Center for Women Special Day at Anthony Garubo

Anthony Garubo Salon in Maplewood Partners with the Linda & Rudy Slucker
NCJW/Essex Center for Women to Provide a Special Day for Women

Before January of this year, Monica Lutz of Bloomfield, NJ, a mother of three, was desperate. “I was married for 17 ½ years, then divorced with no profession and I felt so broken,” she recalled. “Then a brochure caught my eye – it said ‘empowering women’ – and I was lucky enough to find the NCJW/Essex Center for Women.”

On Monday, May 15th, Monica, along with eight other clients from the Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women, was treated to a special pampering, thanks to the generosity of the award-winning Anthony Garubo Salon in Maplewood, NJ. Usually closed on Mondays, the salon opened its doors and donated its time and talent to help empower the CFW clients with a new look. All services were donated and anything was possible, from a blowout to cut, color and even highlights, as the stylists consulted with each individual client.

“When I made that first phone call to the Center for Women I was immediately met with compassion and kindness,” said Lutz. “These were total strangers but they had my back and they helped me heal.” Lutz took advantage of the RISE program – Reaching Into Self Empowerment – as well as job coaching, resume writing, computer classes and women’s workshops. This month she starts a new chapter in her life with a new job, a fresh look and lots of support.

The Anthony Garubo Salon has graciously hosted this event for the past four years because of their desire to give back to the community and specifically to women in need. As Janine Garubo Austin, Managing Director said, “We love this tradition and it is the high point of our year. With spring and Mother’s Day, it feels like a good time to have a new beginning. My staff and I are honored to be a little bit of a catalyst for change.”

Patty Kremen, Career Services Manager at the NCJW/Essex Center for Women, organizes this event because she feels it is important to help women who are looking for a job or in transition to feel empowered and good about themselves. “Sometimes you are too focused on your job search and you need to take time to look inward and focus on yourself.” Patty also commented on the salon’s generosity remarking, “The Garubo Salon has given these women an amazing opportunity to feel refreshed and recharged.”

“I can’t express my gratitude enough,” said Lutz. “The Center for Women gave me hope and a reason to believe in myself. Today I feel like I am dreaming! I urge any woman going through a difficult transition to reach out to this amazing organization.”

The Center for Women is a resource for women focusing on growth and self-improvement. The Center offers workshops on a variety of topics, computer classes, legal guidance, career services and peer support. Clients of the Center are learning skills to enter or re-enter the workforce, finding encouragement to cope with new or unexpected life situations, gaining the confidence to develop their own career path and improving personal relationships.

The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women is located at 70 South Orange Avenue, Livingston, NJ. For more information, please visit www.centerforwomenNJ.org or call (973) 994-4994.

Lunch and Learn with Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

Building Bridges with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom
at the NCJW/Essex Lunch and Learn

In a moving afternoon of solidarity and friendship, NCJW/Essex sponsored a Lunch and Learn with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom (SOSS), a national organization focused on building relationships between Muslim and Jewish women. The program, Creating a Movement of Muslim & Jewish Women Changing the World, attracted over 150 people and was held at Congregation Beth El in South Orange, NJ.

In his opening remarks, moderator Rabbi Jesse Olitzky reminded the audience that the past doesn’t dictate the future. “Regardless of what happened in our history, we can hope for a better future. We have an opportunity, a responsibility and an obligation to live in a world where we refuse to stand idly by.” Introducing the panel from the SOSS he urged, “It is our responsibility to look out for ourselves and to look out for others. We extend our hand to know the other.”

Panelists including Sheryl Olitzky, co-founder and Executive Director, and SOSS members Nausheena Bhayat, Cyndy Wyatt and Miniimah Bilal Shakir, spoke eloquently about their mission of bringing together women, forming bonds and developing positive relationships that will ultimately have a positive impact in building interfaith alliances. “It’s easy to hate someone you don’t know,” reflected Sheryl Olitzky, “but we are about growing in friendship and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.”

