In the News

NCJW/Essex Receives Grant from The Montclair Foundation in Support of the Back 2 School Store

LIVINGSTON, NJ, June 18, 2014 – The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) has received a grant of $2000 from The Montclair Foundation in support of the 6th Annual Back 2 School Store.

The NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store provides an opportunity for economically disadvantaged children in Essex County to “shop” for free for back-to-school essentials in a one-day-only “store” set up just for them in a 4,000 square foot space. With the assistance of NCJW/Essex volunteer personal shoppers, each child is escorted through the department store-like space to select pants, shirts, sneakers, undergarments, a winter jacket, and a backpack in their favorite colors and styles. Each child also receives school supplies – including binders, notebooks, pencils, a calculator, and a dictionary – as well as a small supply of personal care items. All of the merchandise is brand new, purchased or donated by NCJW/Essex and its sponsoring partners.

Since its inception five years ago, the Back 2 School Store has served more than 2300 children and has utilized the services of over 2000 volunteers who planned, organized and worked at the one-day event. This year’s Back 2 School Store is scheduled for Sunday, August 3, 2014, where once again NCJW/Essex plans on fulfilling the wishes of more than 600 Essex County economically disadvantaged children, giving them the needed self-esteem to insure a successful beginning to a new school year.

“We are so grateful to The Montclair Foundation for their key role in supporting our work and helping our 6th Annual Back 2 School Store come to fruition,” said Deborah Legow Schatz, President of NCJW/Essex. “Their generosity goes a long way toward ensuring that hundreds of children have the clothes and supplies they need to start the school year off right.

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NCJW/Essex Honored with Four out of Four Stars by Charity Navigator

LIVINGSTON, NJ, June 24, 2014 – The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) was honored with a coveted four out of four stars by Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in the United States.  Because of NCJW’s sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency, NCJW/Essex has received the highest rating possible by the esteemed charity evaluator.

According to Charity Navigator, NCJW/Essex has successfully adhered to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and constantly execute its mission in a fiscally responsible manner.  Only about 25 percent of charities evaluated by Charity Navigator receive the perfect score, thus making NCJW/Essex a member of an elite group, outperforming most charity organizations nationally. “It is important that our donors trust that we’re using our funding wisely to champion programs that benefit women, children and families,” said NCJW/Essex Executive Director Cathy Silverman. “Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously.”

Rating information for NCJW/Essex is available free of charge on www.charitynavigator.org

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NCJW/Essex Calls Supreme Court Ruling on Access to Family Planning Services 
a Defeat for Women and Religious Freedom

LIVINGSTON, NJ, June 30, 2014 – The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) condemns today’s Supreme Court’s decision to allow employers to deny access to family planning services through employer-provided health insurance based on a claim of personal religious objection to contraception. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that private health insurance coverage include such access in any standard package of benefits. In separate cases, the owners of Hobby Lobby, a for-profit craft store chain, and Conestoga Woods Specialties Corporation, a for-profit furniture manufacturer, sought to assert a religious objection to withhold this preventive benefit. NCJW signed an amicus brief in each case in support of contraceptive coverage.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court struck down the law’s provision intended to ensure that millions of women workers – as well as women dependents of working men – would have access to birth control services at no added cost,” said Deborah Legow Schatz, president of NCJW/Essex. “Our members worked hard to help enact the Affordable Care Act and to ensure that such coverage would be part of the package of key preventive benefits offered to all covered workers, and that company leadership would not be able to interfere in women’s ability to make their own personal medical decisions.”

Ms. Schatz continued, “Under this ruling, private employers may be emboldened to cite religious objections to discriminate, potentially picking and choosing what services to cover in accordance with their own religious beliefs – eroding a worker’s religious liberty. This might even jeopardize the basic protections of the new health care law, as well as those of many longstanding civil rights and labor laws affecting private employers. Workers should never be forced to abide by personal religious views imposed by their boss.”

The Supreme Court cases in question, Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Woods v. Sebeliusboth contain claims that employers ought to be able to disregard requirements of federal law that are contrary to their personal religious beliefs. More than 40 employers are involved in such lawsuits regarding the Affordable Care Act. Contraceptive access for women and families is a critical health and economic security issue. Nearly all women of child-bearing age report using contraceptives at some point in their lives, and many use them for medical conditions unrelated to family planning. Seven in ten Americans agree that health insurance companies should cover the full cost of contraceptive services, just as they do other medical conditions.

