Other local Jewish women’s groups
The Sisterhood at Congregation Emanu El shares a legacy of community involvement with several other Jewish women’s groups in the San Bernardino Valley.
Henrietta Hebrew Benevolent Society
The Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society was formed in 1886 and was devoted solely to philanthropic activities. In 1890, following the death of its founder, Henrietta Anker, the group was renamed the Henrietta Hebrew Benevolent Society. Its members helped provide for local Jewish families in need and also arranged for Passover Seders and Chanukah events to be held for the Jewish patients at Patton State Hospital. During World War I, the Society held a number of loan drives for US Armed Forces. In addition, the women of the Society ensured that care was provided to the transients in the downtown area. The group eventually disbanded in the early 1970s, although many of its outreach activities continued to be carried on by both Sisterhood and B’nai B’rith Women.
B’nai B’rith Paradise Chapter No. 14
Another prominent group in the area, the Paradise Chapter No. 14 of B’nai B’rith, was formed in 1919 at the request of the president of the local Paradise Lodge 237 of B’nai B’rith. Known as “Daughters of the Covenant,” the group initially was composed of wives of B’nai B’rith members and handled social aspects of the B’nai B’rith lodge and also helped support the temple’s upkeep. When Sisterhood temporarily disbanded during the Great Depression, the women’s B’nai B’rith chapter continued this important function. The group continued to pursue social, philanthropic and education activities over the years. By the late 1980s, the local chapter was the second-oldest in existence and participated in a range of activities including supporting national B’nai B’rith programs, taking a role in women’s rights issues, and helping fund programs at local colleges and universities via B’nai B’rith’s Hillel organization.
In the mid-1990s, with membership in both the local chapter (the women’s group) and the local lodge (the men’s group) having declined, the women of Paradise Chapter No. 14 began attending the meetings of Paradise Lodge 237. In the early 2000s, Paradise Lodge 237 began the tradition of providing each bar and bat mitzvah in the congregation with an $18 gift certificate to the Sisterhood gift shop. The lodge disbanded in 2012. (Since then, the tradition of giving an $18 gift certificate to each bar and bat mitzvah has been continued privately by Rita Serlin, who had initiated the tradition for the lodge.)
Arrowhead chapter of Hadassah
The Arrowhead chapter of Hadassah was formed in 1948 to support Hadassah, the largest women’s Zionist organization in the world. The chapter was eventually rechartered as the Shalom chapter. Due to declining membership, in recent years some of its members have joined local chapters in Palm Springs. However, they have continued to help Sisterhood organize the annual Women’s Seder at Congregation Emanu El.
Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary
Organized shortly after World War II, the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary served alongside Post 512 of the Jewish War Veterans and concentrated on veterans’ rehabilitation, child welfare and canteen service.
The Galilee Chapter of Pioneer Women
Formed in 1947, the Galilee Chapter of Pioneer Women was a Zionist organization that helped its sister organization, The Moetzot Hapoalot, (the working women of Israel), to carry out a complete social, educational and training program for the women and children of Israel.
Presidents of Congregation Emanu El Sisterhood
Gloria S. Chodak
The Evelyn Sandler Award for
Sylvia Becker ז"ל
2000 - Evelyn Sandler ז"ל