, the baskets used to transport fruits first to the Temple were adorned with flowers and leaves. According to another explanation for the decorative scheme, the greens recall Sinai itself. The fact that the Israelites were warned not to allow their livestock to graze near the mountain indicates there was a grassy oasis at its base. The greens serve as vibrant reminders that Torah is “a tree of life to those who hold fast to it.” 
 
Founded in 2015, Alice’s Table hosts award-winning, virtual experiences nationwide. Guests can choose from a curated selection of workshops, receive materials delivered directly to their door, and create something amazing with an expert host. Each participant will receive farm-fresh flowers and join the floral expert for a virtual flower arranging workshop. Guests will learn step-by-step how to create a beautiful seasonal arrangement in a stylish vase. Alternatively, your group may choose to create a gorgeous succulent planter arrangement to enjoy for months to come! 
 
Do you have a group of 15 or more? Contact Alice’s Table at https://alicestable.com to learn more about their private event offerings! Events range from $65-$125 per person.
 
NOTE: Contact your local florist to see it they might offer a floral arrangement program with local pick up of materials which may lower pricing.

 

March 2, 2021
If These Knishes Could Talk… The Story of the New York Accent

Want to have a free and fun night with your Sisterhood? Plan a movie night via Zoom! Free through this YouTube link, https://www.youtube.com/knishes, or available for just a few dollars on Amazon, your Zoom host can click to “Share Screen,” “Share Audio” and “Optimize Video” and you’ll be at the movies with your friends!

This comical documentary explores the history of the New York accent, what it is, how it evolved, and the love/hate relationship New Yorkers have with it. It showcases writer Pete Hamill, director Penny Marshall, attorney Alan Dershowitz and screenwriter James McBride. It also follows why New Yorkers eat chawclate (chocolate) and drink cawfee (coffee), and how the accent became the vibrant soundtrack of the city.

Be sure to make this a B.Y.O.P… Bring Your Own Popcorn and allow time after the movie (which is 53 minutes) for discussion and schmoozing.

Other movies to consider:

  1. Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream (https://www.amazon.com/Streits)
  2. The Jewish American Journey (https://www.amazon.com/Journey)
  3. In Search of Israeli Cuisine (https://www.amazon.com/Israeli)
  4. New York Cantors (https://www.amazon.com/Cantors)

 

February 26, 2021
Go Where You Haven’t Gone Before!

Would you like to tour secret and hidden places in Israel? Contact Itamar Ben David, a young, friendly and enthusiastic guide who knows all the most interesting places to take you to! Itamar is a VIP tour guide in Israel and due to the Covid19 pandemic, he started to guide live, interactive tours via Zoom! With over 14 years of experience guiding thousands of happy travelers all over Israel, he’d be more than happy to share his knowledge and passion with you! Check out his website: www.itamarbendavid.com. 

Suggested Virtual Tour: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

Amazing virtual tour of the holiest place on earth…The Temple Mount! You will hear all about the traditions at the bridge between Heaven and Earth and learn about the cradle of monotheism. After a short “flight” from your homes to Israel, you will take the highway from Ben Gurion airport directly to Jerusalem. You will learn about the Old City and focus on the Temple Mount/Mount Moriah, the cradle of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You will virtually walk and explore the plaza, admire the buildings, and learn about the different traditions that make this place so important to billions of believers.

Another Suggested Virtual Tour: Jewish Heritage Tour to the Galilee

From the ancient synagogues of Tiberias and Meron to the ones in Tzfat, from Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon to Ha-Ari, you will cover the history of the Jews in the Galilee after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and all the way to the glorious days of Kabbalah. You will also see how the spiritual development affected modern Israel! 

For up to 50 participants, the fee is $220 for a one-hour presentation plus time for Q&A. For 50-99 participants it is $300. This is the perfect program to consider partnering with another Sisterhood or your synagogue’s Men’s Club to halve your expenses!

 

February 19, 2021
Now is the time to plan for Spring!
How Does Your Garden Grow?

