NCJW/Essex Mitzvah-in-a-Minute Holiday Shop and Wrap

LIVINGSTON, N.J., December 18, 2014 A group of dedicated volunteers participated in the NCJW/Essex Mitzvah-in-a-Minute Holiday Shop and Wrap on December 16th to help brighten the holidays for children in need. The effort was coordinated by Toy Drive co-chairs Brenda Appelbaum and Debbie Merkin of Livingston. All gifts will be delivered to children in the foster care system through the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The Mitzvah-in-a-Minute program, chaired by Robin Kollin of Livingston, focuses on providing community service opportunities while helping the needy in the region. Most events require a one time, two-hour commitment. For information about future Mitzvah-in-a-Minute community service projects, please contact Dina Stambler, NCJW/Essex Director of Membership Outreach and Volunteers, at 973-740-0588, or


Photo 1: Pictured (l to r) are volunteers Lauren Scher, VP Volunteer Outreach for NCJW/Essex and Ellen Loventhal, both of Livingston, wrapping toys for children in need at the Mitzvah-in-a-Minute event in December.

Photo 2: A dedicated group of volunteers spent a morning wrapping gifts for the NCJW/Essex Holiday Shop and Wrap to benefit children in the NJ foster care system.

NCJW/Essex Center for Women Partners with Comcast Spotlight and DCH Auto Group to Host a Professional Networking Event for Women

LIVINGSTON, NJ, December 17, 2014 – The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women, in association with Comcast Spotlight, held an inspiring professional networking event on Thursday, December 4, 2014 hosted by the DCH Professional Women’s Association at DCH Auto Group in Maplewood. A panel of professional women discussed their individual career paths and attendees had an opportunity to practice networking skills, brush up on fashion trends with a representative from Bloomingdale’s and win fabulous door prizes.

The event offered women an opportunity to network and become informed about career opportunities with Comcast Spotlight as well as improve their skills in making good first impressions in the business world. The panel, moderated by NCJW/Essex President Deborah Legow Schatz, included Aura Pascua and Carina Bandeira, Account Executives with Comcast Spotlight, and Sue Wasserman, Director of Community Services, NCJW/Essex. The panelists shared their experiences on how they succeeded in landing their positions and strategies and tips for balancing work with family and personal needs.

At the culmination of the afternoon a raffle was held for door prizes. Special thanks to Comcast Spotlight, Bloomingdale’s and Anthony Garubo Salon in Maplewood for generously donating gifts.

Photo captions:
Photo 1:
Panelists (l to r) Aura Pascua, Account Executive, Comcast Spotlight, Sue Wasserman, NCJW/Essex Director of Community Services, and Carina Bandeira, Account Executive, Comcast Spotlight, spoke about their job search experiences at the NCJW/Essex Center for Women networking event.

Photo 2: Consultant Anne Wargo (standing) stressed the importance of planning, preparation and practice in helping attendees develop their plan for success at the NCJW/Essex Center for Women networking event.

Photo 2: A representative from Bloomingdales shared the latest interview fashions and styles with participants at the NCJW/Essex Center for Women networking event.

SaxBST Honored at
 NCJW/Essex Celebration Event

LIVINGSTON, NJ, November 19, 2014NCJW/Essex presented the Helen D. Schwartz Memorial Crystal Award to the accounting firm SaxBST at a special event on November 12, 2014 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange – NCJW & NJ – Perfect Together!  This award honors an individual, agency or corporation who has made an impact in the community and who exemplifies the goals and purposes of the National Council of Jewish Women through outstanding vision and contribution to the community in education, social action and service.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the pros who crunch the numbers,” remarked Karen Cherins, past president of NCJW/Essex who presented the award.  “But more importantly, their not-for-profit group understands the unique challenges facing non-for-profit organizations and provides them with the expertise necessary to help such organizations flourish and grow.”

SaxBST has supported the Section’s volunteer efforts and participated in the annual Back 2 School Store. In addition, they have made a commitment to volunteerism within their own organization, sponsoring an annual winter clothing drive for professional attire, a yearly charity run-walk event to benefit St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, and their ‘Fist to Five’ seminars to benefit non-profits.

Josh Chananie, SaxBST partner in the not-for-profit group, accepted the award on behalf of SaxBST along with his colleagues Todd Polyniak and Marqus White.

