Advocacy in a Post-Roe World

The Fight for Reproductive Justice Continues


NCJW/Essex Reproductive Rights Committee Co-Chair Phoebe Pollinger was invited to join a group of New Jersey advocates and legislators who met with Vice President Kamala Harris in Atlantic City on July 18. The Vice President has been traveling across the country, holding roundtables with those who are fighting on the frontlines, including stops in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina and is looking at states such as New Jersey to be models for protecting reproductive rights and abortion access. 

In addition to NCJW/Essex, other participants in the roundtable included NJ Attorney General Matt Platkin, State legislators including Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, representatives from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and more

Vice President Harris reviewed the President’s Executive Orders and the HHS Task Force efforts while AG Platkin discussed the newly created Reproductive Rights Strike Force within the NJ Department of Law & Public Safety to enforce the right to abortion access for New Jersey residents and those who travel to New Jersey from other states to seek abortion care. Legislators and advocates spoke about both the work that has been done already and the work still needed to ensure that abortion care is accessible to everyone who requires it regardless of income, zip code or immigration status.

Earlier in July, Phoebe, VP of Advocacy Laurie Kahn and Director of Advocacy Stephanie Abrahams met with Rep. Mikie Sherrill in her Parsippany office. The group discussed ways NCJW/Essex and the federal government can partner to fight to protect women’s rights in the post-Roe era. NCJW/Essex thanks Rep. Sherrill for her leadership on these issues.

Learn more about our work on Reproductive Rights.

NCJW/Essex Installation 2022

Renewing Connections, Honoring Friends
and Looking Forward

On a beautiful Tuesday in mid-June, NCJW/Essex gathered to welcome Jennie Goldsmith Rothman as our new President at the annual Installation brunch.

Jennie shared her vision for her term, urging everyone to collaborate and care to make a difference in the lives of women, children and families in our community. She spoke fondly about all the people she has connected and worked with – on the Executive Committee, on the Section board, the entire membership and the employees – and how each of us can play a vital role in making change in these increasingly turbulent times. As she took the gavel, Jennie reminded us that “the time to act is now. I’m looking forward to coming together with my people over the next two years to renew our connection and repair our world.”

Jennie comes to the Section presidency having served in multiple roles on the Executive Committee and leading various programs. She grew up in Memphis, was educated and trained as a lawyer and brings a new and refreshing perspective to the mission and people of NCJW/Essex

Installation is also the time to honor NCJW/Essex volunteers whose contributions deserve special recognition.

The Service to Section award winner, Janet Berger, was proudly introduced by her daughter Melissa (an incoming Section Board member!). Melissa said, “I always appreciate the opportunity to brag about my mom especially in front of so many women who love and admire her like I do… well, almost as much!”

For nearly 30 years, Janet’s insight, hard work and willingness to challenge the status quo surfaced in every program she participated in or led. Her resume includes many firsts: the first Kitchen Tour, the first Back 2 School Store, the first Martin Luther King Day event, alongside work on the Executive Committee, strategic planning projects and much, much more.

“I’m still doing my part and still finding it meaningful,” Janet offered. “We don’t do the work for the recognition, but I am touched and honored to receive this tribute.” 

Incoming VP of Advocacy Laurie Kahn was named this year’s Henrietta Weiser Emerging Leader Award recipient.  She is the perfect example of what happens when community service, advocacy and a full heart come together to make a difference. She gave thanks to all the mentors who brought her to NCJW/Essex and supported her as she continued her work on menstrual equity highlighted by The Period.Project. That was quickly followed by service on various committees, the Section Board and the Executive Committee.

“Mentors place their trust in us – even more than we trust ourselves – encouraging and challenging us every step of the way, always willing to catch us when we fall,” Laurie said, showing her heart once again. “It’s this trust that pushes us to become leaders, stepping outside of our comfort zone, tackling a project that seems insurmountable, working hard to produce the best possible work we can. And, at the end we smile, as we look at what we have accomplished and all the lives we have touched.”


Installation co-chairs Isabel Margolin and Paula Green, who once again produced a flawless event, reminded everyone what being part of NCJW/Essex means. In their welcome to the attendees, Isabel pointed to a “bow-tie” of elastic bands on each table and asked everyone to take one in their hand. She followed with: “Stress causes us to feel tense, but we have resilience, and we can snap back. Resilience is in our DNA. At NCJW, we are a living, breathing rubber band… we are strong, we are powerful, and we are resilient.”

Wise words always and especially now as the NCJW/Essex Executive Committee and Section Board 2022 – 2023 as begins their work.