Home gardening has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic. Stories of lockdown-driven home gardening leading to sales booms have been reported in garden stores around the country from Oregon to Minnesota to Ohio to Florida. Home gardening has offered a safe outdoor pastime while growing food for your own table.

However, there’s a learning curve to outdoor gardening. Without proper knowledge, visions of a fresh garden salad can become wilted leaves and inedible vegetables. What is soil pH? Blossom end rot? Powdery mildew? Spider mites?

Spring will be here before you know it and along with it will come planting season. Many members may be interested in a Zoom gardening class. There are a number of resources that should be available to Sisterhoods.

  • A large, local garden center should have a horticulturist on staff. They may already be doing Zoom programs for customers. Their staff will know about growing conditions in your area and will be able to guide your members as to what to plant. They may do this for free or low cost as a way of attracting new customers.
  • Contact a garden club. There are many clubs with members that have lead lectures in the past in both vegetable and flower gardening. They should be easy to locate on Facebook or with an Internet search.
  • Your state should have gardening information through either the Department of Agriculture or Health. They may be able to provide speakers directly or refer you to an authority.
  • Check with any public gardens, arboretums, historic sites, etc. for speaker availability. Many have teaching staff who would be able to do a Zoom program.

Greatgardenspeakers.com has a wide variety of topics. Their experienced speakers come from virtually every state. Contact information is on the site.

Gardening provides exercise, an outdoor experience, and the pride of growing your own food. Let’s help our members have a great harvest this year.

 

 

February 12, 2021

Passover Programming Ideas

With Passover beginning this year on March 27, many of us are thinking about what our Sisterhood can do virtually to recognize, celebrate and honor the traditions of the holiday. Below you will find several ideas that ascend from the very simple to the more complex. As always, feel free to contact me to further discuss any of these concepts!

  1. Adult Coloring has become all the rage and has helped millions to relax and relieve stress. Inexpensive Pesach-themed coloring pages are available to download and share online. Via Zoom, plan a BYOCP (Bring Your Own Colored Pencils) night and create a beautiful design to display at your Seder. Since this is an easy craft to start and stop and start again, you don’t have to complete it in one evening. In fact, you can use this coloring craft during the hectic holiday times to enjoy a mess-free “YOU TIME.” For inspiration: Click Here (Free or very inexpensive)
  2. Build a Matzah Pyramid! Arrange a Drive-Thru Matzah Collection. As the cars drop off the matzah boxes, organize the boxes (preferably 5 pounders) into a triangle. It only takes two or three socially distanced volunteers to accept and arrange the display. Remember to take some pictures to share with your members and to put in your synagogue’s bulletin! Coordinate a donation to a local food pantry as the culmination of your Sisterhood’s efforts.
  3. With so many wine glasses floating around a Seder table, it would be smart and fun to create a way to designate each guest’s glass. Create Wine Glass Charms! Click Here to order inexpensive silver wine glass ring assemble packets with materials to create 4-6 wine glass charms by filling a snack size baggie with the rings, themed charms, and colorful beads such as these: Click Here. Encourage your participants to BYOG (Bring Your Own Glass), preferably filled with wine, to sip and demonstrate her creations! (You will need to approximate your number of participants and order your supplies accordingly. Make sure to charge enough to cover your expenses and to make a little extra!) Note: If you prefer to keep it simple, order ONE style of Jewish themed charm and encourage your participants to differentiate the rings with the colorful beads.
  4. Plan a Cooking Demonstration (or Cook Along). Select four Sisterhood members to present their recipes. You can assign an appetizer, main dish, side dish, and dessert to them. Alternatively, you can make this a “Just Desserts” demonstration. Make sure to send all your Zoom viewers the recipes (if they’re just watching) or the recipes and ingredient lists if they’re cooking/baking along.  As an add on to this, you can create a recipe exchange within your Sisterhood group.

February 5, 2021

Mah Jongg Madness Continues in Quarantine

Whether your Sisterhood would like to plan an afternoon (or evening) of play or perhaps a fundraising tournament, not even a pandemic can keep us from enjoying Mah Jongg! Using the online option www.realmahjongg.com you can bring your members B’Yachad, together, for some distracting fun.