NCJW/Essex Calls Supreme Court Ruling on Access to Family Planning Services 
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Representatives from NCJW/Essex Visit Congressman Frelinghuysen (11th District) to Lobby for Gun Sense in America

LIVINGSTON, NJ, July 7, 2014 – NCJW/Essex joined forces with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America as part of a large-scale campaign effort to reduce gun violence in America. On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, NCJW/Essex members Shari Harrison, Ellen Barocas, Nina Goldman, and Joy Stone visited the Morristown office of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen to deliver 3,300 voter pledges to support local, state and federal candidates who will fight for common-sense laws to reduce gun violence.  Nina Goldman and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, New Jersey Chapter leader Mandi Perlmutter, were invited to speak with Congressman Frelinghuysen to express concerns on the matter. The visit by NCJW/Essex was part of the #NotOneMore campaign which aims to drop off nearly 2.5 million postcards nationally to elected officials to push for  legislation to reduce gun violence such as expanded background checks.

Photo caption 1: (from left to right) NCJW/Essex members Nina Goldman, Shari Harrison, Joy Stone and Ellen Barocas visited the Morristown office of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen to deliver 3,300 voter pledges to support local, state and federal candidates who will fight for common-sense laws to reduce gun violence.

Photo caption 2: Pictured with Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen are (left) NCJW/Essex member Nina Goldman and (right) Mandi Perlmutter, NJ Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

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NCJW/Essex Center for Women Partners with DCH Auto Group to host Professional Seminar on Careers for Women in the Auto Industry

LIVINGSTON, NJ, July 14, 2014 – The Professional Women’s Association of DCH Auto Group partnered with NCJW/Essex Center for Women to offer a professional event for clients of the Center –“Careers for Women in the Auto Industry,” — on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at the DCH Millburn Audi Dealership in Maplewood.  The Professional Women’s Association of DCH Auto Group is an organization focused on recruiting and training female employees in the auto industry, which has been historically male-dominated.  The organization was initially formed to study how it can better attract, retain and advance female employees.

The event, from 11 am – 2 pm., offered women an opportunity to network and become informed about career opportunities in auto dealerships as well as improve their skills in building their brand and making good first impressions in the business world.  The program offered an informative look at careers for women within the DCH Auto Group with discussions led by DCH professionals from the executive level, human resources, dealership sales management, and service management.

Carrie Ferrantino, DCH Human Resources Manager, welcomed the group and introduced participants in a round table discussion:  Lisa Ocasio, General Sales Manager at DCH Freehold Nissan, Cathy Strauss, Assistant Service Manager at DCH Freehold Nissan, and Susan Scarola, DCH Vice Chairwoman.  Ms. Ocasio discussed her experience as a single mother, “breaking in” as a female sales manager in an industry that has been and continues to be male-dominated.  She offered inspiring words to the women, encouraging them that the “sky’s the limit” regarding their ability to succeed in such a competitive business.  Ms. Strauss discussed her experience as a female manager on the service side of the auto industry.  She inspired the women by reminding them that women manage the biggest industry – the household. “Because we are listeners, we can succeed in any industry, including the auto industry,” she said. Keynote speaker Ms. Scarola spoke about her rather circuitous journey into the auto industry.  She reiterated that throughout her journey, from kindergarten teacher to accountant to president and CEO of DCH, “if there’s one thing that propelled my career at DCH, it was my communication skills.” Each of the women, regardless of their varying positions at DCH Auto, was able to offer valuable insight into the industry, and develop enthusiasm among the women participating to break into the workforce with a mission to succeed.

Following the round-table discussion, Anne Wargo, DCH Consultant to the Professional Women’s Association, led a hands-on workshop on creating a positive and memorable first impression and networking to advance one’s career.  She aided participants in creating introductory statements to use professionally as well as encouraged them to practice on one another, utilizing valuable communication skills.  In conclusion, Deborah Schatz, President of NCJW/Essex, addressed the audience about the advocacy efforts of NCJW/Essex and the Center for Women in improving the lives of women, children and families. “I want to thank DCH Auto for hosting such an influential workshop that has opened the door to new career opportunities in the auto industry for our clients,” she said.

Photo captions:
Photo 1: Clients from the NCJW/Essex Center for Women learned about careers for women in the auto industry at a professional seminar in partnership with DCH Auto Group.

Photo 2: Panelist Lisa Ocasio (center), General Sales Manager at DCH Freehold Nissan, discussed her entry into the auto industry.

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NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store Celebrates 6th Anniversary Benefitting More Than 2,300 Disadvantaged Children Since 2009

LIVINGSTON, NJ, August 3, 2014– The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) proudly celebrates its 6th Annual Back 2 School Store (B2SS) today, Sunday, August 3, 2014 at B’nai Shalom in West Orange.  Since its inception in 2009, B2SS has benefitted more than 2,300 children and utilized over 1,800 volunteers. This year, we will be serving 600 children with the aid of 375 volunteers.  The children, from kindergarten through fifth grade, are able to “shop” cost-free for an array of brand new school supplies, clothes, and personal care items in a department-store-type setting set up just for them.

