Betty Siegel Essay Contest Winners for 2017
The 9th Betty Siegel Essay Contest “I’m A Jew , Now What?” for CEEBJ High School Graduates is proud to present the following students with scholarships from the Women of Emanu-El. You can read the winning essays below.
$360 to our 1st Prize Winners:
Son of Larry and Mary Wexler
Graduate of Marquette University High School
Attending University of WI Madison this Fall to study Engineering
Daughter of Heidi and Eric Salter
Graduate of Germantown High School
Attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts this Fall
$180 to our 2nd Prize Winner
Son of Mark and Barb Glazer
Graduate of University School of Milwaukee
Attending Carnegie Mellon University this Fall to study Physics
I’m a Jew, Now What?
Being a Jew means different things to different people. In Judaism, many things are left up to interpretation. In fact, there is the Midrash full of interpretations. This allows some freedom to being Jewish and allows me to see what is truly important to me as values I have received from the religion. With being Jewish, there comes a responsibility. Five elements in my life I received from being Jewish stand out. Open to growth is the first. This means I must be willing to experience new things in life and expand my horizons. This is an essential part to being a human. The next is committed to justice. This means I must be willing to help all. I must be committed to giving everyone equal opportunity. The next is loving. I must be willing to care for the human. Imago dei is a term in Latin I learned in high school that applies to this. This refers to all people are created in the image of G-d; therefore, I must be willing to love everyone as they are created in the image of G-d. Next is intellectually competent. This applies to me moving forward into college. I must continue my studies and be devoted to my studies. I must continue to apply myself to my studies. Last is religious. As I move on to college, I must remember my roots as being Jewish. I must continue to expand upon my religion and continue to learn about it. This includes such things as exploring the Hillel in college. These five elements must be continued in my life, especially as I move forward from high school.
I’m a Jew, Now What?
Now what? This is a question I have been asking myself all my life. What should I do now that my play is over? What should I do now that I’m graduating? What should I do now that I have my whole life in front of me? Recently, this question has become more pressing as I am going away to college in New York City. I know that I want to go into acting and I know how I will go about my training. I also know that I want to continue practicing Judaism, however, I do not know how to go about that yet. I am asking myself where I can find a temple to join and how to keep up my volunteering hours. While these questions are not yet answered, I am starting to realize that it is not something that I need to worry about so much.
For most of my life, I have participated in services and classes at my temple and found that the people I interact with are the most welcoming people I have met. They are open to new ideas and forward thinking, which is something that is extremely important in today’s world. Today, there are people who do not have a home to go to or people who do not know when they will have their next meal. When certain Americans see or hear about these issues, they turn a blind eye because they think that if it has nothing to do with them, they do not need to worry about it. But that is a backwards way of thinking and Jews know that. When they see a person in need, they do not sit by and watch, they make an effort to talk to the individual and figure out how to solve the problem.
This is why I feel confident about finding a Jewish community in New York City. I have learned that Judaism emphasizes a love for all people, respect for others, and giving back to your community and world. I know that no matter where I go, I will always be welcomed into the family. Because if you break it down, that is exactly what the Jewish religion is. It is a family, and family loves you for all that you are.
I’m a Jew, Now What?
I’m a Jew, so I start acting like one. One of the things that has always impressed me about Judaism is that we’re a religion of action. To start, Jewish law contains a myriad of rules, customs, and practices one must obey. It is not enough to hold a few core beliefs in one’s head, being Jewish by the books means changing one’s daily life. Modern times have bred the conservative and reform movements, leading to many people choosing which laws and customs they will obey in their daily life. Even without feeling a strict obligation from Jewish law to act, all main Jewish groups have focused on tikkun Olam and creating community. Today, the Jewish people almost always refuse to sit idly by, and will find ways to help others in their community, in Israel, and around the world. I feel this sentiment all around my household and the Milwaukee Jewish community. I can confidently say that I am Jewish while not believing in God, because I define my religion not by my beliefs, but by my actions.
I’m a Jew, so I try to help people. Of all the Jewish actions I take, this is what I am most proud of and what I feel binds me to the religion. It is something my mom has always reinforced in our home, and it is something I’ve seen Jewish leaders in my school, synagogue, and JCC try to live up to. The whole concept of leadership in BBYO is focused around helping everyone else in the chapter, and putting in effort so others can reap its benefits. The stress upon tikkun olam is something very special about Judaism, and I will let it guide me as I go forth into college and seek out opportunities to help the Pittsburgh community.