PHOTO: Josh Chananie of SaxBST is pictured with Karen Cherins, past president of NCJW/Essex, accepting the Helen D. Schwartz Memorial Crystal Award in recognition of their commitment to NCJW/Essex and improving the quality of life for women, children and families.

Natalie and Richard Peck of Essex Fells, NJ, 
Honored at NCJW/Essex Celebration Event

LIVINGSTON, N.J., November 17, 2014NCJW & NJ – Perfect Together! was the theme of a fundraising Celebration Event held at Mayfair Farms in West Orange on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, honoring Natalie and Richard Peck of Essex Fells, NJ. The Pecks have shown unflagging support and involvement in the National Council of Jewish Women’s mission to improve the lives of women, children and families in New Jersey.

“We are so fortunate that Natalie and Richard care so deeply about their community and agree that giving both time and money to an organization such as NCJW is easy when you believe in the mission and know that what you give has an impact,” said NCJW volunteer Ellen Lynette who offered an introduction. “Their actions speak loudly, their commitment is steadfast and their support is ongoing.”

The evening also included a special presentation of the Helen D. Schwartz Memorial Crystal Award to SaxBST. This award honors an individual, agency or corporation who has made an impact in the community and who exemplifies the goals and purposes of the National Council of Jewish Women through outstanding vision and contribution to the community in education, social action and service.

The casual cocktail hour rocked to the sounds of New Jersey, highlighting music about the Garden State and featuring local recording artists. New Jersey-themed centerpieces adorned the dining tables, and the food had a Jersey flair with farm stand vegetables, Sopranos-style Italian food, and old fashioned deli. At the end of the evening, attendees were treated with some “Down the Shore” favorites to take home.

Over 200 benefactors, volunteers, friends, family and staff were proud to pay tribute to NCJW/Essex which has been an advocate for social change in Essex County for over 100 years.

PHOTO: Event co-chairs Marion Medow (far left) and Sharon Falkin (far right) are pictured with honorees Natalie and Richard Peck of Essex Fells, NJ.

The RISE Program
 Reaching Into Self-Empowerment Debuts at Camp Happy Times for Children with Cancer

Livingston, NJ November 12, 2014 — This past August, NCJW/Essex volunteer Karen Feinblatt of West Orange, NJ, facilitated the NCJW/Essex RISE program (Reaching Into Self-Empowerment) at Camp Happy Times, a weeklong overnight summer camp experience for children ages 5-22 who have or have had cancer. This free camp program, operated by the non-profit organization The Valerie Fund, is a cause close to Karen’s heart because she has seen how the children and young adults who attend camp put their cancer on the back burner and just have fun. It is also an opportunity for family members to have a respite from medical concerns and just relax, often with their other children.    

Camp Happy Times, located in Pennsylvania, was founded 31 years ago and focuses on providing campers a recreationally therapeutic environment that helps to build self-esteem, friendship and independence. Throughout the week, the campers are encouraged to take on the challenges of all the activities the camp has to offer while building confidence and self-assurance. Karen, a long-time volunteer with NCJW/Essex and Camp Happy Times, saw an opportunity to bring the RISE program, which shares many of the same goals, to the young adults at camp. “I really felt that the Leaders in Training (LITs) would benefit immensely from the RISE workshop which focuses on viewing life in a positive light. Many of the young women started out in Cabin 1 as my campers, and it was a pleasure to see how they have matured and blossomed.”

The program was offered to the LITs, ages 19-22, many who have been campers since they were six and seven years old. In one exercise, participants selected and read a positive quote and introduced themselves explaining the quote’s relevance to their lives. They also wrote their own positive self-affirmations and were encouraged to read and repeat them out loud each day. Said one participant: “This program encouraged me to focus on the positive aspects of my life and not dwell on my illness.”

This was the first year RISE has been part of the Camp Happy Times schedule, and its success certainly indicates it will continue in the future. “The program was so worthwhile and the workshops really resonated with the campers,” reflected Karen. “I hope we can increase the program next year. RISE is a great NCJW/Essex program and it is wonderful to see it being utilized at Camp Happy Times where it can have a positive influence on young adults who are or have been coping with cancer.”