The Back 2 School Store is a one-day event from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, set up to appear as a department store in a 4,000 square-foot space donated by B’Nai Shalom. All of the clothes and supplies have been donated by local individuals, families, and businesses; in addition, NCJW volunteers shopped for brand-new clothes and supplies throughout the year in major retail stores. With the assistance of NCJW volunteer “personal shoppers,” each child is escorted throughout the store to select and try on clothing to create an entire new outfit including a shirt, pants, sneakers, socks, underwear, winter jacket, hat and gloves.  Volunteers also act as shoe fitters, staff private fitting rooms and restock inventory. In addition to the clothes, children are given a new backpack which they fill with school supplies and personal care items. The children have been identified by over 35 local social service agencies as needing additional financial support.

While the children are shopping, parents and caregivers will visit the on-site Gaelen Family Resource Center where they can take advantage of health screenings, pick up information about healthcare and community resources, and learn about career and educational opportunities. Services and information offered include blood pressure screenings, glucose tolerance testing, eye exams and proper dental care for children.

For more information about the Back 2 School Store, please visit the NCJW/Essex website, www.ncjwessex.org.

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NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store A Huge Success — 650 Children ‘Shop’ at the 6th Anniversary Store

LIVINGSTON, NJ, August 7, 2014– The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) proudly celebrated its 6th Annual Back 2 School Store (B2SS) on Sunday, August 3rd at B’nai Shalom in West Orange.  Every year, hundreds of children from kindergarten through fifth grade are able to “shop” cost-free for an array of brand new school supplies, clothes, and personal care items in a department-store-like setting created just for them. This year, 650 children shopped at the store with the aid of 375 volunteers. Since its inception in 2009, the B2SS has benefitted nearly 3000 children and utilized over 1,800 volunteers.

The day began with a ribbon cutting ceremony for dignitaries and supporters of the store led by Karen Cherins, immediate past president of NCJW/Essex, and B2SS chairwoman Ellen Legow. This year’s B2SS would not have been possible without major support from several corporate sponsors including Eastern Dental, Shoprite of Brookdale in Bloomfield and the soon-to-be-opened Shoprite of Newark on Springfield Ave., Janssen Supply Group, CarePoint Health and Tradeweb Markets LLC, along with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the TJX Foundation.  Following the ribbon cutting the store opened to “shoppers” at 10 am. As the children arrived, wide-eyed, and uncertain of what to expect, they signed in and met with their personal shoppers. Their first stop was a hallway lined with colorful backpacks and personal care items such as dental supplies and hairbrushes that they could put in their new backpacks. Once inside the ‘store’ is when the fun really began as children could pick out a full new outfit, complete with a winter coat, sneakers, pants, shirt, undergarments, socks, winter hats and gloves. “Clothes! I get new clothes too?!” exclaimed one young girl as she walked into the store with a huge grin. The children were encouraged to select styles they wanted and then try them on in dressing rooms set up just for them.

The personal shoppers were all extremely enthusiastic about helping the kids find their perfect outfit, and ensuring the children gained the most out of the experience. “It was wonderful to see the children light up, given an opportunity they never imagined they could have in their circumstances,” said Leslie Lavinthal, a volunteer personal shopper and committee co-chair. “I was overwhelmed by what a rewarding and heartwarming experience it was to volunteer at this amazing event.”  The shoppers also assisted the children in trying on sneakers and then helped them fill their backpacks with school supplies such as notebooks, calculators, composition books and scotch tape.

While the children were ‘shopping,’ parents and guardians visited the Gaelen Family Resource Center where they could have blood pressure screenings, glucose tolerance testing, eye exams and learn about proper dental care for children. As the children finished shopping, they emerged with smiles from ear to ear carrying all their new gear to be reunited with their parents who shared their smiles.  One mother from Newark, who brought her soon-to-be kindergarten son to the event, thanked NCJW/Essex for giving her son the opportunity to start the school year ready to learn. “This is the most awesome event of the year, thank you,” she remarked.

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

B2SS Photo 1: Volunteer Erica Silverman of Livingston helped Tommy at the Back 2 School Store pick out his brand new backpack, clothes and school supplies, all cost-free, at 6th Annual NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store .

B2SS Photo 2: A young shopper at the 6th Annual NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store tries on his new winter coat for size.

B2SS Photo 3: With the help of NCJW volunteer Linda Jacobs of Livingston (far left with clipboard), young Zara is all smiles as she picks out a new winter hat and a pair of gloves at the 6th Annual NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store.

B2SS Photo 4: Volunteers Ali Blankmeyer (left) and Cara Silverman (right) are pictured with two girls from the East Orange Family Success Center after a great day of B2SS “shopping” cost-free at the 6th Annual NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities Awards $10,000 Grant to NCJW/Essex for 6th Annual Back 2 School Store

LIVINGSTON, NJ, August 8, 2014The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) received a generous $10,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of the New York Tri-State Area, benefitting the 6th Annual Back 2 School Store, which was held on August 3rd.

