Opening Event Features Shiza Shahid

NCJW/Essex Opening Event to Feature Shiza Shahid, the Woman Behind the Malala Fund “An Advocate for Malala – A Catalyst for Social Change”

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 – Brooklake Country Club, Florham Park

The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) announces its 2015 Opening Event featuring Shiza Shahid, 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. The NCJW/Essex Opening Event will take place on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m., at Brooklake Country Club, 139 Brooklake Road, Florham Park, NJ.

Shahid, along with a recovered Malala and her father, designed the Malala Fund, a NYC based non-profit that empowers girls through education and leadership around the world. From her hometown of Islamabad, Pakistan, to the halls of Stanford University, 25-year-old Shahid has gone on to gain 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.

Malala’s story resonated throughout the world and she was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. A documentary about her life, “He Named Me Malala,” opens in theaters on October 2, 2015.

Registration is required for the Opening Event which is open to the public and is free of charge to NCJW/Essex members and $20 for nonmembers. Boutique shopping, coffee and dessert are available from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm; the program begins at 7:30 pm. Those nonmembers wishing to join NCJW/Essex can apply $20 toward a new yearly membership of $50. Attendees can register for the event by calling (973) 740-0588 or online at

“Shiza Shahid’s energy and activism can inspire us all to search for ways to work for social change to make the world a better place,” says Deborah Legow Schatz, president NCJW/Essex. “We look forward to hearing about what she has already learned in her young life and her drive to be an activist for social change.”




Back 2 School Store 2015

Hundreds of Children, Hundreds of Smiles —

Over 600 Children Shop Cost-Free at NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store

 Walls completely lined with new patterned backpacks, rows of brand new sneakers, and racks and racks of clothing – this was the scene at the National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section, Back 2 School Store (B2SS) on Sunday, Aug. 2nd. In its 7th year, the B2SS outfitted more than 600 economically disadvantaged children and utilized over 400 volunteers this year alone. The children were able to shop cost-free for brand new attire, school supplies and personal care items, encouraging a well-equipped and confident start to the new school year.

Joan Gabin of Livingston, who has been a member of NCJW/Essex for almost 39 years, has volunteered at the B2SS since its inception. “The task to get this all up and running is monumental. It makes me so proud to be a part of it.”

The day began with a ribbon cutting ceremony for dignitaries and supporters of the store led by B2SS co-chairs Leslie Lavinthal, Lesley Greenstein and Paula Green. This year’s B2SS would not have been possible without major support from several corporate sponsors including Janssen Support Group, the Miller Family Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Eagle Rock Self Storage, Tradeweb Markets LLC, TJX Foundation and University Hospital.

Following the ribbon cutting, the store was opened to a long line of excited children, eager to enter the store and pick out brand new outfits including pants, shirts, winter coats, gloves, socks, undergarments and hats. The children, referred through over 30 social service agencies, were greeted by their own personal shoppers and then the student-volunteer duos began their shopping excursions. First stop: a hallway of colorful new backpacks! Then each child received a warm welcome into the 4,000 sq foot space, hosted at B’nai Shalom in West Orange. By the end of the spree, each child had a big bag of clothing in tow and a backpack filled with personal care items and school supplies.

“Some of the kids say, ‘Wow, I’ve never had my own toothbrush before!’ They have to share with their siblings,” said Laurie Schuftan, B2SS volunteer and NCJW/Essex member. “It is mind boggling what we take for granted every day.”

Ranging from college freshman to grandparents, the passion each volunteer brought was undeniably visible through the smiles of hundreds of children who filled the store. With three volunteer shifts throughout the day, each volunteer underwent specific training on how to optimize the shopping experience for the child in need. From picking out pens and calculators to help finding jeans with the perfect fit, the personal shoppers guided and encouraged each child through every step.

While the children were selecting school supplies and their brand new wardrobe, parents and guardians visited the Gaelen Family Resource Center. Here, blood pressure screenings, glucose tolerance testing, eye exams, information on proper dental care and more helped to identify individuals at risk for health concerns and educate them regarding follow-up care.

With shoes that fit just right and smiles from ear to ear, the children exited the store and were reunited with their parents. “Thank you all so much, this is amazing,” said one mother while she departed with her two children. “God bless.”

“This is such a worthwhile endeavor,” Gabin said. “Regardless of race, religion – when there is a need, we like to go there and help.”

Career Closet Benefits from Handbag Trade-In

NCJW/Essex Career Closet is the Recipient of  Handbag Trade-In Days from Brighton Collectibles at the Mall at Short Hills

The Career Closet, a program of the Linda and Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women, was the recipient of a special trade-in event at the fashion accessories store Brighton Collectibles that took place from July 17th to 26th. This is the fourth year the Brighton Collectibles store at the Mall at Short Hills participated in this event with the Career Closet being the recipient.

Pictured (l to r): Karen Feinblatt, Career Closet Co-Chair, and Joni Colon, Assistant Store Managing Partner, Brighton Collectibles.
Pictured (l to r): Karen Feinblatt, Career Closet Co-Chair, and Joni Colon, Assistant Store Managing Partner, Brighton Collectibles.

“Brighton is to be commended for its support of women entering the workforce who are faced with the financial challenge of having interview and work appropriate clothing,” said Karen Feinblatt, co-chair of the Career Closet. “This is really a wonderful thing for the NCJW/Essex Career Closet.

Brighton offered $25 – $50 off new handbags when buyers traded in their own gently-used handbags. The gently-used handbags were then donated to the Career Closet. In the past four years, the Career Closet has received over 500 handbags from the annual 10-day event.

Volunteers at the NCJW/Essex Career Closet, located in Livingston, NJ, serve as personal shoppers to assist women in obtaining career attire and accessories appropriate for the workplace. Women are referred by the NCJW/Essex Center for Women and other social service agencies and receive coordinating clothing and accessories appropriate for interviewing and the workplace at no cost. The objective is to help women enter an interview or begin a new job with confidence. The Career Closet is open to clients by appointment only.

Feinblatt explained that over the past four years, many of the Brighton trade-in participants have become frequent donors to the Career Closet. “Both Brighton and the Career Closet benefit from this collaboration,” she said.


PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured (l to r): Karen Feinblatt, Career Closet Co-Chair, and Joni Colon, Assistant Store Managing Partner, Brighton Collectibles.