Shiza Shahid Inspires Action

Shiza Shahid Appeals to Audience to go Beyond Inspiration to Action

at the NCJW/Essex Opening Event

NCJW/Essex enjoyed a full house at the 2015 Opening Event on October 20, 2015 at Brooklake Country Club featuring Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund. Shahid posed the question, “What will you do with your one miraculous life?” to the audience, and encouraged attendees to realize the power within to create immense social change.

Shahid, this year’s keynote speaker for the NCJW/Essex yearly kick-off event, is an entrepreneur and advocate, passionate about leveraging philanthropy, venture capital, technology and the media to drive scalable social impact and women’s empowerment. Friend, advocate and global ambassador for Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who, at 15-years-old dared to advocate for girls’ education and was shot by the Taliban in 2012, she co-founded the Malala Fund to empower girls through education and leadership around the world and led the organization as its founding CEO.

“There are no superheroes — just us,” Shahid remarked, as she implored people to find their purpose and act for a better world. At 25-years-old, the Stanford University graduate from Islamabad, Pakistan, has gained international recognition as a social entrepreneur who has made it her life’s work to drive social change and invest in others who are passionate about marching forward for global progress.

Also speaking at the program was Charity Haygood, Principal of the BRICK Avon Academy in Newark, who spoke from the heart about what inspires her to push for quality education for all. The BRICK model – Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids – infuses the characteristics of the highest performing urban schools into historically failing schools, unlocking the potential of every student. The BRICK Avon Academy is one of four locations housing the NCJW/Essex Kids Emergency Closet, providing essential items of clothing to children in need throughout the year.

“NCJW/Essex embodies the message that both these women asserted – that when people find their purpose and live intentionally they can make progressive strides in our society,” said Deborah Legow Schatz, president NCJW/Essex. “There is plenty of work to do — right here in Essex County and in the world in which we live. NCJW/Essex can help anyone who wants to get involved to go beyond inspiration to action.”

Lunch and Learn — Rainbow Journeys

NCJW/Essex Lunch & Learn — Rainbow Journeys: The Times, They Are A-Changing to Feature Members of the LGBTQ Community

We have experienced an enormous legal, political and cultural transformation in our country surrounding LGBTQ issues. NCJW/Essex is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn – Rainbow Journeys: The Times, They Are A-Changin’ – on Thursday, October 29, 2015 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm to explore these changes with members of the LGBTQ community. Panelists will be joined by a representative from Garden State Equality and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), to share their stories in light of past and recent developments in the courts, Congress, and the world in which we live.

The program will be held at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, 432 Scotland Road, South Orange. Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel is co-sponsoring the program with Rabbi Daniel Cohen serving as moderator. Pre-registration is required. NCJW/Essex members: $20; Nonmembers: $25; includes a buffet lunch. To register, please call 973-740-0588 or visit

WOW Film Festival 2015

NCJW/Essex Announces the Annual Wonder of Women Film Festival

Progressive Independent Films Portray the Universal Spirit and Courage of Women


LIVINGSTON, N.J., September 24, 2015 – A mother flees from her home in Pakistan with her ten-year-old daughter when the father promises a rival tribe leader his daughter’s hand in marriage… A woman teaches modern dance at a prison and the lives of the prisoners have never been the same… A guard at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall follows a woman’s notes in the holy stones…

These captivating stories and several others, including Pakistan’s official entry into the 87th Academy Awards under Best Foreign Film, will be presented at this year’s Wonder of Women Film Festival, sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at the Maurice Levin Theater on the Ross Family Campus of the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC, 760 Northfield Avenue in West Orange. The Film Festival showcases the universal spirit and courage of women of all ages, manifested through short films and documentaries created by independent filmmakers. This one-day event will be held from 10:00 am – 3:15 pm.

Following are summaries of some of the planned films. The final program is subject to change.

  • Dukhtar (Daughter): The dramatic story of a mother who flees with her daughter after the father promises a rival tribe leader his daughter’s hand in marriage as a peace offering. The story takes a thrilling turn when the mother and daughter get a lift from a sympathetic truck driver who, after hearing the story, has to decide between saving his own life or protecting the duo and delivering them safely to Lahore.
  • Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion: Set in Dublin in the 1970’s, this film explores a rarely glimpsed Ireland as seen through the eyes of spirited seven-year-old, Hannah Cohen. Hannah can’t wait to make her Holy Communion – only problem is, she’s Jewish!
  • The Game Changer: Every Sunday afternoon for the last seven years, Susan Slotnick drove an hour up the mountains to the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium security prison for men, to teach modern dance. The lives of men whom she touched have never been the same.
  • To Be Like Avi: A coming-of-age story of three friends, refugees who fled Africa and left their families behind. The film follows them during their senior high school year. At the end of the year they will find out whether they can achieve the impossible and join the IDF or be deported back to their countries – and to a sentence of certain death.
  • Dear God: A poetic Jerusalem seen through the eyes of Aaron, a simple Wailing Wall Guard, that follows a mysterious beautiful woman’s notes in the holy stones of Jerusalem.

“Each year the film festival brings to the screen thought-provoking, relevant and entertaining films by women that shed light on many aspects of women’s lives,” says NCJW/Essex President Deborah Legow Schatz. “We are extremely proud of our line-up this year.”

The fee for all day admission is $45 per person for NCJW members and $60 per person for nonmembers. Nonmembers wishing to join NCJW/Essex can apply $15 toward a new yearly membership of $50. Included with the cost of admission is a Kosher box lunch. Reservations are required. Seats will be available on a first-come basis on the day of the festival. For tickets and directions, please call NCJW/Essex at (973) 740-0588. Registration is available online at, or you may mail a check to NCJW/Essex, 70 South Orange Ave, Suite 120, Livingston, NJ 07039.


The film festival has been made possible through the generous support of Audrey and Norbert Gaelen.