Our fall Lunch & Learn, Beyond the Border: Immigration in America Today, drew a capacity crowd to hear a panel of four experts in the field of immigration address topics surrounding immigration, including the politics of belonging, changes in refugee admissions, and how individuals who care about the future of our country can help.
Saving the world is a lofty goal
that seems impossible on an individual scale. Right now, America is faced with
issues surrounding reproductive
rights, gun violence prevention, human trafficking and voting rights – none of which
can be solved overnight.
But in just one hour, you can still make a
difference! If you are looking to share your passion for advocacy but are on a
tight schedule, the NCJW/Essex Advocacy-in-an-Hour
program is for you. This is an opportunity for individuals with limited time
but unlimited passion.
NCJW/Essex Advocacy hosted a successful Advocacy-in-an-Hour in the spring, fighting for reproductive rights. NCJW/Essex volunteers gathered to write postcards of support to abortion providers around the country who provide caring and quality services to protect women’s health. These clinics so often receive hate mail and withstand protestors at their sites, not to mention bearing the brunt of legislation coming down on abortion rights and access. In just one hour, our advocacy volunteers wrote over 200 postcards! This was a huge effort in a short amount of time, but one that was much appreciated by the recipients at abortion clinics nationwide. “It was a real morale booster,” said one representative whose clinic was a recipient of postcards. “It made us feel appreciated for the difficult work we do.”
If you have an hour to spare and the passion to change the world, we hope you will join us for the next Advocacy-in-an-Hour this fall! Watch for details!
Don’t have an hour? What about a minute? Our new Advocacy-in-a-Minute initiative is perfect for those who are interested in an issue and want to learn more in a short amount of time. Our own NCJW/Essex experts will be squeezing a wealth of knowledge and a Call to Action in 60 second videos. The video series will be posted in Happenings, on social media, and on our website. If you have the passion and the time, watch out for Advocacy-in-a-Minute soon! Feel free to email Stephanie Abrahams, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a passion for the news and are looking to do
direct volunteer service, the NCJW/Essex Current Events program, in partnership
with local independent living residences, is a sure fit. Volunteers facilitate
groups of senior citizens in engaging and timely discussions of local, national
and world events.
I expressed my interest, went to one of the groups as an observer and I was hooked! In the last two years I’ve facilitated groups with all types of volunteers, both men and women. The common denominator is our desire to bring newsy discussions to people who sometimes aren’t heard or listened to on the topics of the day.
I found out quite quickly that seniors have strong opinions
and want to express them. The role of facilitator is to set an open, honest and
respectful tone and try and give everyone a chance to speak. We don’t share our personal opinions, but
rather keep the discussion moving and suggest topics should the conversation
What happens in a typical hour-long group? I usually have a
list of topics on my phone along with an ending joke or funny story…always a
hit! We work in groups of two
facilitators each week; some facilitators work with notes, others bring
clippings from newspapers. We begin by asking, “What would you like to talk
about today?” and then it’s off to the races!
There are people of differing political persuasions in every
group. We’ve spent hours talking about
the state of the presidency, the #MeToo movement, moving the American Embassy
to Jerusalem, the North Korea summits, climate change, local elections,
self-driving cars and other tech innovations…the list goes on and on.
We’re always looking for additional facilitators.
You don’t need to have any experience with seniors, just a desire to lighten up
their day with a lively discussion. Make that first call and join the Current
Events team! Email email@example.com.
A new lipstick, a fresh journal and a lovely scented lotion – these may be items that you treat yourself to regularly, but for women in economic need, these are luxuries that may be out of reach. Volunteers at our most recent Mitzvah-in-a-Minute event decided to change that story. With the help of some generous donations, NCJW/Essex volunteers created dozens of “Take Time for You” gift bags filled with cosmetics, hair care products and other little luxuries that were presented to NCJW/Essex Center for Women clients throughout the month of May.
The gift bags are just one example of the way NCJW/Essex touches the lives of local women, children and families in economic need. The Mitzvah-in-a-Minute program is a series of community service projects planned throughout the year that can all be done in under two hours.
One of our newer projects is creating “Period Ready Kits” in partnership with the NCJW/Essex Period.Project. Volunteers fill cosmetic bags with sanitary pads, travel deodorant and lip balm. The bags are given to school nurses for distribution to middle school girls in need.
A favorite morning for many volunteers is chopping and
slicing vegetables for freezer-ready meals as part of Mitzvah-in-a-Minute “Fill-the-Freezer.” Center for Women clients
are so grateful to receive trays of homemade lasagna, burritos, soups and other
hearty dishes that they can serve to their families.