In recent months, Muslims and Jews have banded together to fight against hate and prejudice. Interfaith coalitions like SOSS are strengthening their efforts to promote cooperation instead of hatred. The growth of SOSS across the country has been exponential in recent months, growing from 43 chapters in November, 2016, to 150 chapters across the country in April, 2017.

Through the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, Muslim and Jewish women are building bridges and fighting hate, negative stereotyping and prejudice. The feeling of love and friendship shared among the sisters at the NCJW/Essex Lunch and Learn was palpable. “We can do this,” said SOSS member Miniimah Bilal Shakir, “one sister at a time.”

Center for Women Receives Essex County Block Grant

The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women

Receives Block Grant from Essex County

The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women received a $10,000 block grant from the Essex County Department of Economic Development, Training and Employment, Division of Housing and Community Development.  The grant will go towards expanding the programs offered by the NCJW/Essex Center for Women, which has helped thousands of women with computer skills, job searches and personal guidance.

Pictured (l to r) are Anibal Ramos, Jr., Department Director from the Essex County office, Lisa Bayer and Cindy Charney, both of Livingston, NJ and co-chairs of Rainbows, a peer support group for children offered through the Center for Women, and Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Essex County Executive. Sue Wasserman, Director of Community Services for NCJW/Essex commented, “We are very excited about the opportunities that this grant will give to the Center for Women and the various programs that fall under its umbrella.”

For more information about the Center for Women please visit www.centerforwomenNJ.org, or call (973) 994-4994. Programs are nonsectarian and open to all women, regardless of religion.

NCJW/Essex Lunch and Learn: Featuring the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

NCJW/Essex Lunch and Learn

 Featuring the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

~Creating a Movement of Muslim & Jewish Women Changing the World~

 

NCJW/Essex is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn – Creating a Movement of Muslim & Jewish Women Changing the World– featuring the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a national organization focused on building relationships between Muslim and Jewish women. The program will take place on Thursday, May 4, 2017, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm at Congregation Beth El in South Orange, NJ.

The event will feature a panel of speakers from the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom (SOSS) including Sheryl Olitzky, co-founder and Executive Director, and SOSS members Nausheena Bhayat, Cyndy Wyatt and Miniimah Bilal. Rabbi Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El will serve as moderator. The panel will discuss the founding of the Sisterhood, its goals and evolution into a nationwide organization, and how it has changed lives.

In recent months, Muslims and Jews have banded together to fight against hate and prejudice. Interfaith coalitions are increasing and groups like the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom are strengthening their efforts to promote cooperation instead of hatred. Across the country Jews and Muslims are meeting to discuss issues and solutions to the problems facing both groups. This program will address the need to build bridges to fight hate and the importance of a strong partnership between Muslim and Jewish women.

Creating a Movement of Muslim and Jewish Women Changing the World will be held at Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Avenue, South Orange, NJ. Pre-registration is required. The fee is $20 for everyone and includes a buffet lunch. To register, please call (973) 740-0588 or visit www.ncjwessex.org.

Lunch and Learn “In Her Combat Boots”

“In Her Combat Boots” to Feature  Stories and Challenges of Women Veterans

NCJW/Essex is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn – In Her Combat Boots – Stories & Challenges of Women Veterans – on Thursday, March 30, 2017, to highlight the success stories and unique obstacles faced by women who have served in the military. The program, part of the NCJW/Essex Women Veterans Initiative which is generously funded by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of NJ, will take place from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm at Temple B’nai Abraham, 300 E Northfield Road, Livingston, NJ.

Women veterans are at least twice as likely to be homeless than non-veteran women and are more likely to return to homelessness, health issues, and poverty than their male counterparts.  Women are also more likely to experience some form of trauma and/or sexual harassment while in the armed services than their male counterparts. The system for aiding veterans was designed for and continues to be dominated by men and women veterans who often find that issues specific to them are not addressed adequately by the Veterans Administration.

