The recent shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California have more in common than the senseless loss of life at the hands of a mad man.
Both shooters had an arsenal of weapons. Both obtained their guns legally. And neither fell into any category barred from gun ownership under federal law, including felons, convicted domestic abusers, dishonorably discharged veterans, and the mentally ill.
So tighter gun-control measures won’t work, right?
It is an argument frequently cited by gun rights advocates: Some mass shooters get their guns legally, therefore stronger gun laws are futile. But gun violence is a complicated puzzle. Fewer than 1 percent of homicide victims are killed in incidents where four or more people died. And even when you include mass shootings, the majority of gun deaths in the U.S. aren’t homicides. Two-thirds of the more than 33,000 gun deaths that take place in America each year are suicides.
Yet, according to multiple studies*, there is a clear correlation between strict gun legislation and lower gun violence rates. We are lucky to live in New Jersey, which has some of the strongest gun control legislation in the country and — not coincidently — the sixth-lowest number of gun deaths per capita and the lowest gun exports to other states.
Last spring, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law seven historic gun violence prevention bills that reduced magazine capacity, banned armor-piercing bullets and expanded background checks on private gun sales. In October, New Jersey passed a law that banned 3-D printable guns and “ghost guns” – those without serial numbers.
Now the administration wants to move quickly on what Murphy is calling his “gun safety package 2.0”. Murphy wants to tackle gun trafficking: States that do have strong gun laws are not immune from gun violence – they have to contend with a thriving underground market for firearms brought from states with few restrictions. In New Jersey, more than three-quarters of the firearms used in gun crimes are purchased in other states.
The gun safety package would make it easier to prosecute gun traffickers; as well as require every New Jersey gun retailer to carry smart guns, personalized handguns that only the owner can use; require photo ID to purchase ammunition; and help cities establish violence intervention programs.
If these laws pass, New Jersey will be a national model for gun safety. Let’s hope other states follow New Jersey’s lead in the quest to reduce gun violence deaths – whether they are suicides, homicides or mass shootings.
Look for updates from NCJW/Essex on ways to support New Jersey’s gun violence prevention laws in the coming months or contact Stephanie Abrahams, Director of Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can help.
* Studies were published by the Giffords Law Center, JAMA Internal Medicine, the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins, the academic journal Epidemiologic Reviews, the Rand Corporation, among others.
Watch our video celebrating 10 years of the Back2School Store
The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) honored Cathy Silverman of Roseland, NJ, at a Crown Jewels Gala in recognition of her dedication and leadership during 18 years serving as Executive Director.
The Crown Jewels Gala was held at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ, on Thursday, November 1, 2018, to honor Silverman and celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of the signature programs of NCJW/Essex, the Back 2 School Store. As Executive Director, Silverman has sparked the growth of NCJW/Essex with many new and innovative programs and initiatives such as the Back 2 School Store, Chai Circle, Mitzvah-in-a-Minute, the Period.Project, the Kids Emergency Closet, the Women’s Seder and the A-List for Advocacy to name just a few. She has doubled the organization’s professional staff, tripled the budget, and quadrupled assets. With Silverman at the helm, NCJW/Essex, has made a difference in the lives of women, children and families throughout Essex County and New Jersey.
Silverman, a lifetime member of NCJW, commented, “For 20 years as a volunteer and then 18 years as Executive Director, one thing has never changed in the way I feel about NCJW/Essex – there is no other organization more special than this one. Every day I look forward to my job and the work we do which enables me to experience the pure joy of the women, children and families whose lives we improve with our services.”
NCJW/Essex has been an advocate for social change in Essex County for over 100 years. Nearly 300 benefactors, volunteers, friends, family and staff were proud to pay tribute to Silverman at the Crown Jewels Gala.
“Throughout her tenure Cathy has demonstrated a constant desire to grow and nourish our organization, supporting creative ideas and innovative possibilities every year,” said NCJW/Essex President Lesley Greenstein. “Her continued efforts in fundraising have been instrumental in our ability to meet the needs of our community with new events and programs. We are so very lucky to have her.”
In addition, the evening featured recognition of the 10th anniversary of the NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store, a one-day pop-up store that outfits economically disadvantaged children in Essex County with brand new clothing, school supplies and personal care items to help them start school on a positive note, and a special performance by mentalist Oz Pearlman who left the audience speechless with his mind-reading skills.
Are you tired of always having to ask someone else to help you with computer tasks, especially your children? Did you learn how to use a computer so long ago and now feel intimidated by their streamlined look and how you access software?
You are not alone! The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women offers many different computer classes to help get you up to speed. Whether you are looking for the basics or are ready to learn some advanced skills, the Center runs classes year-round to meet your needs.
After many years of teaching computer classes at the Center, our instructors are still excited about each new class. Students are sometimes apprehensive but always eager to learn. Regardless of their individual situations, they are looking to acquire skills to get a better job, prepare for a volunteer position, or just have knowledge they feel most of their peers already possess.
Recently one student was applying for a job as a playground aide at a local elementary school. One of the job requirements was that she be proficient in Microsoft Word because on rainy days she would be required to help out in the office. Needing to gain this knowledge quickly, she attended the class in Basic Microsoft Word and was tutored in the advanced features she needed to know. She had to pass a proficiency exam and was very happy to learn that she excelled on the test and got the job!
At the Center for Women we encourage everyone to keep on learning and expanding their horizons. Our computer classes will help you become more confident and prepared for today’s world, in and out of the workplace.
We Are Here to Help
The dedicated group of professional staff members and trained volunteers at the Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women assists women who wish to return to the workforce with computer classes as well as resume writing, job coaching, and interview skills training. Our services are confidential and our programs are non-sectarian and open to all women, regardless of religion. Contact us. We can help.
University Hospital in Newark, NJ, was presented the Helen D. Schwartz Memorial Crystal Award at the NCJW/Essex Opening Event on October 23, 2018 at Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park, NJ. This award honors an individual, agency or corporation making an impact in the community and exemplifying 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 have forged a wonderful relationship with University Hospital that began 10 years ago through the NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store,” commented Lesley Greenstein, President of NCJW/Essex. “University Hospital was one of our original service providers for the Gaelen Family Resource Center and has provided countless families who have attended our Back 2 School Store with invaluable information and health screenings they otherwise may not have been able to access.”
Accepting the award on behalf of University Hospital were Annette Hastings, Chief Administrative Officer, Michelle Hepburn, Director of the Emergency Department and Mary Maples, Esq., Chief Legal Officer. “The future of Newark is in its children,” said Hepburn, “and we are privileged to work each year at the NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store where the atmosphere is inspiring. It is great to be able to help the community in this way.”
PHOTO: Pictured (l to r) are Mary Maples, Esq., Chief Legal Officer, University Hospital, Annette Hastings, Chief Administrative Officer, University Hospital, Lesley Greenstein, President, NCJW/Essex and Michelle Hepburn, Director of the Emergency Department. University Hospital accepted the Helen D. Schwartz Memorial Crystal Award in recognition of its commitment to NCJW/Essex and improving the quality of life for women, children and families.