Involving your children in community service is easy with Family
Mitzvah-in-a-Minute events. At these fun, child-centered events, children
hear from local agencies about why their time and service are important and how
the packages they are assembling help the community.
If you have two hours, you can make a difference! To learn more about volunteering, organizing or hosting a Mitzvah-in-a-Minute, please contact Dina Stambler, Director of Volunteer Outreach and Membership at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the dinnertime discussion in your household is what you should have for dinner or where you should order it from, it might
be hard to imagine that in New Jersey, 1 in 10 persons and 1 in 7 children live
in households where there is no regular access to enough food to live healthy
and active lives. Often people are forced to choose between paying rent and
buying food, leaving little or no money to buy nutritious food to feed their
To combat what has become known as “food insecurity,” NCJW/Essex
is trying to do its part to help. Career Services Manager Patty Kremen started an
informal “food bank” known as Patty’s Pantry where she discreetly offers clients
at the NCJW/Essex Center for Women food and gift cards to help them feed their families
for several weeks at a time. Any food that is collected that Patty’s Pantry
cannot use due to space restrictions is donated
to Christine’s Kitchen, a food pantry in West Orange.
A dedicated team of amazing volunteers has been active as
well! In March a kick-off Pack the Pantry
committee meeting was well-attended. Participants were asked to be responsible
for a two-week collection period during which they would solicit direct food
donations as well as supermarket gift cards in $5 and $10 denominations. Many
of the women chose to honor their birthday weeks to do the collection. During
the meeting we brainstormed and came up with some terrific ideas as to how to
get the word out about the needs of our Center for Women clients. This year we
hope to hold a “mitzvah” event as well as to develop a process where we can
solicit stores (other than supermarkets) that sell food.
The Pack the Pantry committee needs your help! In addition to direct donations that can be brought to the office during regular meetings or NCJW/Essex office hours, we are looking for ambassadors to help us at outside NCJW/Essex sponsored events. If you would like to learn more about how you can help or if you would like to join our committee, please email Dina Stambler, Director of Membership and Volunteer Outreach. We greatly appreciate your support—no matter how big or small.
We at NCJW/Essex are outraged and heartbroken that we marked the six-month anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people lost their lives, with yet another shooting — this time at Chabad of Poway, California.
While it should be that horrific acts of hatred like these are unimaginable, unfortunately we can imagine them all too well. Hate crimes have surged at an alarming rate. Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. alone rose 60% in 2017. Those who lost their lives were simply worshipping, celebrating mitzvahs, standing with family.
As we have seen in Pittsburgh, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, hatred and access to guns leads to tragedy.
We cannot stand idly by and merely mourn. Our anger leads us to act now.
Please urge Congress to support the immediate passage of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (S. 2148/H.R.4918) to address the growing threat of white supremacist groups and other violent domestic extremists.
And ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote on the Enhanced Background Checks Act (S.42), already passed by the House.
Let us make the unimaginable truly unimaginable once again.
The Period.Project’s Time of the Month initiative is up and running! Each month one volunteer or group of volunteers serves as an ambassador for the Period.Project by identifying an agency of their choice, collecting feminine hygiene products and delivering them to women in need. Thank you to the many NCJW/Essex volunteers who have stepped up and taken the lead.
To date, more than 10,000 feminine hygiene products have
been collected and distributed. Period.Project members are proud not just of
the many boxes of product, but what they represent: the ability to help women
go to school or work; the knowledge women can provide for their families; and
the dignity of each woman we help.
committee members have also been advocating for A3868/S3645, a state bill that
requires school districts to provide feminine hygiene products in public
schools where a certain percentage of students fall below the poverty line.
Thanks to the committee’s efforts, the bill is now in committee in both the
Assembly and Senate, and legislators are signing on as co-sponsors! Look for a
future “Call to Action” once the bills are out of committee.
It is a
thrilling time to be part of the Menstrual Equity movement. Queens, NY
Congresswoman Grace Meng recently introduced
the Menstrual Equity for All Act, the
first comprehensive bill to address the different challenges that women and
girls face in affording and accessing menstrual hygiene products.
Together we are working to correct inequity and allow all women to maintain
their dignity and self-respect.
To help with
advocacy efforts, email Stephanie Abrahams, Director of Advocacy and Community
Engagement, at email@example.com.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 973-488-0054.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com.
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.