Featured speakers include Priscilla Arias, Army National Guard Veteran, Janine Decker, Women Veterans Program Manager for the VA NJ Health Care System, Barbara Plyer, a counselor with Vista Healthcare, Sharon Stroye, Assistant Dean for the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers, and Jossie Thurman, current NJ Army National Guardsman. The women will share their insights and personal experiences as veterans or those working with female veterans.

Pre-registration is required. NCJW/Essex members and nonmembers: $20; program is free to veterans. The fee includes a buffet lunch. To register, please call (973) 740-0588 or visit www.ncjwessex.org.

 

The Information Void: A Discussion of Reproductive Health Education

The Information Void Surrounding Reproductive Health Education
Draws 200 Attendees

With the threats to reproductive health care access becoming ever more real, the NCJW/Essex program on Thursday, January 26th, The Information Void: A Discussion of Reproductive Health Education, drew a passionate crowd of 200 people ready to take action.

The program, sponsored by more than 20 organizations in support of a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health without interference from politicians, also commemorated the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ensuring a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. Attendees learned about the realities of what is and what is not taught in public schools about sexuality, the misinformation distributed to women seeking abortions via informed consent materials, and the frightening truths about “crisis pregnancy centers.”

Nicole Cushman, MPH, Executive Director of Answer at Rutgers University, explained that research shows that sex education works and has widespread support, but only 13 states require sex education to be “medically accurate.” Cynthia Daniels, PhD, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and lead author of The Informed Consent Project, shared her findings that one third of all information in informed consent booklets in 30 states was medically inaccurate, untruthful or misleading. And Jen Boulanger, MEd, Director of Communications at the Women’s Centers in PA, NJ, CT and GA, addressed the proliferation of “crisis pregnancy centers”—religious-based entities whose sole purpose is to prevent women from choosing abortion. These centers are unregulated and deceive women into thinking they are going to a medical clinic when, in fact, they are not medical facilities at all.

“We hosted this Lunch and Learn program to help people see that access to medically accurate, unbiased and factual information about reproductive health is essential to helping our children, teens and young adults develop into sexually healthy individuals,” said Phoebe Pollinger, NCJW/Essex volunteer and co-chair of the event. “At a time when politicians are pushing reproductive health care access out of reach, these topics take on added importance. Our hope is to fill the information void with truthful and medically accurate information so our youth, both male and female, can make smart decisions about their health and their futures.”

 

$100 for $100 Event Benefits Families NCJW/Essex Center for Women

“$100 for 100” Event Benefits Families from the
Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women

Fifteen children from eight different families identified by the Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women attended a very special shopping event on Sunday, December 11, 2016 at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Union, NJ. Sponsored by Joyal Capital Management Foundation, Inc., the “$100 for 100” event helps young people in need during the holidays and gives them the opportunity to shop with a generous gift of a $100 gift card. Children enjoyed hot chocolate and donuts while shopping for sporting equipment, clothing, ice skates, boots, and hundreds of other items throughout the store.

The “$100 for 100” began at a single store in 2008 and has grown to be an interactive community giving event which has expanded to 12 states and benefits more than 12,000 children each year. At each event, the Joyal Foundation provides gift cards to 100 children in need who have been nominated by members of the community or community agencies.

NCJW/Essex was included as a partner organization thanks to Matthew Stadtmauer of Summit, New Jersey, the state’s Lead Volunteer for “$100 for 100.”  Stadtmauer’s mother, Trudy Elwood, was an active member of NCJW/Essex and impressed upon him the importance of the organization’s advocacy work for women, children and families. “It was a natural fit,” says Stadtmauer, who adds that with each child who comes in to shop, his hopes for the program are realized.

The NCJW/Essex Center for Women, which offers career services, computer classes, workshops for women and support programs, was honored to partner with the Joyal Foundation for the second year in a row. “The generosity of the Joyal Foundation is truly inspiring,” comments Patty Kremen, Career Services Manager at the Center for Women. “It is wonderful to see how much joy it brings to children and families. Parents are able to grant wishes to their children and children feel exhilarated and empowered to be able to choose the items they really want.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Andrea Spielman (right), is pictured with her three children, Gianna, Ava and Tommy, along with Patty Kremen, Career Services Manager at the NCJW/Essex Center for Women. The children attended “$100 for 100” at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Union, NJ.

#EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking

A special evening event, #EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking – Our Children at Risk, was held in late November at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ, and featured a dynamic discussion with a distinguished panel of speakers. The panel helped to shine a light on the motivations of those who promote sex trafficking, what New Jersey is doing to combat trafficking, what social service agencies are trying to do to help those who have been caught up in the web of trafficking and, most importantly, what can be done to combat this horrific problem.

“Human trafficking is modern day slavery, asserted Lauren Hersh, moderator of the panel and co-founder of World Without Exploitation. “It is the fastest growing human enterprise in the world because the profit is high and the risk to exploiters is low.” Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of the NJ General Assembly, 37th district concurred, noting that human trafficking, and in particular sex trafficking, is a “debasement of our common humanity.” In 2013, Rep. Huttle sponsored bipartisan legislation in New Jersey, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act.

Attendees came away with a new found determination to join the fight to eradicate sex trafficking. NCJW/Essex is seeking participants to spearhead new efforts to bring this issue to light and educate the community and our children. “Awareness of the issue is a start,” said Sharon Falkin of West Orange, NJ who attended. “I want to encourage our legislators to take bold steps against traffickers.”

This program was co-sponsored by local organizations who share the goal of eradicating sex trafficking including: Temple B’nai Abraham of Livingston, the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey, Hadassah of Northern NJ, Temple Emanu-El of Westfield, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Monarch Housing Associates, Church Abolition Network, Covenant House, Jewish Women’s Foundation, World Without Exploitation, NCJW Bergen County Section and NCJW West Morris Section.

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Carol Cohen, (second from left), Chairwoman of the NCJW/Essex Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, is pictured with (from left): Nicole Bryan, PhD, Principal Investigator & Strategic Advisor, Human Trafficking Research, moderator Lauren Hersh, co-founder of World Without Exploitation, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of the New Jersey General Assembly, 37th District, and Jayne Bigelsen, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House, NY.

#EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking

The effects of sexism and misogyny are far reaching and their most terrifying manifestation is sex trafficking. How has the internet made it easier for men to exploit girls and women for sex? What compels men to abuse women in this way? Is there a justification to legalize prostitution? How can we combat sex trafficking in our own communities?

Join the National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section (NCJW/Essex) for a dynamic discussion featuring a panel of speakers with experience in helping victims and combatting sex trafficking — #EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking – Our Children At Risk — on Wednesday evening, November 30, 2016. The program will be held at Temple B’nai Abraham, 300 Northfield Road, Livingston, NJ, at 7:00 pm.

This Dessert and Dialogue will feature a distinguished panel of speakers who will shine a light on the motivations of those who exploit girls and women and promote sex trafficking, what New Jersey is doing to combat trafficking, what social service agencies are trying to do to help those who have been caught up in the web of trafficking and, most importantly, what can be done to combat this horrific problem that exists right here in the United States.

Our panel of speakers, with experience in helping victims and combatting sex trafficking includes: Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of the New Jersey General Assembly, 37th District, Jayne Bigelsen, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House, NY, and Nicole Bryan, PhD, Principal Investigator & Strategic Advisor, Human Trafficking Research. The panel will be moderated by Lauren Hersh, co-founder of World Without Exploitation.

The goal is for attendees to come away with a new found determination to join the fight to eradicate sex trafficking. NCJW/Essex welcomes participants to spearhead new efforts to bring this issue to light and educate the community and our children. One tangible effort already underway is a collection of art supplies for the Art Therapy Program at Covenant House to help victims of sex trafficking. Any art supplies are welcome, such as markers, scissors, adult coloring books, paint, paint brushes, construction paper and play dough, and can be dropped off the night of the program.

“#EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking – Our Children At Risk” is being co-sponsored by Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey, Hadassah of Northern NJ, