The Sisterhood is an auxiliary group interested in sharing their talents and energy, while connecting with other women in the Temple Emanu-El community through intellectual, spiritual and social activities.

Upcoming Sisterhood Events

Dear Sisterhood Friends,

Your Sisterhood Board continues to work very hard to plan activities that will interest and inspire all of you and bring us together to have fun! 

The Board has planned all our events and projects for the remainder of 2022-23 year. Please see below for book club information, as well other upcoming Sisterhood events as some “save the dates”.

Sisterhood Book Club
The next official Sisterhood Book Club, led by Cecile Feldman from France will take place on Sunday, March 12 at 2:00PM on Zoom. We will be reading Rockaway Riptides by local Jewish author, Harriet Grayson. Rockaway Riptides is a coming of age story for all ages. It takes place in the turbulent 1960’s at Far Rockaway High School on Long Island, New York. The novel captures this period of instability as seen through the eyes and experiences of the senior high school class.” Ms. Grayson will be with us on Zoom to discuss her novel and to answer questions. The book is available on Amazon in kindle format for $3.99 and in hardcover for $20.00.

Trivia Night
We have had some great trivia nights! Aside from exercising our brains, the format of breakout rooms lends itself to fun social interaction. Our last Trivia Event for this year will take place on Zoom on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00PM. These evenings are a lot of fun, so keep an eye out for Barbara’s email! Thanks to Barbara for coming up with great questions!


Dinner Club
On Wednesday, March 15, Merrill Mazzella will be organizing one of our famous Dinner Club evenings at a local restaurant.


Movie Nights
On Wednesday, February 22 and Thursday, March 30, Merrill is reintroducing the popular Movie Nights. As Niantic Cinema is now closed, Movie Nights will take place in Waterford and/or Mystic. Details will be sent out via email and will be published in the Friday message


What did the brassiere say to the hat?
“You go on a head while I give these two a lift.”

Well known Chicago performer Ellie of Ellie Presents will visit us on Zoom on Tuesday, March 7 at 7:00PM with her popular talk, Speaking of Unmentionables: The Rise & Fall of Ladies’ Underwear which is probably Ellie’s most requested performance. This novel and at times slightly naughty presentation unveils facts and exposes myths about women’s unmentionables.  It includes stories from real women past and present and the amusing and sometimes uncomfortable relationship with their foundations.

Ellie plays several women from the past as artistic portrayals and gives many talks on Domestic Arts topics of which Speaking of Unmentionables: The Rise & Fall of Ladies’ Underwear is a special audience favorite. Ellie has traveled all over the country with it. The talk takes the audience on a tour through the fashion timeline…underneath the dresses. Ellie shows many examples of historic underwear, both reproduction and authentic, as illustrations. This should prove to be a unique, funny and entertaining event! Watch for a flyer!

Weekly Walking Group
Our Walking Group continues to walk (weather permitting) every Wednesday and Thursday at 10:00am at the Hole in Wall Entrance of the Niantic Boardwalk. We are planning to start walking at the Conn College Arboretum or elsewhere on the east side of the Thames River. If you are interested, please let Barbara know.


Friendly Visitor Program Purim & Passover Bags
Eileen Shapiro is the coordinator of the Friendly Visitor Program for JFEC. Sisterhood, along with JFEC, have helped assemble and distribute Chanukah, Purim, Passover & Purim bags to residents in our community who are in nursing homes and independent living facilities. Eileen has expanded the JFEC Friendly Visitor Program to include other local synagogues.

We will be assembling Purim Bags for the Friendly Visitor Program on Wednesday, March 1 at 12:00PM and Passover Bags on Monday, March 27 at 10:00AM at the synagogue. Your help is greatly appreciated!



Tuesday, April 18 at 7:00PM – Yom Hashoah Presentation and Discussion with Rabbi Marc at the Synagogue

Tuesday, April 25 – Smith’s Acres

Saturday, April 29 at 6:30PM – Havdalah, Concert honoring Caren Linden

Wednesday, June 7 at 2:00PM – “Gypsy” at Goodspeed


Temple Emanu-El Gift Shop
Anne and Lisa continue to expand their offerings at the gift shop. January was all about collecting samples and catalogues for tallit and kippot in preparations for the spring and summer Bar & Bat Mitzvahs. February will be for updating the website. We continue to open the shop most Sundays from 10-12 and  you may contact Lisa at to make an appointment outside of these hours. We will post our upcoming schedule on the Facebook site in the coming weeks. Come in and look at our wide array of Judaica items. No sales tax. Cheaper than retail stores. Profits go to support your congregation and community. Thanks to everyone for continuing to support our shop!

The Chanukah Fair was a success! Ann and Lisa ordered both fun and thoughtful items for the holiday as well as everyday items, like Shabbat candles.

