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 some great events and projects for the remainder of 2022-23 year. Please see below for book club information, as well other upcoming Sisterhood events.

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.

Smith’s Acres Greenhouse
Tuesday, May 2 at 6:00PM – We will be making a Succulent Cocktail Glass. Pizza and wine will be served. RSVP to Merrill at

Sisterhood Service and Installation

Friday, May 12 at 6:30PM
Please RSVP to Eileen or email Barbara at if you would like a part in the service (indicate Hebrew or English), or if you are willing to bring something for the Oneg.

End-of-Year Sisterhood Dinner

Thursday, May 18 at 6:00PM 

Sisterhood Book Club
Our final Book Club of the year will be a hybrid event on Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00PM at the synagogue. We will be reading “This Magnificent Dappled Sea” by David Biro. This novel tells the story of a nine-year-old Italian boy with leukemia who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. An unlikely donor is found: a rabbi in Brooklyn, NY who is suffering from a crisis of faith. As the story unfolds, terrible secrets from World War II reveal how a Catholic Child could have Jewish genes. The book is available at Waterford Library.


“Gypsy” at Goodspeed, Wednesday, June 7 at 2:00PM. This is SOLD OUT! For those going – enjoy the show!! 

Mah Jongg Tournament

June 21, 2023 – 
We will again host players from all across the northeast for a fun-filled day of Mahj. There will be the option of more competitive play at our Tournament tables, as well as the alternative Relaxed tables. We will feed you all day long, so not to worry about having enough energy to keep you going through event. A 50/50 Raffle is planned, in lieu of our basket raffle. Look for the Registration flyer under Happenings on the Temple Homepage.

We will welcome your help with preparation on Tuesday, 6/20 and on the day of the event, so please mark your calendars to join the fun as a player or a supporter. Questions, please contact Iris Freeman by email at


Temple Emanu-El Gift Shop
Anne and Lisa continue to expand their offerings at the gift shop, and are available by appointment. You can contact them through email at, or contact the Temple Office. 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, please ask. 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 is replacing Eileen Shapiro as Recording Secretary. Eileen Shapiro is our new Sisterhood Treasurer. Jennifer Zettler is joining the Board in a new position – Membership Chair. 

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.  

Friendly Visitor Program 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 & Rosh Hashana 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. Thanks to all who helped assemble Purim and Passover Bags at the synagogue. Your help is greatly appreciated! 

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.


Dinner Club
On Wednesday, March 15, Merrill Mazzella organized a successful Sisterhood Dinner Club at Olio’s in Groton on March 15. The food was delicious, the company was great and we even celebrated Gail’s birthday! A great time was had by all!

Well known Chicago performer Ellie of Ellie Presents met with us on Zoom on Tuesday, March 7 with her popular talk, Speaking of Unmentionables: The Rise & Fall of Ladies’ Underwear. This novel and at times slightly naughty presentation unveilsed facts and exposes myths about women’s unmentionables, and was a hit with a all who participated!

Trivia Night

We have had some great trivia nights! Our last Trivia Event for this year was on Zoom on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00PM, and was a fun evening! Thanks to Barbara for coming up with great questions! Congratulations to the team of Jo Michelson, Karen Bloustine, Leslie Spees and Merrill Mazzella, who each won a gift certificate to the Judaica Shop as a reward for their victory at our February 7 Trivia Night.

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! 

2023 Manjongg Cards have been ordered!
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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