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The Miriam Initiative is the umbrella concept for women’s programming at Beth El.

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The Miriam Initiative presents: Anybody Can Play A Good Hand
By Ozzie Nogg

Joanie Jacobson Zooms from home for a Rosh Chodesh program at Temple Israel in June 2020.

Are you a woman looking for a lively conversation with other women? Then   mark your calendar for Thursday, September 10, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm CDT and Zoom on in for Anybody Can Play A Good Hand — an out-of-the-box conversation for women hosted by Joanie Jacobson.

“This program actually had its start at Temple Israel,” Jacobson explained. “Last June, out of the blue, Ellen Platt called. She and Susie Norton were co-chairs of Temple’s Rosh Chodesh programs and they asked me to speak at one. ‘About what?’ I asked. ‘Anything!’ she answered. ‘Just ‘riff’ it.’ (Defined as a rapid, energetic, often improvised verbal outpouring, ‘riffing it’ was not for me.) But I did have an idea, one that had been sitting on my desk for years.

“Ever since I left Ohio State University after two years (college was not for me, either) and transferred to the Goodman Theatre School of Drama in Chicago, life did a 180 and it’s been quite a ride. Not all smooth. I’ve been shot — hit by a car — married, divorced and re-married to the same guy — single mom for three years — went two rounds with Bells Palsy. You get the picture. But it’s like my dad always said, ‘Anybody can play a good hand. It’s what you do with your s*** cards that says what kind of player you are.’ Amen, Dad.

“So for the last 50+ years, I’ve accumulated my very own list of -isms — lessons learned, mostly during the darkest of times, that have served me well along the way (sometimes the hard way) and continue to bring me peace, joy and laughs. I’m like the Farmers Insurance Group, ‘I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two,’ and if what I know saves a couple people some time and trouble, then it’s worth an hour.

“Here’s what we’re not going to talk about on September 10,” Jacobson noted. “Covid 19, Donald Trump, Congress, and CNN, MSNBC and FOX News. We’re going to do what women do so well — talk amongst ourselves. About what? Managing your life instead of it managing you. How do we do that? By making wise decisions, keeping the lid on the pot and taking back our power.

“Bringing women together to exchange thoughts and ideas is one of my very favorite things to do. It’s refreshing. And fun. There’s always a take-home. I look forward to sharing my story on September 10 (complete with -isms) and listening to other women share theirs.”

Click here to register for Anybody Can Play A Good Hand. Questions? Contact Robby Erlich at

The Miriam Initiative is an ongoing series of projects and programs created and implemented by Beth El women. The Initiative welcomes all women who want to participate at any level from leadership to fellowship.

Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781