You can always shop online using our Judaica Shop website. It is easy and convenient. You can access it by clicking the link below or by going to the Temple website homepage ( and clicking the image for the Judaica Shop. Please contact Lisa Marcus at for orders or questions. If there is something special you would like us to stock for the fall and winter holiday season, now is the time to ask. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. The Sisterhood would like to say thank you to Susan Hausmann for running the Gift Shop for many years!  CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR ONLINE JUDAICA SHOP! 


We would like to welcome two new members to our Board. Debra Wool, who has been organizing the weekly walking group, will be replacing Eileen Shapiro as Recording Secretary. Eileen Shapiro has graciously volunteered to take over for our dear friend, Caren Linden, as Sisterhood Treasurer. Jennifer Zettler will be joining the Board in a new position – Membership Chair. In the past, the president and the treasurer have shared this responsibility. With Jennifer focusing only on Membership we hope to do more to assimilate and welcome new members to the group. A very big thanks to Debra, Eileen and Jennifer!

Our Officers:

President:                              Barbara Senges
Treasurer:                              Eileen Shapiro
Programs:                              Merrill Mazzella
Corresponding Secretary:  Gail Schor
Recording Secretary:           Debra Wool
Membership:                        Jennifer Zettler
Book Club:                             Cecile Feldman
Judaica Shop:                       Lisa DeVito Marcus, Anne Cohn
Publicity:                                Sue Fornara
Religious School Liaison    Adrienne Parad
Social Justice                        Moira Ross

 Our yearly Membership Drive is ongoing and we hope to surpass our membership of last year of over hundred members. It is never too late to send in your dues of $36.00 to Caren Linden or to give it directly to us at an upcoming Sisterhood event. Sisterhood is open to all women of Temple Emanu-El as well as all Jewish women in southeastern Connecticut.  Feel free to invite your friends.  We are always looking for new members.  

Do you have any ideas for a Sisterhood program?
Maybe you have a skill you would like to share. We are always looking for suggestions! Some other programs we discussed were a drawing class on Zoom, as well as a program in person at Smith Acres in Niantic in the spring. If you have any suggestions or special talents, please let us know.  It’s always fun to try something new.

WRJ Programs
Last year, we mentioned all of the on-line programming available through our umbrella organization, WRJ. If you check their website,, you will see their calendar filled with speakers, tours, etc.  Hope you can take advantage of some of their programs.


Abortion and Women’s Reproductive Rights Forum
We had a very exciting event on November 17 at Temple Emanu-El and on Zoom. Our Sisterhood Social Action Committee led by Moira Ross (who brought you the “ Get Out the Vote Event” in September) organized a Panel Discussion on Abortion and Women’s Reproductive Rights for that evening. Our speakers were Rabbi Marc Ekstrand, Dr. Adrienne Parad and Marcie Brensilver. Rabbi Marc spoke about the Reform Jewish viewpoint on abortion. Dr. Parad, MD FAAFP, presented an overview of abortion terminology and medical options and discussed real-life implications of the new restrictive abortion laws. Marcie Brensilver, nurse health educator and Planned Parenthood educator, talked about how restrictive abortion laws in other states are affecting CT, and shared personal stories about abortion before Roe v. Wade, and Sheila Horvitz talked about the legal and historical background. Thanks to all of our presenters! It was informative and inspiring. A special thanks to Moira Ross for planning and organizing this very informative event! Thanks also to Barbara Senges for all her help and to Nathaniel Rowe for acting as our Tech Guru.

Our Kick-off Membership Event
 was great! We had over 40 women and it was wonderful to be able to get together! Thank you to Lisa for hosting, and to Merrill Merrill Mazzella for organizing the wonderful dinner from Cafe Sol and assisting with the setting up and serving. A fun time was had by all! 

The Mahjongg Tournament was on Thursday, October 20th. With over 15 years of mahjongg tournaments behind us, it was still just as exciting to see Temple EmanuEl filled with 84 players for our first post-pandemic day of mahjongg. We had folks from DE, NH, NY, MA in attendance for an event that was months in the planning. With 100 hungry people to feed (mahjongg works up an appetite!), our home-made breakfast and luncheon did not disappoint. We had a crew of 16 kitchen, set-up, and break-down helpers to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. A very HUGE THANK YOU to Iris Freeman and Robbin Alpert and all who assisted them in making the Mahjongg Tournament a great success. The Mahjongg Tournament is Sisterhood’s major fundraiser and with the funds raised we will be able to contribute to the synagogue in a significant way.

Sisterhood again participated in the Safe Futures 4K Safe Walk on Sunday, October 23 at Waterford High School. Moira reported that the Sisterhood raised $1,800 for Safe Futures – a big thank you to all of you who participated and contributed to this very worthy cause.

We had fun doing Herb Planters at Smith’s Acres!
We closed out our March activities with an outdoor event in the Greenhouse at Smith’s Acres where we made Spring Herb Planters. Sisterhood provided Pizza and Drinks at the event.


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