As we welcome the new year, I write to you on behalf of the Wellesley Jewish Alumnae (WJA); a shared identity group for Jewish alumnae and anyone interested in the Wellesley Jewish community.
Over the past year, we have worked with the College to assess Jewish life at Wellesley and the best structure for the Jewish alumnae association. As a result of these discussions, we have re-formed our organization as the Wellesley Jewish Alumnae; a Shared Identity Group (SIG) organized under the Wellesley College Alumnae Association. As a SIG, we have new bylaws and a new organizational structure bringing greater organization, transparency, and the ability to connect to our alumnae and on-campus community.
To those whom have been members of the Hillel Alumnae and Friends Association (HAFA) over the past years, I want to acknowledge your commitment to our Wellesley Jewish community and reaffirm our commitment to you. As the College has worked to strengthen support for Jewish life over the past few years, there have been some bumps and tensions. But the past year has brought many positive changes and we have emerged with a new, closer relationship, better communication, and an organization that supports a broad range of Jewish beliefs, observance, and definitions. Together, I believe we can continue building a vibrant and inclusive Jewish community for students and alumnae.
We are a diverse, multi-generational community, and the intent of forming the WJA is to enable a thriving, supportive environment for Jewish alumnae of all backgrounds, along with a connection to the broad spectrum of Jewish life on campus. The goal of the Wellesley Jewish Alumnae is to align with the College’s direction of reaching out more broadly to Jewish students and alumnae of all denominations and affiliations. While we do not have the brand name Hillel in our name, Jewish life on campus retains an affiliation with Hillel International. And as Jewish Chaplain, the campus Rabbi also continues to serve as Wellesley’s Hillel Director.
The WJA has many exciting programs currently in place, and more which we look forward to initiating this year. These will offer additional opportunities for Jewish alumnae to get together in our local communities and to participate in Jewish life on campus. With our new website and member directory, we are now able to communicate our programs, news, board organization, and contact information. I invite you to join us and hope that you will volunteer for an upcoming activity or get in touch with ideas on how to grow and support our community.
On behalf of the WJA board and our members, I wish you a healthy and happy new year and look forward to working together in the coming year.
Leah Kaplan ‘02