The Executive Officers, Trustees and Coordinators of Standing Committees meet monthly to plan and execute the programs and activities of the Sisterhood. The Executive Officers and Trustees are elected bi-annually by the Sisterhood membership at a May general meeting to hold office for a one or two-year term. Committees are formed and Coordinators are appointed by the President with approval of the Sisterhood Board as the need arises.
Sisterhood of Temple Sholom, Women of Reform Judaism
June 2017 – June 2018
President: Toni Kennedy
Co-Vice-Presidents, Membership Development: Jean Angus & Eve Silverman
Co-Vice President, Marketing & Communications: Annette Kozicki
Vice-President, Programming: Jenny Glickman-Rynd
Co-Vice-Presidents, Social & Community Action: Debbie Rootman & Jill Bloom
Treasurer: Alisa Streat
Recording Secretary: Linda Arato
Immediate Past President: Reesa Devlin
Alison Klein (2016- 2018)
Anna Chmielewski (2016-2018)
Barbara Brezer (2017-2019)
Donna Ornstein (2017-2019)
Helen Mendes (2017-2019)
Mary Kleiner (2017-2019)
Myra Elson (2017-2019)
Paula Simson (2017-2019)
Chairs of Committees
WRJ YES Fund Cards: Helen Parker
Book & a Bite: Iris Dayson & Alisa Streat
Shabbat Lunches: Sara Ciacci
Sisterhood Service: Jean Angus
Sisterhood Choir: Joyce Cherry
Women’s Knitting Circle: Elaine Book
Rosh Chodesh Renewal: Kathy Jones
WRJ Lilith Salons: Donna Ornstein
Mah Jongg: Alicia Matas
Walking Group: Myra Elson
Social & Community Action:
Dress for Success: Debbie Rootman
Kits for Kids: Jill Bloom
Soup Schvesters: Debbie Rootman & Myra Elson
Tikun Olam Gogos: Jill Bloom
History Book: Donna Ornstein
Constitution, Procedures & Policies: Donna Ornstein
My journey to sisterhood began ten years ago. I was living in Alberta where I had retired from my teaching career working with children from elementary age to university age, my parents had passed and my other Alberta dreams had ended. My daughter had moved to Vancouver the year before to set her dreams in motion. So July 3, 2007, I found myself in Vancouver only knowing one other person, my daughter. Almost immediately, I joined Temple Sholom. As I was filling out the various forms, Rochelle Garfinkel encouraged me to join sisterhood and so I did. That night I got a call from the Vice-President, Membership, and she invited me to join the membership committee.
Things have changed for me in the last ten years. My daughter has moved on to Los Angeles to develop her career. I became a trustee on our sisterhood board and then Vice-President, Membership Development (2013 – 2015), Executive Vice-President (2015 – 2017) and now President (2017 – 2019). I also represented our Sisterhood at many conventions and board meetings of the WRJ Pacific District and took on the position of Area Director (2012 – 2016) and now Vice-President (2016 – 2018) of the Pacific Northwest area of the WRJ Pacific District which involves communicating with and mentoring Sisterhood Presidents from Portland, OR, Seattle, Bellevue, Des Moines, Tacoma, and Vancouver, WA. The women I have met because of sisterhood have become life-long friends. It is my hope that our sisterhood can continue to work on relationship building and community.
I have been a member of Temple Sholom since 1979. My first position on the Sisterhood Board was as Secretary. I have held several positions on the Sisterhood Board since then and became President six weeks after losing our beloved synagogue on West 10th Avenue. I am now serving as Co-Vice-President, Membership maintaining the Sisterhood membership information and I arrange participation in Sisterhood services.I have served on the Temple Board for over twenty years and am chair of the Ritual Committee. After retiring, I became active in Sisterhood groups: Tikun Olam, Rosh Chodesh Renewal and Women’s Knitting Circle. I enjoy going to plays, music concerts, and photography.