I am a Jew, so I try to build community. Nowhere in the Torah does it say that every Jew must know the name of every other Jew in a 20-mile radius, yet it seems to happen around the globe. From historically being forced into small communities to seeking them out today, the Jewish people have stayed close. For me, Jewish life is not a spectator sport. There is so much to participate in. My spiritual beliefs didn’t come from a book or lecture, they came from a JCC afterschool program or a BBYO sleepover. As a Jew, I am constantly interacting with others, sharing love and support, and maintaining a kehillah. This is also what I look forward to the most in my future Jewish living. With a job, family, and larger role in my community, I will be able to help in so many different ways that I can’t imagine now. Through every stage of my life, being Jewish will involve being a part of the Jewish people. Being a Jew means finding what parts of Judaism speak to me, and then acting on it.
- To foster and further the highest ideals of Judaisim and Jewish life as expressed by Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun.
- To promote closer fellowship among WE members.
- In cooperation with CEEBJ, be a mentor for religious, social and education activities inside and outside of Sisterhood.
For years the CEEBJ Woman of Emanu-El has worked to advocate for social justice; promote spiritual identity; raise funds for Jewish education and youth programs; and support the dreams and ideals of the next generation.
Specifically we help organize programs and provide fun fundraisers like: Mah Jong and Munchies, Little Black Dress event, Shana Tova Card Fundraiser, Rosh Hashanah Honey fundraiser, Special Needs Luncheon, Foreign Exchange Shabbat Service.
WE meets the First Thursday of the month at 7pm. All are welcome to join the meeting.
Questions? Suggestions?? Contact Ruth Treisman by email: [email protected]
What We Do
WE connects with the Congregation by supporting the following activities:
- Family Programs (YACHAD)
- Teen Programs
- Social Action Committee
- CEEBJ Salinsky Program
- Caring Committee
- Mitzvah Meals
- Adult Chavurah
WE connects with the community by supporting the following programs:
- Tikkun Ha-Ir (Healing the city)
- Mazon (A Jewish Response to Hunger)
- OSRUI (Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute Camp for children of all ages)
- URJ (Union for Reform Judaism)
2017 – 2018 Officers and Board Members
- President: Ruth Treisman
- Vice President –Programing and Fundraising: Sara Cherney
- Vice President- Membership: Pam Treisman
- Treasurer: Jean Lauterbach
- Secretary: Amy Stone
- Immediate Past President: Nikki Levin
||Honorary WE Members
- Manager/Buyer: Bobby Cohn
- Co-Treasurer: Harriet Marcus and Judy Lerner
- Volunteer Coordinator: Nadine Zuckerman
- General Board: Naomi Arbit
Fall has arrived and the WE Knitting Circle has prepared its annual donation of hats to Milwaukee Public Television’s Annual “Mittens & More” Community Service Drive, which are distributed to children and families in the Milwaukee area.
This year we are going international with a donation of hats to the Open Arms for Children orphanage in Komga, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Phyllis Dorf told us that she had accompanied her late husband Shelly when he donated his dental expertise for the children residing there. In December we will be making a donation to Tikkun Ha-Ir for distribution at women’s shelters in the city and to the Grand Avenue Club.
In addition, we are knitting comfort shawls which the clergy distribute to our congregants who are ill. Please consult the monthly calendar in Ha-Kol for dates of Knitting Circle meetings.
For any questions, please feel free to contact Brenda Safer at 414-462-5367 or by email at [email protected].
Beth Wynn College Outreach Program
Please call Toni at the synagogue office, (414)228-7545, as soon as you have the new information on the address of your college student so we can keep in touch with him or her for the High Holy Days, Hanukkah, and Passover. Gift boxes will be mailed to your son/daughter for each of these holidays. We need to update our address list each year as many students move and change their addresses. Thank you for your prompt reply with this information.
The Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, is the voice and presence, and arena of action of the women of Reform Judaism in the synagogue, the larger community, nationally, and internationally. WRJ is a federation of independent Sisterhoods, numbering approximately 550 in the United States and Canada, with a cumulative membership of nearly 75,000 women organized into 12 District Federations. Our three key projects are: YES Fund (Youth, Education, and Special Projects), World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), and JBI International (formerly Jewish Braille Institute of America).