Temple Sinai member Lynn Magid Lazar concluded her four-year tenure as the president of the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) at the 72nd URJ Biennial, which coincided with the WRJ 49th Assembly and Centennial Celebration.
Lazar will be succeeded by Blair C. Marks of Marietta, Ga., and will continue to serve on WRJ’s board of directors as the organization’s immediate past president.
Lazar was pivotal in overseeing WRJ’s centennial year and celebration, which included a host of educational programs, publications and fundraising efforts in 2013.
“We celebrated our centennial in style, and it was fabulous,” Lazar said. “We spent the whole of 2013 educating ourselves and the world about our 100 years of WRJ.”
The organization is now in a “solid, strong place,” according to Lazar, and “looking to the next 100 years.”
Like other Jewish institutions, the Reform movement — including the WRJ — will be dealing with many challenges in the years to come, some of which were highlighted by the results of the recent Pew survey. Those challenges include membership issues, Lazar said.
“There is an understanding that we have to reinvent ourselves again and again,” Lazar said. “Anyone who thinks that our foremothers didn’t reinvent themselves from time to time — it’s a big misunderstanding.”
The WRJ, along with its congregations, will be taking a look at longstanding membership models to determine better ways to reach more women.
“There are many women who identify as Reform Jews who don’t affiliate,” Lazar noted. “How do we change that? How do we reach out to them? That will be a big challenge going forward.”
Lazar remains optimistic about the future for Reform Jewish women, and believes those women always will continue to seek community amongst one another.
“People need to feel connected in a community with others,” she said. “Women value the connection and community that is formed whenever women come together.”
That’s something the WRJ has fostered in the last 100 years, she said, adding, “I don’t think that will change.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)