All your members will need is a desktop, iPad, iPhone, or android device and her own card to play.

For a tournament, play at rotating tables using tournament scoring to win prizes (Amazon eCards are super easy to send). You can also sell raffle tickets prior to the event day for chances to win additional prizes while raising even more funds.

Things you’ll need to do:

  •    Set cost to register. A fair tournament entrance is often $20-$25.
  •    Set pricing for raffle tickets. 4 for $10 and 10 for $20 gives the incentive to buy more.
  •    Set raffle ticket prize amounts.
  •    Make sure to collect the email address for each registrant in order to be able to send prizes.

For more information, Helene Urbaitel, of Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood in Atlanta, GA, has graciously agreed to be available to answer questions via email at helene@bethshalom.net.

 

January 28 2021

Visit the Kotel Without Leaving Home!
 
“The Kotel: A Case Study for Jewish Pluralism in Israel, a Conversation with Devora Greenberg and Tammy Gottlieb.”
 
Devora Greenberg is the Director of the Education and Activism Department of the Jewish Pluralism Watch and Director of the Masorti’s Rav Siach Program and Tammy Gottlieb is Vice Chair of Women of the Wall. These amazing women will take you on a tour and share their inspiring stories of how they came to be female activists fighting for Jewish Pluralism at the Kotel.
 
This program is currently being offered by Forest Hills Jewish Center Sisterhood, Queens, NY on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 10:30 AM EST via Zoom. All are welcome!
 
For more information, please email sisterhood@fhjc.org.
 
Alternatively, you can contact Devora at Devora@masorti.org.il and Tammy at Info@womenofthewall.org.il to design your own program
 

January 22, 2021

It is Possible to Fundraise Virtually!

As you may know, Headline Entertainment has been successfully booking virtual/zoom shows throughout the pandemic. Although we now see light at the end of the tunnel, we still have months to go before we can see in person live shows. Headline Entertainment is offering special pricing for bigger name talent during the pandemic from The Tonight Show, to America’s Got Talent, and more – most of whom are on their website, www.headlineentertainment.us.

If you’d like to learn more about booking a Comedy Show Fundraiser, call Johnny Lampert (845-639-0620) and he will walk you through the simple steps and secure something great for you while also helping everyone stay connected with one another! 
Remember, laughter is good for the soul!

 

January 15, 2021

From Baghdad to Calcutta

Tel Aviv Street Art Tour will take you through the most visible and famous graffiti in town, as well as some of the most hidden pieces of street art, and it will uncover their stories for you.

Graffiti in Israel was boosted in the early 2000s largely due to the British artist Banksy, one of the world’s most famous street art artists, who visited Israel and the Palestinian Authorities, causing a stir in the local scene. Some pieces of Tel Aviv street art are well-executed artworks representing the artistic flair of the city while others have a political or social criticism and can serve as a crash course to Israeli society. Explore Tel Aviv’s urban art and, through it, explore provoking, moving, fascinating pieces of history, politics, and culture of Israel itself. 

Contact LET for more information at shalom@let.travel

January 8, 2021

Graffiti Tour of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Street Art Tour will take you through the most visible and famous graffiti in town, as well as some of the most hidden pieces of street art, and it will uncover their stories for you.

Graffiti in Israel was boosted in the early 2000s largely due to the British artist Banksy, one of the world’s most famous street art artists, who visited Israel and the Palestinian Authorities, causing a stir in the local scene. Some pieces of Tel Aviv street art are well-executed artworks representing the artistic flair of the city while others have a political or social criticism and can serve as a crash course to Israeli society. Explore Tel Aviv’s urban art and, through it, explore provoking, moving, fascinating pieces of history, politics, and culture of Israel itself. 

Contact LET for more information at shalom@let.travel

January 1, 2021

Then and Now: 100 Years Ago. A look at the amazing similarities between our world 100 years ago and today.

