2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the Essex County Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). This video was created to celebrate the legacy of this incredible organization. Founded in 1912, the NCJW Essex County Section comprises a collaborative team including a 15-person executive committee, a 60-person section board, 12 staff members, dozens of committee chairs, and hundreds of active volunteers. With more than 3,400 members, NCJW Essex County Section is the largest of nearly 100 Sections around the country. Visit NCJW Essex County Section online at ncjwessex.org.
Our work falls under three broad umbrellas: Community Services for women and children from all over Essex County, NJ, as well as the surrounding counties of Union and Morris, and other parts of the state; Events and Programs for our members and for the community at large; and Advocacy, locally and nationally, on behalf of issues that affect women, children, and families.
Community Service at NCJW, Essex County
Our signature community service programs are:
Back 2 School Store, where hundreds of local, economically disadvantaged children can choose brand-new clothing, school supplies and personal care items in a one-day store set up just for them.
The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW Center for Women (CFW), where we provide free and low-cost services, such as a teen dating abuse prevention and awareness program in area high schools, support groups for women and children, a workshop/speaker series, computer classes, legal and financial counseling for women, and back-to-work assistance. In addition, as part of the statewide Displaced Homemaker Network, CFW provides back-to-work assistance — including resume and interview help, computer skills classes, and even an interview and work-appropriate wardrobe. Most of the women we serve are from Essex County, New Jersey, and the surrounding counties of Union and Morris. In many cases, we serve women from other parts of the state as well.
The Volunteer Network (TVN), which matches hundreds of adults and teens every year with volunteer opportunities in local settings. Our in-house volunteer knitting group, Creative Hands, meets regularly to create and distribute needlework projects like baby blankets, hats and lap robes. TVN also awards a scholarship annually to several civic-minded high school seniors who have made a difference in their communities.
In addition to these signature programs, NCJW, Essex County Section organizes a yearly Mitzvah Event, in which families can volunteer to help provide supplies for babies in need and a Telephone Reassurance Program to ensure that homebound senior citizens have someone to check in on them weekly by telephone.
Events and Programming for Members and the Community
The Essex County Section of NCJW offers many social events for the enjoyment of its members, as well as community events open to the public. We kick off every year with an Opening Event where a guest speaker talks about issues that touch our community. In recent years, keynote speakers have included: Gail Collins, NY Times op-ed columnist; Jean Chatzky, Financial Editor of "Today" on NBC; and Dee Dee Meyers, former Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton.
The Women of Wonder Film Festival takes place each fall, where attendees view short films and documentaries that depict the power and resiliency of women. In the spring NCJW sponsors a golf tournament and a house tour to raise funds. Our members also can enjoy our book discussions, Day Trips, and Savvy Solos, our single women's group.
Speaking out on issues related to individual rights and freedoms and taking a progressive stand on women's and children's issues are an important part of what NCJW does. NCJW members travel to the state capital to lobby legislators to support the Displaced Homemaker Network of New Jersey, and to Washington, D.C. to advocate for issues pertinent to NCJW's mission. Through our Advocacy program we sponsor several community Lunch & Learn programs, providing an opportunity to hear interesting speakers in an informal setting, and we host monthly Politics & Pastry groups for members to discuss and debate issues in the news.
NCJW partners with other local Jewish organizations on a variety of social and educational projects. We were a founding partner of the Rachel Coalition, a local domestic violence organization that provides services to domestic violence victims of all races, religions, and ethnicities. We co-sponsor with JCC MetroWest Center for Adult Enrichment, Life Long Learning, a continuing education program for anyone age 55 and older. Other organizations and programs with whom we partner include Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest NJ, New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, United Jewish Communities of New Jersey, and Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ.
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