This year, as every year, Jewish Women International (JWI) honors the 45,000 women and children spending Mother's Day in battered women's shelters through our annual Flower Project. These families, and the shelters that house them, need aid and resources more urgently than ever.
JWI's Mother's Day Flower Project delivers hope — both in the bouquets, gifts and beauty products we send to 200 shelters across the United States on this special day, and through initiatives, supported by Flower Project proceeds, that work every day to educate communities, empower women and break the cycle of abuse. Over 70 synagogues and organizations have signed on to help raise awareness and funds for this important cause. For each $25 contribution, JWI will send a Mother's Day card to any woman the donor chooses, thanking her for the inspiration to help women in need.
Local Participating Synagogues and Partners:
Kesher Israel Congregation, West Chester, PA.
Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County, Uwchland, PA.
Beth El, Allentown, PA.
Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom, Wyomissing, PA.
Women of Vision - Jeiwsh Community Foundation of Central PA, Harrisburg, PA
JWI Chapter 0368, Batim, Union, NJ
JWI Chapter 0941, Springfield, NJ
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, NJ
Jersey Tribe, Morristown, NJ
String of Pearls Reconstructionist Synagogue, Princeton, NJ
Temple Har Shalom, Warren, NJ
Participating Local Shelters:
Laurel House, Norritown, PA
Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center, Tarentum, PA
Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, West Chester, PA
Women Against Abuse, Philadelphia, PA
The Safe House, Belleville, NJ
Women Aware, Inc., New Brunswick, NJ
Strength Our Sisters, West Milford, NJ
Jersey Battered Women's Service (JBWS), Morris Plains, NJ
"When you're a woman in a place like this you feel like you're not a part of the world. But when people do things like this it makes us feel like we still matter and we still deserve to be loved," said a shelter client at Hope House in Lee's Summit, MO, a 2010 flower project recipient. "Usually we just get the necessities - a bar of soap, some shampoo. And I'm grateful to have those things, but it's not very often you get something special - something that smells good, something that's beautiful."
"Throughout the year, JWI works on behalf of victims of abuse - building libraries in shelters, advocating for domestic violence legislation, and preventing abuse by teaching young people about healthy relationships," says JWI Executive Director Loribeth Weinstein. "The Mother's Day Flower Project is an opportunity to touch these women personally; to tell them that we care about them as much as the issue."
JWI thanks Papyrus and OPI Products, Inc. for their partnership with JWI in delivering bouquets, gifts and beauty products to the shelters. This year's card features the watercolor "Orchids," generously donated by artist Sabina Wohlfeiler for use in the 2011 Flower Project.
Beginning as a quiltmaker, Sabina has been creating art since the 1970's. In 1989 she took her first watercolor class and was captivated by the medium's immediacy and transparency.
Especially with watercolor, there is a unique "magic" that happens when artist's intention interacts with water, pigment and brush. It is that element of surprise that has kept Sabina working in watercolor, though she enjoys other mediums as well.
Though her subject matter varies, Sabina has continued to paint flowers. Georgia O'Keeffe's statement that people "don't really look at a flower" challenged Sabina to enjoy her garden at a deeper level and translate the beauty of a single bloom into a painting.
In 2002 Sabina traveled to Greece and did a series of monoprints, inspired by the vegetation she discovered on her numerous visits to the beach. Seeing the "beauty" in a weed, really looking at the shapes, colors, and forms is what her prints hope to communicate to viewers.
Sabina is a member of Artists Alliance Northwest and ORA Northwest Jewish Artists. Her work has been exhibited in group shows in Skopelos, Greece as well as locally at The Oregon Jewish Museum, The Portland Japanese Garden,Beaverton City Hall, Valley Art Center, and the Multnomah Art Center. Her work is included in private collections in France, Germany, and Canada.
To learn more about Jewish Women International's Flower Project, or to make a donation and send a card, visit their website or call 800.343.2823.
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