Nashe Or means Women of Light. We began our journey in October 1993, when Dinah Judah, Mary Funnye, Hadassah Issachar (may she rest in peace), and Keturah Israel met to form a women’s auxiliary, comprised of women in the congregation (beginning at age 18), to support Beth Shalom’s activities, and to serve as a vehicle for our sisters to learn and grow together. In choosing our name, we have an obligation to light the way for our families, our congregation, and our community. We’ve sponsored weekend retreats, established reading groups, published a cookbook, sponsored a coat drive and a health fair, and provided blankets for babies at Larabida Children’s Hospital. We coordinate fundraisers and activities for our children. We plan the Oneg (meal after Shabbat Service) and Holy Day feasts.
NASHE OR SISTERHOOD’S MOTTO, “Strong sisters make strong sisters stronger, by building bridges to understanding,” speaks to our understanding that there is no place in our Sisterhood for destructive jealousies that can sometimes stymie women working together. We appreciate and admire each sister’s special talents and abilities. We are keenly aware that by working together can we continue to meet our spiritual needs, the needs of our families, and the needs of our nation.
Monthly dues are $10. All female members of the congregation are invited to join Nashe Or Sisterhood and take this spiritual walk with us, as we learn the Creator’s word and endeavor to do His will.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
Each year Nashe Or honors the men in our Congregation, to show them that we appreciate them as Anshay Chayil (Men of Valor), role models, leaders, husbands, and fathers. Each year we plan a themed event usually accompanied by a dinner.. Themes for previous years have been, the Wild West, Football, Game Night, and an 80’s Party.
Two of our best bakers, Zakenah Sarah Israel and Sis. Haviva Solomon brought their time-tested receipts to the workshop. We donned aprons, kneaded dough, and felt like professionals. We learned to braid three, four and six-stranded calah. We made long loaves as well as round ones. While the loaves rose for the final time, we made delicate, delicious croissants. The aroma of freshly baked bread wafted through the kitchen. Have you heard the old adage, “the proof is in the pudding”? Our proof was bread beautifully-browned, rich, and moist.
Purses with a Purpose – This year, our mitzvah project is to provide a service to the community. Nashe Or adopted Clara’s House, a women’s shelter in Chicago started 30 years ago by a Black woman, Mrs. Clara Kirk. The shelter houses 48 women and children. We donated gently used purses filled with toiletries and personal items. Also included in each purse was a personal message of hope excerpted from a scripture in Joshua. Ms. Clara explained to us that the shelter is always in need of bedding and cleaning supplies. Two additional campaigns are planned to benefit Clara’s House later in 2017.
Community Health Fair – Nashe Or sponsored its first Community Health Fair in 1997. We felt an obligation to participate in the community where we are located and to help make it better because we are here. Healthcare professionals gave immunizations and dental exams. Attendees could also participate in various workshops, won prizes in a free raffle, and were served a free lunch.
August 2, 2017, marked our fourth Community Health Fair. Through a partnership forged with Mount Sinai Hospital (a local hospital) they designed free advertisement, provided health screenings, and distributed free lunches for the healthcare vendors and attendees. The Kidney Foundation brought their mobile van for testing and a vendor provided haircuts and manicures. School age children received book bags choked with school supplies.
Nashe Or planned monthly activities to forge bonds between our families outside of Shabbat Service. Our first activity was a two-actor play entitled, “Where Do We Go from Here,” written by a local playwright. The play was performed at the Gwendolyn Brooks Academy.
On Sun. April 30, 2017, a Skating Party was coupled with the first Youth Shabbat and Youth Oneg to complete a full Youth Weekend. Approximately 60 people attended. We sold tickets for the Skating Party and ticket holders were automatically entered into a raffle.
Purim Party – On March 11, 2017 the children had a Purim Party Sleepover at the temple.
About 30-40 children attended, including some of their friends outside of the temple. The children celebrated the story of Purim, played games, created balloon characters, watched movies, and of course they ate The next morning, before their parents arrived for pick up they enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, grits, turkey sausage, yogurt fruit and juice.
Youth Oneg – This year we instituted Youth Oneg (the collective meal following the morning Shabbat Service) to enhance youth involvement beyond the Tot Shabbat. The children prepared and served food and cleaned up after Oneg. In our congregation adult teams rotate this duty. The first Youth Oneg was held April 29, 2017. The children beamed with pride as they served the food they prepared, i.e., corn casserole, vegetable lasagna, eggplant, salads and more.
Youth Shabbat – Chief Rabbi Capers Funnye, our spiritual leader, tied Youth Shabbat to the Youth Oneg. Our children, ranging from age 7 to 15 did a fantastic job leading prayers during morning service. Ten-year old Yasmine Whitfield delivered an informative paper on the Moors.
Youth Choir – Earlier in 2017, Sis. Yierah Israel, the 2017 Nashe Or vice president and an emotive and impressive vocalist took the initiative to start a Youth Choir. The little voices, ranging from ages 3 -16 lead Adon Olam for several Shabbats prior to the Youth Shabbat. But on Youth Shabbat the children showcased a song, written and arranged by Sis. Yierah, “Shabbat Shalom.” As usual, they sang Adon Olam and a new selection, “This Little Light of Mine.” We were very proud of our children.
We enjoyed an awesome 45-minute workout. We danced and moved rhythmically to popular music while losing calories, The instructor, Pamela Rudd, a former Curves owner, led us through an exhilarating routine that even beginners could follow.