For more than 45 years, the annual Beth Israel Sisterhood Bazaar has been one of the most eagerly awaited local events in Jackson. For one day a year, local residents set aside traditional southern cuisine and explore the culinary delights of tzimmes, kugel and other classic Jewish dishes. Proceeds from the Bazaar are used to support many organizations such as Meals on Wheels, MS Food Network, Community Stewpot and Food Pantry, Matt’s House, Sims House, Dream Street, Habitat for Humanity, Henry S. Jacobs Camp, Salvation Army, Women of Reform Judaism and the WRJ Y.E.S. Fund.
But, Beth Israel Sisterhood is so much more than the annual Bazaar. Starting as a Ladies Auxiliary organization, it is as old as the congregation itself. For many decades, the Temple was the gathering place for the Jewish community, socially as well as religiously. Sisterhood created a welcoming atmosphere for the congregation. Today, that tradition continues. Sisterhood sponsors many Temple dinners throughout the year including a Break-The-Fast after Yom Kippur services, Pizza-In-The-Hut at Sukkot, a rowdy and fun Chanukah Dinner, and a Purim potluck dinner.
Each January, Sisterhood members take over the Bimah and lead the services at the annual Sisterhood Sabbath. Over the years, there have been many featured speakers from the WRJ, other Reform Congregations, and the Institute for Southern Jewish Life. In January 2009, BIS was fortunate to welcome Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Co-Author of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, as its Scholar-in-Residence.
Sisterhood members meet monthly to discuss current activities, ongoing projects, and the good and welfare of its many members. Its annual Membership Tea is held each August. Even though many of our members are involved in activities outside the Temple community, they find time to actively support the Temple by providing meals and oneg goodies, helping the religious school, comforting bereaved families, organizing social action activities, and bringing the community together through the Bazaar. Members of Beth Israel Sisterhood have made connections with other Jewish women through regional and national affiliation through WRJ. Our sisterhood has also provided several officers on the regional board. Each year, the organization supports the WRJ Y.E.S. Fund through contributions.