The NCJW Back 2 School Store, an event held each year by NCJW/Essex, provides an opportunity for disadvantaged children, grades K-5, to “shop” cost-free in a one-day pop-up store full of brand new clothes and school supplies donated by NCJW/Essex and its sponsoring partners. Each child is escorted by a volunteer “personal shopper” through the store to pick out his or her own new backpack with school supplies, and a new outfit complete with a winter coat, pants, shirt, sneakers, undergarments, and winter hats and gloves.

This year, 650 children visited the store, the largest turnout since the inception of the NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store. Over 375 volunteers were involved in planning, organizing and working at the store on the day of the event.

“On behalf of NCJW/Essex, I want to thank Ronald McDonald House Charities for their generous donation,” said NCJW/Essex president Deborah Legow Schatz. “We are so grateful to have such incredible sponsors to contribute to a cause so close to our hearts.  Without them, none of this would be possible.”

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ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield Makes Major Contribution to NCJW/Essex’s 6th Annual Back 2 School Store

LIVINGSTON, NJ, August 18, 2014— One of the most influential sponsors for this year’s NCJW/Essex 6th Annual Back 2 School was ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield which donated all of the undergarments and socks for the August 3rd event.

The NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store benefits hundreds of children in Essex County each year when economically disadvantaged children are able to “shop” cost-free in an entirely volunteer-run one day pop-up “department store.” The children are able to select an entirely new outfit complete with undergarments, socks, new sneakers, a winter coat, hat and gloves, as well a new backpack with school supplies and personal care items. This year, with major support from several corporate sponsors such as ShopRite, 650 children were able to shop at the store with the aid of 375 volunteers.

Neil Greenstein, the owner of ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield and the soon-to-be-opened ShopRite of Newark on Springfield Ave., partnered with NCJW/Essex to stock the store with the donation of undergarments and socks. Paula Piekes, Human Services Supervisor from the Township of Bloomfield Human Services, registered 90 children for the Back 2 School Store and was extremely appreciative of the efforts of Mr. Greenstein on behalf of ShopRite.  “Neil is extremely generous and always so dedicated to helping our Bloomfield residents, especially when it comes to children,” said Ms. Piekes. “The Back 2 School Store is so wonderful because it makes children eager to go back to school and learn.  So many of our kids have such a difficult experience returning to school as they don’t have the clothing and essentials, like undergarments or school supplies.  It really puts them at a disadvantage with the other children. On behalf of the Township of Bloomfield, I would like to take the opportunity to thank NCJW and its corporate sponsors. You really move education ten steps forward.”

ShopRite of Brookdale and the upcoming ShopRite of Newark on Springfield Ave., projected to improve the area tremendously and provide new job opportunities, is extremely supportive of the Back 2 School Store. According to NCJW/Essex President Deborah Legow Schatz, “Because of the generous efforts of all of our donors, we are able to continue one of our favorite events of the year. The Back 2 School Store makes a huge impact on the well being of children and families throughout Essex County.”

B2SS Photo 1: Personal Shopper Mel Jacobs of Livingston (left) and James R. Gonzalez, President and CEO of University Hospital, help a child pick out a package of socks in the right size at the 6th Annual NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store. ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield donated all of the undergarments and socks to this year’s event.

B2SS Photo 2: NCJW/Essex Volunteer Nina Goldman (left) was in charge of undergarments and socks for the 6th Annual Back 2 School Store. Along with personal shopper Phyllis Jacobs, she helps a young child pick out a 6-pack of girls socks, donated by ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield.

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NCJW/Essex Opening Event to Feature Elizabeth Smart “Overcoming Adversity: The Elizabeth Smart Story” October 28, 2014 – Brooklake Country Club, Florham Park

LIVINGSTON, N.J., September 24, 2014 – The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) announces its 2014 Opening Event featuring Elizabeth Smart, an American activist and contributor for ABC News who gained widespread attention at the age of 14 when she was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City and rescued nine months later. The NCJW/Essex Opening Event will take place on Tuesday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m., at Brooklake Country Club, 139 Brooklake Road, Florham Park, NJ.

The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. In the aftermath of her ordeal, Elizabeth began the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to prevent crimes against children. She will share her incredible story of perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardship, telling not only her personal story but also discussing topics such as overcoming adversity, the importance and process of recovery, and not allowing one’s past to dictate the future.

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 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm; check-in begins at 5:45 pm and the program begins at 7:30. 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 ncjwessex.org.

“Elizabeth Smart offers a poignant look at what it means to have hope in a difficult situation,” says Deborah Legow Schatz, president NCJW/Essex.  “We all look forward to hearing her story and how it has shaped her life as an adult.”

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