In case you hadn’t noticed: The WCAA is not your mother’s alumnae association, where the main ways for alumnae to connect were based on when they graduated (class) or where they lived (club). SIGs—or shared identity groups—were launched a few years ago, with alumnae coming together in networks based on identity. There’s WAAD (Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent), WLAN (the Wellesley Latina Alumnae Network), W3A (the Wellesley Asian Alumnae Alliance), and WAPA (the Wellesley Alum Pride Alliance).
Now there are five.
This fall, the WJA—Wellesley Jewish Alumnae—made its debut, thanks to the joint efforts of leaders in the Jewish alumnae community, the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life, and the Alumnae Office. “The focus of WJA is to provide connections among Jewish alumnae of any denomination and regardless of the form their Jewish identity takes,” says Leah Kaplan ’02, the SIG’s interim president. “To be a member of WJA, an alumna need only self-identify as Jewish,” which includes alumnae who are not religious but identify as culturally or ethnically Jewish.
WJA now has a website (wja.alum.wellesley.edu) with a list of coming events and a newsletter. Alumnae can join simply by adding their names to the directory on the site.
The group will sponsor programs around the country. One of them, Shabbat Across the Miles, will bring alumnae together in various cities on the same night for Shabbat-related activities—whether challah making, or Shabbat dinners in homes, or dinner conversations with a speaker. WJA will connect to students and Jewish life on campus through the College rabbi, Dena Bodian.
The WJA will have an interim board until it holds elections in the spring. “We want a broad range of people from [different] class years and Jewish backgrounds on our board,” Kaplan says. “I want to encourage alumnae to join in.”