Start Your Engines … Join NCJW/Essex for the Launch of “Carpool Conversations”

– Have you ever been caught unprepared for the questions your children ask or wondered what they talk about when they think you’re not listening? The newest NCJW/Essex project, Carpool Conversations, aims to provide parents with the tools necessary to engage in conversations with their children about difficult and sensitive topics – before they face issues – allowing them to grow up strong, kind and safe. The project’s launch event will take place on Thursday April 4, 2019 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, NJ.

Carpool Conversations arose out of an NCJW/Essex production of SLUT: The Play in 2017, a provocative drama that sparked a conversation about consent, sexism and sexual violence as well as how to parent children in a particularly challenging environment influenced by social media. Acknowledging that conversations often start when parents are taking their children to and from activities, when they are not expecting or prepared for them to happen, NCJW/Essex created Carpool Conversations as an opportunity to help educate parents on how to navigate through these sensitive conversations with their children.

The launch of Carpool Conversations will include a panel of local experts: Donna Ellenbogen, M.S. Ed., LCSW, Jacqueline Mesnik, PhD, Andrea Sherman, LCSW, and Abby Silverman, MD. With their unique perspectives, they will provide parents with the tools to engage in important conversations with their children as well as educate attendees on sensitive topics so they have a better understanding on how to address them in a discussion.

The goal of Carpool Conversations is to breakdown walls between parents and children and open up opportunities for dialogue and understanding. Following the launch event, NCJW/Essex will continue Carpool Conversations with small group discussions facilitated by professionals in private homes or at the NCJW/Essex office about such topics as consent, sexuality explicit material, social media, body image and gender expectations.

The fee to attend the Carpool Conversations launch is $10 for NCJW/Essex members and $15 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, please call (973) 740-0588 or visit

Carpool Conversations: Things You Want To Talk To Your Kids About But Don’t Know How

Carpool Conversations Logo

It’s no secret among parents that talking to children about sensitive topics is never easy. Most of us don’t even know where to begin, and it’s become even more challenging in a world dominated by social media. To help parents navigate difficult conversations, NCJW/Essexis launching Carpool Conversations, a project developed in the aftermath of our sold-out production of SLUT The Play.

SLUT depicted the sexual assault of a high school girl by her male friendsand helped to shine a spotlight on critical issues like consent, sexism and sexual violence. The production sparked a flurry of dialogue among attendees about how to parent in a world filled with the realities presented by the play. Parents in the community were looking to do something to protect their children. 

NCJW/Essex heard these concerns and undertook extensive research into how to reach children before they faced the issues raised in SLUT, and thereby begin to unravel a culture in which these issues are all too commonplace. Carpool Conversations was developed to give parents of children in grades 4 through 7 tools for talking to children, allowing them to grow up to be strong, kind and safe.

Our upcoming April 4 introductory event will feature a panel of professionals specializing in working with this age group and experienced in dealing with hot-button issues like posting on social media, body image, sexting, internet pornography and gender expectations, among others. The panel will help attendees identify their own biases and explore various approaches to the types of conversations we know we need to have with young people in order to impact change.  Professionally-led smaller group discussions with a focus on specific topics will follow throughout the spring.

For more information about NCJW/Essex Carpool Conversations, please contact Stephanie Abrahams, NCJW/Essex Director of Advocacy,, 973-488-0054.

Women: Philanthropic Standard Bearers


Did you know that women are increasingly the nation’s powerhouse in charitable giving? It’s true. Increasingly, we have the resources: it is expected that within a few years, we will control two-thirds of all private wealth in the United States! And studies indicate that as our income rises, we become more likely to give to charity than our male counterparts.

Here at NCJW/Essex, we have benefited from women’s generosity for decades. Today, many members make year-end Special Gifts, significant one-time or multi-year gifts, or bequests in their wills to leave an enduring legacy. This support helps NCJW/Essex to serve women and children in Essex County and beyond.

But few, if any, donors have made gifts to NCJW/Essex out of the blue. Giving most often happens as a result of trust, familiarity, and concrete opportunities to match philanthropic impulses to personal passion.

