May 2024 Newsletter

Dear Karen,

On April 21st, we had our final WNSCI board meeting of this fiscal year. We approved the new 2024–2025 Executive Board and budget. We also discussed what a resounding success our non-event fundraiser was, raising over $15,000, and our plans for the upcoming WNSCI Shabbat on May 17th (more details below). Also, there are five of us going to the WRJ’s Fried Women’s Conference where WNSCI past presidents Judy Wexler and Michelle Scheinkopf will be installed on the WRJ North American Board. Judy is the incoming First Vice President and Michelle is on the Executive Committee. We are so proud of our leaders taking on these national positions.


WNSCI is in great shape! Currently we have 241 dues paying members – and we hope to increase that number in the coming year. Please remember that the $60 dues are on your annual statement – but you must opt in to support us and all the great things we do for NSCI and our broader community. On June 6th, WNSCI will install its 2024–2025 Executive Committee (details below).

May is also a month of many Jewish holidays that provide time to reflect, remember, and pray for peace. (Holidays begin the night before.) May 6th: Yom HaShoah/Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, May 13th: Yom HaZikaron/Israel Memorial Day, May 14th: Yom HaAtzmaut/Israel Independence Day, and May 26th: Lag BaOmer, which is celebrated with bonfires, parades and other joyous events.

Personally, I want to share what a meaningful Passover Robert and I experienced with our Baltimore and Washington, DC families. We were invited to a family Seder in DC, and 20 people gathered around a giant square table outdoors (thankfully with heaters!), retelling the story of Passover with family and friends spanning three generations, including three grandmothers, ages 91, 93, and 101 (a Holocaust survivor). Talking about the Seder’s relevance today and the difficult times we as Jews are facing generated deeply meaningful conversation. Dayeinu – we were truly grateful to be a part of this celebration.

Our Board meetings will continue in the fall, but watch your email for details on our welcome event in August.

In Sisterhood,

Karen Dillon

Co-President (with Co-President Debra Cohen)

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events

Women of NSCI Shabbat Service

Friday, May 17th, 6:15 pm

We hope you can join us for our annual Women of NSCI Shabbat service, led by Rabbi Lisa Greene. We are thrilled that Mike Hollander, beloved Israel guide and educator, will speak at the service. In this week of Israel's national holy days of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), Mike will speak about how Israelis have been marking sacred time since October 7th. Please join us, even if you have not been very active. WNSCI members will be participating in the service; if you are interested in being a part of it, email by May 3rd.

Tikkun Olam is an important part of the work of WNSCI. At each of our events, we choose an organization that can benefit from our support. For this Shabbat we will be donating funds to No Shame on You, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating the stigma associated with mental health conditions so the people who need the help will seek it, family members and friends will know how to provide proper support, and so lives can be saved. Learn more and donate online here. You can also bring checks payable to No Shame on You and put WNSCI on the memo line.

Women of NSCI Installation of Officers

Thursday, June 6th, 6:30 pm

Feather Glass Wine Bar & Eatery

700 N Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills $36/person


Join us as we install our WNSCI Executive Committee for 2024–2025.

  • Debra Cohen: Immediate Past President/Nominating Committee Chair (2024–2025)
  • Karen Dillon: Co-President (2024–2025)
  • Blythe Trilling: Co-President (2024–2026)
  • Ann DuBois: Vice-President Programming (2024–2026)
  • Michele Tuvel: Treasurer (2024–2026)
  • Barbara Mazur: Secretary (2023–2025)

If you're interested in getting more involved, we have many opportunities to take a leadership position on the general WNSCI Board as a committee chair or member. Please reach out to Debra or Karen at

Get Involved with the Reform

Jewish Movement's Campaign!

Every Voice, Every Vote

Michelle Scheinkopf

Incoming WRJ Vice President Social Justice

WRJ Executive Committee Member 

Past President, WRJ Midwest District

Want to make a difference in the remaining primaries and the national election in November? Then get involved with Every Voice, Every Vote, the Reform Jewish Movement’s new campaign to protect, expand and strengthen democracy. Every Voice, Every Vote aims to provide an organizing structure for you to learn how easy it is to make a meaningful impact towards a strong democracy.

A series of webinars to be held over the next few months can help you decide how and what is needed to enlighten citizens about what initiatives may be on the ballots for the upcoming primaries and national election. 

First up is a virtual event, co-sponsored by WRJ and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Every Voice, Every Vote, Every Month: Reproductive Freedom on the Ballot

Thursday, May 16, 2024, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CT (Virtual Event)

Click here for more details with links to register.  

Questions? Contact Michelle at

Highlights of Recent NSCI Events and Programs

Shabbat Study with Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch,

WRJ Executive Director

On Saturday, April 13th, Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch led the week's Torah study at NSCI. Following the morning service, the Women of NSCI hosted a brunch. Many of the women in town for the WRJ Incoming Executive Board meeting joined us in prayer and community. A special thank you to Judy Wexler, Michelle Scheinkopf, and Rabbi Lisa Greene for making this such a meaningful experience.

Pictured l. to r.: Sara Charney, WRJ President; Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch; Karen Sim, WRJ First Vice President; and Shelley Niceley Groff, URJ Incoming President.

Pictured l. to r.: Michelle Scheinkopf, Judy Wexler, URJ Incoming President Shelley Niceley Groff, and Rabbi Lisa Greene.

Songs of Our Seder

On April 17th, Cantor Susie Lewis Friedman joined WNSCI for Songs of Our Seder, a moving and meaningful musical journey celebrating Passover from different Jewish traditions.  

Pictured left: Cantor Susie Lewis Friedman. Pictured above, program attendees.