 
This program features Dr. Margery Marcus, an award-winning teacher, literature and mystery aficionado, known throughout Florida and beyond for her dynamic lecture series on a myriad of topics. Well known for her storytelling ability, her topics run the gamut from Book Censorship to Time Magazine Covers to Royals Who Rocked the World. Her career has been guided by a deep love of learning which began when she read the very first page of Charlotte’s Web as a child. Dr. Marcus holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The College of New Jersey, as well as a Master’s Degree and Doctorate, both in Education. 
 
Dr. Marcus appears often at conference centers, JCC’s, and in community clubhouses throughout South Florida. Utilizing the power of Zoom, Dr, Marcus lectures “live” for the Osher Lifelong Learning programs in Jupiter and Boca Raton and for Brooklyn College in NY. Her popular lectures are favorites with Nova Southeastern University’s adult lecture series, Brandeis groups and Hadassah chapters, as well as Sisterhoods and Men’s Clubs. 
 
America reluctantly drawn into conflict abroad. Contentious politics and headaches from Mexico. Face masks and quarantines. Women fighting for gender equality and new technologies making life better. Today’s world? No, one hundred years ago! Join Dr. Margery Marcus as she examines the remarkable parallels in history, politics, and daily life between one hundred years ago and today. The topic, “Then and Now: 100 Years Ago. A look at the amazing similarities between our world 100 years ago and today,” is an excellent, informative and relevant presentation.  
 
$200 for a presentation.  
 
You can contact Dr. Marcus at (954) 752-7887.
Submitted by Donna Bennett
Sisterhood President, Tifereth Israel 
Bensalem, PA
 
Submitted by Grace Schessler
WLCJ VP, Programming Team
gschessler@wlcj.org
 
 
December 21, 2020

The Word Havens

Authors Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic are the award-winning authors of the Dictionary of Jewish Words (Jewish Publication Society 2006), The Whole Spiel: Funny Essays About Digital Nudniks, Seder Selfies and Chicken Soup Memories (Incompra Press 2016) and Stuff Every Grandmother Should Know (Quirk Press Feb. 2019).

For more than 15 years, The Word Mavens have shlepped around the country to schmooze with Sisterhoods, Men’s Clubs, JCCs, seniors and communal groups, sharing their insights from years of researching and writing about Jewish life. Since the spring, they’ve been Zooming around the country to speak to their audiences.

In their humorous book talk, The Word Mavens celebrate Jewish traditions, holidays, beloved foods and the Yiddish and Hebrew words that describe them. Their program which includes everything from fun facts about bagels to why there is no substitute for a good “Oy!” – rekindles childhood memories and makes audiences laugh out loud.

They are charging $200 for an hour long program over Zoom, with extra time at the end to read and answer questions and to schmooze.

People really love their take and they have some funny props that they show (because they can’t really talk with the audience).

Sisterhoods can reach them by email -info@thewordmavens.com – or get more information (samples of their writing and their presentations) on their website: thewordmavens.com

This can be used as a joint program with other Sisterhoods or even with your Men’s Club. It can also replace your paid-up membership program as a thank you to your members.

 
 
December 14, 2020
 
Virtual Ellis Island Tour
 
 
Michael Morgenthal is a licensed NYC Tour guide who has been leading tours to Ellis Island for nearly 10 years. He has roots on Ellis Island as his great grandparents came through from the Ukraine back in 1905.
 
About the Tour:
The virtual tour lasts about 90 minutes (although this can be shortened to suit your needs) and can be conducted through Zoom or other webinar platforms. (Michael uses Zoom – you can use his account, or you could use your own account if you have one).
 
It is a mix of video, still images, and Michael’s commentary throughout the program. There is also time for Q&A at the end of the discussion. Sisterhood members can share their family histories as well if they desire.
 
The tour is ready to go and Michael can schedule it at your availability.
 
The cost is a flat $250 fee for up to 50 people for each time the tour is scheduled. For each person above 50, it would cost an additional $10. He can accept payment via check, credit card, PayPal, Zelle or Venmo. 
You may want to consider giving this tour as a “gift” to your Sisterhood in lieu of a paid up membership brunch, luncheon or dinner.
It is also an excellent program to do as a joint program with other Sisterhoods in your “neighborhood” whether that is locally or by Zoom so you can share the cost of the program.
His contact info is michaelmorgenthal@gmail.com
 
 
 
December 8, 2020
 
Another Great Alternative for a P.U.M.P…
Paid up Membership Program or Torah Fund Fundraiser
If you’re looking for something fun, interactive, and professionally facilitated to offer your members in lieu of a P.U.M.P. or even a Torah Fund Fundraiser, consider checking out www.triviahublive.io today! They offer several different packages AND a very generous non-profit discount! My own Sisterhood, Midway Jewish Center in Syosset, NY hired them for our P.U.M.P. and the feedback we received was incredibly positive. Our master host, David Harris, made this evening extra special with his warmth and humor. Best of all, other than advertising the program and keeping track of the RSVPs (so you can send out the company’s Zoom link), there is little else Programming Chairs have to do to make this program an easy success! Yes… even the event chairs will be able to truly enjoy this program as a guest! The host will randomly break up the participants into teams, send them into breakout rooms to answer each question, and keep track of the leaderboard. Bonus: triviahublive.io provides the first place team with prizes that are sent via emails to the winners. The topics are wide-ranging and lead to lots of laughs. Don’t forget to tell your participants to bring a cup of tea or a glass of wine to the computer with her!  
 
Note: If you choose to run this program as a fundraiser… estimate the number of participants to expect to have and charge a fee that covers the cost of the program per person and allows extra income to then be donated.
 
 

December 1, 2020

Hanukkah Package: Travel to 8 Destions
 
The Programming Idea of the Week can double as a Sisterhood Hanukkah program or can be a special gift for friends, family, or even yourself! 
 
Check out www.jewishmajorca.com to learn about an exciting opportunity that has been organized this year. Have your vacation plans been canceled but you’d still like to travel? Are you wondering with whom you will spend the Hanukkah nights? Well, you’re invited to take a virtual trip around the world to meet Jews in far-off places! Join eight international Jews from across the globe as they guide you in exploring local Jewish geography, uncover fascinating hidden gems of history, and share personal stories that will inspire you.
 
Uganda, Australia and New Zealand, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Russia, Spain and Argentina all await you. All sessions are one hour long and are, of course, in English. Each day of Hanukkah, at the same time (4pm EST) you will hop onto a virtual tour bus.
 
Note: Sisterhoods can offer one “trip” during Hanukkah then light candles together upon your return “home.” Each trip is 18eu = 22 USD or 72eu = 88 USD for the complete package.
 
Bon Voyage!

 

 November 25, 2020

Meet Me at the Met


Photo by Tomas Eidsvold

Your Sisterhood or Region may find a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City a fascinating program. Whether distance or the coronavirus makes a Zoom visit the most appropriate, The Met offers a number of engaging online discussions led by a Museum guide.

Current offered tours include:

Museum Highlights: Discover works of art that highlight the diversity and breadth of the Museum’s collection, which spans more than 5,000 years.

American Art: Explore The American Wing, including Native American art, through paintings, sculpture, and historic interiors, ranging from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century.

Art of the Ancient World: Contains art created across cultures in the ancient world, from China, Egypt, Greece and Rome, to the Americas.

The Met Cloisters: View highlights of The Met Cloisters, the only American museum dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, home of the famous Unicorn Tapestries.

Modern and Contemporary Art: A wide range of art created across the world in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries will be showcased.

Special Exhibition About Time: Fashion and Duration The Costume Institute’s 2020 exhibition traces a century and a half of fashion—from 1870 to the present—on the occasion of The Met’s 150th anniversary.

A 60-minute online tour has a maximum 40 people per reservation. Tours are available Monday through Friday, 10 am to 3 pm. Limited appointments are available on weekends.

There is a $300 flat fee per adult group. However, discounts are granted on a case by case basis. The administration recommended contacting them directly to discuss your group. Payment is due one week in advance.