I relocated to Metro Vancouver in 1989.Originally from Montreal, I also spent some years in Ottawa and Toronto. I joined Burquest Jewish Community around 2000 and my son Matthew had his Bar Mitzvah there. I joined Sisterhood of Temple Sholom in 2014. In Sisterhood, I have been involved in the Book Club, Autumn Fling, served as a Trustee in 2016-2017 and am taking on Co-Vice-President, Membership Development for 2017-2019. As I get to know the members of Temple Sholom and do more volunteering on various projects, I realize being a member is like coming home.
When I left the high tech industry in 2009, I followed my interest in working with seniors, taking on a role as a leasing manager at an independent seniors residence. I took certificate courses on aging and opened up my own company focused on assisting seniors. I also wrote a monthly column for the local paper called “Ask Eve” focusing on issues regarding seniors. Since retiring I have volunteered in organizations that focus on the aging population. I am now a leader and presenter for COSCO Health and Wellness (Council of Senior Citizens). Most recently I have gone back to an earlier passion of creating various crafts.
I grew up in Temple Sholom, having been a member since 1986. After a decade in Europe I returned home in 2009 and joined Sisterhood at that time. Since then I started the Knitting Circle, sang in the Sisterhood Choir, and volunteered on countless programs & events. I am currently the Co-VP of Marketing (social media) and photographer at most events as well. My husband Ryan and I are blessed with 2 beautiful children and a family run contracting and renovations business. I also teach at Temple Sholom Religious School, and tutor B’nei Mitzvah students.
I joined the Temple Sholom community after moving to Vancouver from Calgary in 2010. Once here, I became involved in the Temple school, both as a teacher and interim principal while Jen Jaffe was on Maternity leave (twice in fact!) For my spiritual enrichment, Torah study on Shabbat mornings has provided a place to ask big questions and when followed by Naomi’s chanting and our Rabbis’ thoughts at services, I am well enriched. As far as sisterhood is concerned, I participated in many sisterhood events before joining the board in 2015 as Vice-President, Programming, such as taking my husband dancing at the Autumn Fling which is a huge favourite of mine. Since joining the board, I have learned a lot about the wide range of work sisterhood does, but my focus has been on the Women’s Seder. Since my retirement in 2015, I have found that, in addition to Sisterhood, grandchildren, books, community, cooking and eating great food, in addition to discovering Vancouver are forming a good life.
I have been a member of Temple Sholom and Sisterhood since 1985. Sisterhood was a great way to get involved with Temple activities and meet some amazing women. I was on the Sisterhood executive for about 12 years: 6 as a Vice president and then Co-President with Gayda Coblin from 2000 to 2002. I am a native Calgarian and my career was in fashion and I undertook a couple of fun fashion shows for Sisterhood. In 2002 I bought and ran a bakery on Mayne Island for 5 years; Sisterhood even visited for an outing which demonstrates the power of the friendships in Sisterhood. Upon returning to Vancouver in 2007, I became a volunteer with the Jewish Food Bank and then in 2014 I joined the Sisterhood board as Co-Vice-President, Social Action & Community Action, initiating Soup Schvesters. I am grateful to have received the Jan Pollock Volunteer Recognition award in June 2017.
In November 2014, my husband, Larry and I joined Temple Sholom as members. I became involved with the Sisterhood to become an active participant in the Temple community. I left my position as Director of Mental Health Services at a non-profit agency in the summer of 2014 and upon retirement, I wanted to find volunteer opportunities that would be meaningful to me. Social action has always been a passion and for some years I had managed my organization’s volunteer programs as part of my portfolio.Given my background, I felt that the social action initiatives within the Sisterhood would be a good fit. I accepted the position of Sisterhood Co-Vice-President, Social & Community Action and coordinate the Kits for Kids program (formerly Bedtime Kits for Kids). I also volunteer for the Sisterhood’s Tikkun Olam Gogos which supports the “Grandmothers to Grandmothers” program in Africa participate on the committee for one of the Temple’s Syrian Family projects. In my spare time, I enjoy golf, reading, gardening, cooking and activities in the lives of my four grandchildren. I am proud to be a part of the Sisterhood at Temple Sholom. I have developed new and I know, lasting friendships and appreciate the support and encouragement that I have received from the Sisterhood.
In 1975, I moved to Vancouver from Montreal with the intention of staying one year only but I am still here because I can’t think of a reason to leave! I joined Temple Sholom in 1991. From that time, I volunteered in the Judaica Gift Shop on Sunday mornings, initially because I couldn’t think of anything else to do while my kids were in religious school, but finally because it was a fun connection to the synagogue and sisterhood. In 2010, I retired from my position as business analyst at BC’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital. With retirement, I became more active in sisterhood. I am co-chair of Sisterhood’s Book-and-Bite book club. I prefer to read non-fiction, but because I belong to three book clubs, I read a lot of fiction, too, which I find is better for small-talk! For the past two years, I have been very involved in behind-the-scenes work on the Autumn Fling and in 2017 I am starting a new role as Sisterhood Treasurer. As a child, I remember how active my mother was in her sisterhood, and I took it for granted that all synagogues have sisterhoods as dynamic as ours. It was a surprise to learn that ours is the only active sisterhood in the Lower Mainland. I am pleased to be associated with such a wonderful group of women.
I have been involved in community work since my youth. I am a long time Board member of NCJW, Vancouver Section. I joined Temple Sholom in the mid-1990s with my late husband, George, and later became a Trustee of Sisterhood. I then served as Executive VP of Sisterhood from 2006 – 2010 and during that time I ran the Book & a Bagel group. I am currently the Recording Secretary for Sisterhood. I enjoy the opportunity for Torah study as part of Sisterhood’s Rosh Chodesh Renewal and the exchange of ideas on how Judaism evolved and what it means to me. I was privileged to study for and become a Bat Mitzvah in 2013 with 4 other Sisterhood members. I am retired and spend time with my grandchildren. I am an avid reader (2 book clubs). I love music from ABBA to opera and enjoy speaking French and trying to speak Italian. I am a past member of Abreast in a Boat with which I paddled for 7 years. I love travelling and learn from my experiences by keeping a journal.
My husband Bob and I and our three children moved from Winnipeg to Metro Vancouver in 1990. I became involved with the Burquest Jewish Community Association where I chaired several positions on the board and served as President and then Past President from 2002-2007. Bob was instrumental in finding a permanent home for the community It took us a year to oversee the renovations to the building, put in classrooms, a full kitchen with all the utensils and dishes and purchasing chairs and everything else needed to run a Synagogue, Hebrew classes and a Jewish Community Centre. In 1998 we built a home in The Village of Anmore. We became members of Temple Sholom in 2002 and I became involved in Sisterhood in 2007 as Vice-President, Fundraising. I chaired our annual Autumn Fling 2007 to 2016 which became our major fundraiser for the year and which won a Kavod award from the WRJ Pacific District. Bob and I hosted many annual summer barbecues in our home for all Sisterhood members and their spouses to thank the volunteers for all they have done. This program was also the recipient of a Kavod award for Leadership Development. Getting to know and work with a group of talented women with a common goal, sharing stories, getting involved in each other’s lives and becoming enriched with Sisterhood’s many programs, discussions, and, services has been very fulfilling for me. In 2013, I was honored to be the recipient of the Jan Pollack Volunteer Recognition Award for outstanding commitment and contribution to sisterhood. In June of 2013 I became President of Sisterhood and I completed four years in this role in June 2017. In addition, during the last number of years I ran a luxury Bed and Breakfast out of our home and was very fulfilled doing all the things I love to do, cooking, entertaining, gardening, looking after people. We recently sold our home and I now keep busy with my three children, volunteering, and two years ago when we were blessed with our first grandchild who is the love and light in our lives.