Klezmer Concert at Gidwitz Place

On April 2nd, WNSCI sponsored a wonderful concert featuring Wilmettesky Klezmer Band at Gidwitz Place for Assisted Living in Deerfield. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it as they were clapping and moving to the beat. It was a beautiful afternoon and a lovely senior program!

WNSCI Gift Shop

Thank you!

A heartfelt thank you to all our WNSCI Gift Shop volunteers for the dedication and hard work that made our second “Shop for Israel” event on April 14th, held in conjunction with the launch of our new NSCI Torah, an incredible success. Our Israeli artisans, the Israel Museum, and our community all benefit when we join together. 

A reminder to all that we are open year round. While we’ll have limited hours after Memorial Day, we are always available for appointments via phone 847-835-4009 or email

Our selection of talitot, ritual items, and the full line of Michael Aram Judaica & Tabletop is the best on the North Shore!

Don't Miss These Upcoming NSCI Events

May Mitzvah-Palooza

Sunday, May 5th, 8:30 am–2:30 pm

(Times vary per program).

Learn more ...

Join us for a day of giving back! We are hosting several community service projects at NSCI, as we close the religious school year and head toward summer. Come by and do a good deed, learn about NSCI’s Tikkun Olam projects, and meet someone new! We hope to see you there!

WNSCI's Book Club Update

Each month, one book club member leads a lively discussion. Thank you to Amy Litner for leading a thoughtful and enjoyable discussion in April.

Are you interested in joining us? No prior book club experience is required. The full list of books to be discussed this year can be found here. Please email Barbara Mazur with questions.

Hotel Cuba by Aaron Hamburger

Tuesday, May 14th, 1:00–3:00 pm at NSCI

Led by Debra Cohen

A heartbreaking, epic family story, Hotel Cuba explores the profound courage of two women displaced from their home who strive to create a new future in an enticing and dangerous world far different from anything they have ever known.

The Iliad by Homer

Tuesday, June 11th, 1:00–3:00 pm at NSCI

Led by Judy Falk

Homer’s epic poem The Iliad is set in the tenth year of the Trojan war. With themes of war, rage, grief and love, The Iliad remains powerful and enthralling more than 2,700 years after it was composed.

Join us for Weekly Mah Jongg

WNSCI Mah Jongg at NSCI

Thursdays, 1:00–3:00 pm

Join us for fun and friendly games of Mah Jongg. All are welcome — beginners and the “just curious.” There’s no betting allowed, just a voluntary contribution to our Tzedakah Box!

Are You Interested ...


Do You Play Canasta ... or Want to Learn?

Join members of NSCI and Makom Solel Lakeside for weekly play. We are considering two days/times: Mondays or Wednesdays, 1:00–3:00 pm. Initially we will play at Makom Solel Lakeside in Highland Park, but we plan to rotate locations. It is free and open to any interested players. We only ask that you bring canasta supplies (cards, trays, and shuffler) if you have them. Janet Buckstein from Makom will provide written rules and teach those who are interested. She will also send out a weekly email to find out who will be attending. If you are interested, please email with your preferred day and also your skill level. We hope to see you there! 


Knitting Hearts Together

for Good

Whether knitting is your passion, or you're just getting started, Glencoe Union Church is looking for you. They are starting an interfaith knitting group, bringing together a diverse group of knitters to foster friendship and work together making hand-crafted items for those in need. The group will meet twice a month at various North Shore congregations; experienced knitters will teach and encourage beginners. All are welcome. Get more information here or reach out to Laurie Jaffe or Lisa Lesniak.

Update on Zviahel, Ukraine (formerly Novograd-Volynsky)

We are looking forward to having a call with our friends in Zviahel on Sunday, June 2nd, at 9:30 am with Rabbi Leizman. We would love to have you join us. Please email if you are interested.

The community is so grateful for everything we send them. We are continuing to collect clothing in good condition in large sizes such as winter jackets, shoes, gloves, and socks; flat sheets in twin or double sizes (not king size); and bath towels, hand towels etc. They also have a need for senior multi vitamins and ibuprofen.  


If you are donating clothing or linens, please place them in the bin marked Novograd-Volynsky at the north end of the hall at NSCI. If you are donating vitamins or ibuprofen, please email and we will arrange to get them from you.

Women of Reform Judaism News and Upcoming Events

Just For This

Podcast with Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch

Just For This, a new podcast, inspires women in leadership to talk about women and leadership. Hosted by Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, Just For This is committed to sharing powerful stories of women who stand out in their fields. Tune in where you listen to podcasts and follow @JustForThisPodcast on Instagram.

Fried Women's Conference

May 30th–June 2nd, 2024

New Orleans, LA

Learn more and register ...

Registration ends Weds., May 15th.

This flagship event offers leadership education, social and spiritual experiences and so much more. Join WRJ this spring to “unmask your potential” at what is sure to be an unforgettable, in-person (re)union at the Fried Women’s Conference (FWC). Our own Michelle Scheinkopf is one of this year's co-chairs! Former WNSCI Past President Judy Wexler will be installed as First Vice President (taking the reins as President in two years)!

FWC co-chairs Michelle Scheinkopf of WNSCI (r) and Jenn Daley.

Tell Us About Yourself

We'd love to learn more about you!

We've created a short survey so you can tell us something about yourself and what interests you. Please fill out the survey — it's just a few questions. We'd greatly appreciate your input, which will help us plan for the coming year.

For more information or to learn how you can help us plan any of our upcoming programs, please email us at

Connect with us on Social Media

WNSCI Page on the NSCI website

WNSCI Facebook (Please like us!)

WNSCI Instagram (Please follow us!)

WRJ Heartland District Website

WRJ Website

WRJ Facebook

WNSCI is a committed group of women working together to enrich our community, our congregation, and ourselves. We are part of a network of Reform Jewish women working together to empower women and communities through the bonds of sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice.