Sisterhood continued to play a leadership role in the Jewish community throughout the 1960s.
|In early 1960, Sisterhood hosted the Western Federation of Temple Sisterhoods’ twenty-fifth annual convention, which was held at the Mission Inn in Riverside and attended by women from 55 temple Sisterhoods in California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. The event was chaired by former Sisterhood president Sylvia Becker, who was given a lifetime Sisterhood membership in appreciation of her role. Sisterhood was active in community service efforts as well; in 1962, it began raising funds to purchase Braille writing equipment so its members could assist the San Bernardino Valley Lighthouse for the Blind in transcribing materials into Braille.
Sisterhood presidents Rose Isenberg and Thelma Press are reflected in a mirror at the Riverside Mission Inn, where the Western Federation of Temple Sisterhoods’ twenty-fifth annual convention was held.
In 1964, Sisterhood member Eileen Lasky worked with Rabbi Hillel Cohn to establish the “Golden Age” club, a group that sponsored monthly trips and other enrichment activities for seniors. Although the club was under the auspices of the temple, Sisterhood provided ongoing support.
1964 was also the year of the fiftenth annual Candlelight Ball, held at the Mission Inn in Riverside. Proceeds from the event went toward the temple’s religious school.
|Sisterhood’s fifteenth annual Candlelight Ball
was held at the Riverside Mission Inn.
In 1965, Sisterhood organized a Tour of Living Judaism to showcase different aspects of Judaism. The event was hosted at six homes of temple members in San Bernardino, each of which featured a different theme, including a Jewish wedding, a Passover Seder, a Hanukkah display, a Sabbath table, and Purim and religious art displays.
In 1965, Sisterhood organized
a Tour of Living Judaism
to showcase different
aspects of Judaism.
Sisterhood members Phyllis Newman
and Edith Stelzer
prepare for the Passover display at
one of the six homes on the tour.
At that year’s annual meeting, the temple formally recognized the importance of Sisterhood by passing an amendment entitling the Sisterhood president to a vote on the temple’s board of directors.
Sisterhood’s gift shop moved to a permanent location in the temple’s garden lounge in 1966. (Although it had been started in the late 1950s under Thelma Press, it had previously been located in the temple’s main hallway.) News coverage from its 1966 grand opening noted that proceeds would be used to furnish the religious school.
1966 marked the formal opening of the new location for Sisterhood’s gift shop.
In the late 1960s, Sisterhood started holding its popular Hanukkah dinners – a tradition that continues today. The latkes were made on site by hand, and the old social hall was filled to capacity with diners.
Phyllis Newman, who was Sisterhood president from 1967 to 1968, recalled that it was also during this timeframe that Sisterhood began hosting a Yom Kippur “break the fast” meal.
Mrs. Newman noted that Peggy Feldheym (wife of Rabbi Feldheym) was a longtime member of Sisterhood with a quiet yet profound influence on the group. It was at her behest, Mrs. Newman said, that Sisterhood established the Pulpit Flower Fund, through which donations could be made to provide flowers for Shabbat and holiday services and also to commemorate Yahrzeits and other occasions.
Sisterhood also successfully met its commitment to raise $35,000 – or 10 percent -- of the $350,000 cost for the Rabbi Norman F. Feldheym Religious Education Center. Sisterhood accomplished this over a five-year period through various fundraising events, including the 1966 benefit ball, “An Evening in Rome,” held at the El Rancho Verde Country Club in Rialto, and the 1967 Candlelight Ball, held at Massacre Canyon Inn in Gilman Hot Springs. The16-classroom building was formally dedicated in 1967.
Thelma Press, Evelyn Levin and Lois Samuels helped plan
Sisterhood’s 1966 benefit ball, “An Evening in Rome.”
In conjunction with the dedication of the Religious Education Center, Sisterhood expanded its annual directory (known as the “Sisterhood book”) into a special dedication journal. The commemorative journal featured a pictorial directory of the congregation, as well as a community calendar and local advertisements.