Grace Schessler
International VP WLCJ and Program Chair

gschessler@wlcj.org

 

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Bingo

www.myfreebingocards.com is a website through which you can play BINGO virtually. The fundraising aspect of the program depends on how much you choose to charge your participants. My Sisterhood chose to do 3 cards for $10. Here are the basic steps to follow:

 
  1. Determine about how many cards you will need, based on how many you’re giving for each person’s fee and the anticipated number of players.
  2. The program allows you to send the links to the cards by either entering the participants’ email addresses or by copying and pasting the links into individual emails.
  3. Encourage your players to print out their cards at home and to use candies, coins, or buttons as markers. Don’t let them write on the cards as you will be playing multiple games with the same cards.
  4. Set up a Zoom call and send that information along with the links. 
  5. It is a good idea for you to keep track of who received which cards. They are numbered.
  6. The program has 100 calling sequences. Use a different sequence for each game played.
  7. If you have your players muted, have them unmute to call BINGO.
  8. Ask winners to give you the number of the card. You type it in and you’ll see their actual card pop up on your screen. 
  9. The caller needs two devices: one for the game and one for Zoom. You could use one but it is difficult to swipe back and forth.
  10. Keep track of the winners.
  11. We sent electronic gift cards through Amazon so you don’t have to mail prizes.
  12. Caller should print out the fun bingo calls to keep it entertaining.
 
I know it sounds like a lot to keep track of but the website’s YouTube videos are really helpful and organization is key!
 
Grace Schessler
International VP WLCJ and Program Chair

 

 

NOVEMBER 9, 2020

New Year Greeting Card

 Your Sisterhood may want to do something to help raise funds for programming and for your synagogue. Here is a New Year Greeting Card fundraiser held annually by my Sisterhood in Las Vegas.

We send out a solicitation card to the whole congregation. [To view a copy of the card, click here]. It is printed on card stock and as you can see, will be cut in two after it is printed. I have shown both sides, so you can see how to do it. We send this out in late summer so that people have plenty of time to answer.

Sometimes it is necessary to call people, who have participated in the past or those you think may wish to be included in your card, with a friendly reminder.

Involvement is strong and we have raised thousands of dollars, even after printing and mailing expenses!

Also available for you to view is the format we used for our card. It is a tri-fold layout. [To view a copy of the trifold card, click here]. When you see it on the computer, the middle section, when folded, is actually the front of the card. You can attach your mailing label directly on the card there. The left side is on the inside when folded and the right side is the back when folded.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: memarkfas@cox.net
Kim Memar
WLCJ Programming Committee Member

 

NOVEMBER 3, 2020

Bob Alper: The World’s only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy… intentionally!

 

Bob’s unique background (he’s an ordained rabbi who served congregations for fourteen years and holds a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary) prepared him well for a twenty-seven year comedy career with wonderfully unique material presented in a way that’s intelligent, sophisticated, and 100% clean. Bob performs all across North America and England, at corporate events, theaters, non-profits, conventions, private parties, churches, and, naturally, synagogues.

“The Spirituality of Laughter” Has been adapted to a Zoom format. It’s a Jewish look at the Holiness of Humor. This program is part informal sermon (with plenty of laughs) exploring how Judaism values the spiritual, psychological, and physiological benefits of laughter, followed by 30 minutes of pure stand-up comedy! Rabbi Alper has other Zoom formatted programs available as well.

To find out more, check out www.bobalper.com or
contact Rabbi Alper at 802-362-5151 or email info@bobalper.com

 

OCTOBER 19, 2020

About the Exhibit:

Judith Leiber: Master Craftsman tells the story of a fearless woman ahead of her time. This exhibition honors the Holocaust survivor-turned-mega-designer’s life, work and legacy and will feature photographs of Leiber alongside a comprehensive selection of Judith Leiber’s bags, belts, pillboxes and glasses, from collectors in Florida as well as from The Leiber Collection.