I still plan on being very involved in Sisterhood and I look forward to travelling and spending time with our grandson.
Anna (Anya) Chmielewski
I have been living in the Vancouver area (presently in New Westminster) since 1996. I moved here from Montreal for work – project engineer, now project manager, in the high tech industry.
I joined Sisterhood in 2015 and have since met many wonderful and talented ladies. I have been serving as a trustee on the Sisterhood board and am happy to contribute in any way I can. I enjoy reading, writing, traveling, making documentary films, technology, and spending time with family and friends.
My husband, Neil, and I first joined the Temple in 1972. I was a Sisterhood Executive Officer from 2002 to 2017, including serving as Recording Secretary, Executive Vice-President, Sisterhood President (2006 to 2009) and Vice-President, Marketing & Communications (2009 – 2017). I undertook the marketing for Sisterhood from 2004 to 2017. In June 2017, I stepped back from the Executive to become a Trustee. I now chair the WRJ Lilith Salons and the Legal & Constitutional Committee. I have also held Executive Committee positions on the Board of the Women of Reform Judaism Pacific District as Corresponding Secretary and then Vice-President, Marketing and was proud to represent our Sisterhood at this level. Before retiring from my career in 2008, I was a Securities and Corporate Finance paralegal at major Vancouver law firms for over 40 years. In addition to ongoing volunteering for Sisterhood, I am busy with family and friends, taking care of loved ones, enjoying my home, travelling, Mah Jong and golf.
I have been a Temple member since 2003 and a Sisterhood member since 2005. Having spent my working life as an Executive Assistant, I semi-retired in l990 and began working with my husband in the family business. Upon complete retirement, volunteering became my focus. Some favorite volunteer jobs are: L’Chaim ADC (Board member), Vancouver Opera, Vancouver Symphony, Jewish Film Festival, and Louis Brier Auxiliary (Board member). In Sisterhood, I am responsible for the YES Fund cards of WRJ, and I enjoy participating in the Women’s Knitting Circle.
I have been an active member of Sisterhood since 1974. Over the years I served two separate terms as Sisterhood President; chaired and co-chaired a number of programs; and volunteered in many Sisterhood projects and fund raising activities. In addition to many short term chairmanships, I co-chaired Sisterhood’s catering committee for 15 years; Temple’s Second Passover Seders (previously organized by Sisterhood) for 22 years; and chaired Temple’s Break the Fast (originally a Sisterhood project) since1977 to the present. The preparation of food and fundraising are among my volunteer duties, I am currently a member of Sisterhood’s Soup Shvesters. Sisterhood members are a loving extended family who celebrated with me a Bat Mitzvah at age 80. Members did most of the work to publish my Cookbook at 90 and recently gave me love and courage during personal illnesses and family deaths. I retired 32 years ago from a career that included Temple’s first Secretary; Administrator for a major company; and Credit Manage for a well-known jewelry store. Being the first Sisterhood member to receive the Jan Pollack Award for 30 years’ service, and being able to work with all the wonderful recipients that have followed, I know that Sisterhood has, is, and will be a warm caring organization. I have been blessed with 4 sons (the oldest was 72 in 2017) 3 granddaughters, 1 grandson and a wonderful year old great granddaughter.
I have been a member of Temple Sholom since 1981 and I served on the Board of Temple Sholom in various positions including Recording Secretary, Vice-President and President. I joined Sisterhood soon after joining the Temple and promptly found myself as President. I have continued to support Sisterhood over the years, and presently I enjoy the position as Choir Director of the Sisterhood Choir. I especially love working with this group and find it extremely rewarding. I have been married to my awesome husband, Gordon for 40 years, have two wonderful adult children, Rebecca and Avi, two dogs, Lenny B and Quincy and I am now retired after having taught for 33 years as a music specialist with the Surrey School District.