And that is what the term development really means. We don’t chase dollars. We develop and sustain authentic, multifaceted relationships that often lead our members and friends to “give until it feels good.”

It is a privilege to have joined this amazing organization as Director of Development and to interact with our powerful leaders, members, and staff every day. There are many ways to support NCJW/Essex. I look forward to exploring them with you in the months ahead.

To learn more about ways to support NCJW/Essex, contact Jane Savitt Tennen, Director of Development, at (973) 488-0049 or

Commemorating the Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Decision Breaks Down the Stigma of Abortion

Fighting for reproductive rights is usually no laughing matter, especially when it requires examining the growing number of infringements on access to healthcare, the ways sexuality education is limited, and the dangers involved in being an abortion provider.

But this year at the NCJW/Essex special Lunch and Learn, “Ending the Stigma of Abortion,” more than 200 attendees learned how the Lady Parts Justice League, a team of comedians, writers, and producers, use humor to break down barriers in their efforts to protect reproductive rights. The group, founded by Lizz Winstead, co-creator and head writer of The Daily Show, examined the stigma attached to abortion as too often people are uncomfortable talking about the subject (even saying the word!) and the challenges of obtaining care. This has made it tough to expose myths, raise awareness and turn the tide on the attacks on access to care.

“We talk about abortion in silence and secrecy and we are trying to change that,” said Winstead. “Abortion is safe and necessary and we shouldn’t feel shamed by it.” Winstead was joined for a panel discussion by Jen Moore Conrow, MFS, who serves as the Director of PEACE at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she oversees the Fellowship in Family Planning and the residency education program, training the next generation of abortion providers; and Solange Azor, a New York City-based comedian, writer and activist for reproductive justice.

This special event commemorated the 46th anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that ensures a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. Attendees participated in a “call to action,” sending letters to New Jersey legislators in support of Bill A1861: Address Confidentiality Program for Reproductive Health Services Employees and Clients. This legislation would offer both staff and patients the option of confidentiality of their address, thus granting them safety and security for themselves and their families.   The following organizations were co-sponsors:  ACLU-NJ, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Hadassah of Northern New Jersey, Jewish Women’s Foundation, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey, League of Women Voters of New Jersey, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Institute for Reproductive Health, NCJW Bergen, NCJW West Morris, NCJW Union, Network for Responsible Public Policy, New Jersey Abortion Access Fund, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ Drug Policy Alliance, NJ Sierra Club, NOW NJ, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ, Rachel Coalition, S.O.F.I.A.-Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates, Stanton Strong, The Reproductive Justice Committee of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, The Women’s Centers, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action New Jersey

Easing Back Into Your Job Search in the New Year

In late November and December, job seekers may find themselves focused on holiday shopping, parties, travel, and entertaining rather than finding a new job. Likewise, late in the year employers may be focused on year end results, budget planning, and performance reviews, putting recruitment and open positions on the back burner. Once January rolls around, it is a great time to ease back into taking productive steps to achieve your professional goals.

If you are considering a job change, use your New Year’s resolutions to clarify your vision and values for the year, and incorporate those into your job search. Taking the time to revisit your personal vision and values and determine what brings you joy, what you’re great at, what pays your bills, and what contributes to your personal identity will allow you to determine where to focus your job search and land a position where you can thrive. Do you desire a career change or advancement in your current career? Are you dreaming of a move to another location, a simpler lifestyle, or furthering your education? How do these hopes and dreams translate into the type of position you are seeking?

Once you’ve achieved a focus that feels right, the following strategies are time-tested and effective:

  • Share that you are actively searching for a job with friends and family in order to get the word out.
  • Keep an open mind and conduct informational interviews to gather as much information as possible and leave yourself open to new possibilities.
  • Use online resources such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and others; set up job alerts through these sites.
  • Brush up on your interview skills and polish up your resume.
  • Focus on building up your self-confidence, self-esteem, and communication skills.

A new year, a new you, and your energy and enthusiasm will go a long way in making your professional dreams a reality!

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 resume writing, job coaching, interview skills training, LinkedIn and computer classes. Our services are confidential and our programs are non-sectarian and open to all women, regardless of religion. Contact us. We can help.

Visit our website:
Call: (973) 994-4994