The contact person is Nancy Doyle Cohen, Museum Manager of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Her contact information is:
Office 786-972-3164
Cell 305-332-7791
nancohen@fiu.edu

The tour takes about an hour, which includes time for your sisterhood president/leader to make announcements plus have a few minutes of “socializing.” 

They give a brief overview about the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, followed by a two minute video explaining how the purses are created. Then, the museum curator shares her desktop and takes sisterhood members through the exhibit, providing commentary and information about the Leibers. There is also time for questions from your members at the end.

If anyone in your sisterhood has a Judith Leiber bag they would be welcome to share their bag and tell when and where they got it.  

There is not a set fee for the tour. Organizations have sent donations from $180 to as much as $500.  

This exhibit could be a “gift” given to your sisterhood rather than a paid up membership brunch, luncheon or dinner.  

It is also an excellent program to do as a joint program with other Sisterhoods in your “neighborhood” whether that is locally or by zoom.

 

OCTOBER 13, 2020

Wonderful “get to know my sisters better” program. 

  1. Set a date for this casual get together
  2. Advertise it as a “Have your favorite drink in hand and get to know your sisters a little better.”
  3. Tell each member to come to the meeting with 2 truths and a lie about themselves.
  4. Go around the room (zoom) and have each member tell their three “facts.”
  5. After each member tells their “facts” have everyone raise their hand on which “fact” they believe to be false. 
  6. The member tells the false fact and discussion usually follows. 
  7. Everyone gets a turn and you will definitely learn things about each other that you never knew before. 
  8. Encourage some seemingly far fetched and funny “facts.”


SEPTEMBER 29, 2020
Let’s go to the Movies: Join a Film discussion with (your Sisterhood name here)

With movie theaters closed or attendance restricted, choose a film for online viewing and schedule a discussion date. You can click on the attachments below for a selected list of Jewish themed films available online (of course, you can choose your own) and questions for the discussion facilitator. The facilitator can look up films on Wikipedia for synopses and information. A co-leader may be needed to help with discussion. Don’t forget your microwave popcorn!

This program can be held once a month or any frequency that suits your Sisterhood members.

  1. Choose a film and discussion date.
  2. Send information to your membership a month before the program to allow time for members to view the film.
  3. Ask for pre-registration in order to receive Zoom link.
  4. Send reminder out one week before discussion.
  5. Two days before discussion, send out Zoom link.
  6. Explain to attendees that everyone is muted. To speak, they need to use the “Raise Your Hand” feature.
  7. Co-leader can unmute those who raise their hands so there is one speaker at a time.
  8. Expect a lively discussion!

Jewish Films Available on Streaming Services

Questions for Leading a Film Discussion

 

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
The Mob Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada

You can have your guests view the online tour by themselves and give them a couple of days to get it done. Then you can all meet via zoom with an Educator from the Mob Museum for Q & A. Your guests view the current online tour at www.themobmuseum.org. You will need to email or call to set up the Zoom day and time for the Educator to meet with your guests. Plus, if people have other Mob-related or Las Vegas questions that are not featured in the Museum, they can still have those questions answered.

Contact info: Rodney Arnett, Jr., Sales Manager
702.724.8622
rarnett@themobmuseum.org

PS: Their AV/IT team is working on creating a fun virtual tour that multiple people can join.

 

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

 

Volunteer to Present: Homemade with (insert Sisterhood name here

The nicest part of this program is that everyone gets to spend about an hour together cooking, learning and schmoozing!

This program can be held once, once a week, once a month, or a few times a year around holiday time.

 

  1. First, ask for volunteers who would like to cook a favorite recipe in her own kitchen.
  2. Decide on the day of the week and the time you will hold the class.
  3. About one week before, send out the list of ingredients and materials you will need.
  4. Give the option of buying the ingredients and cooking along OR just watching.
  5. This will be done on Zoom so everyone but the cook will be muted.
  6. There should also be one other Sisterhood leader on the Zoom call to watch for questions written in the chat or if hands are raised.
  7. The cook should welcome everyone into her kitchen and also give some info about the recipe they are cooking.
  8. Teach how to cook the recipe, step by step.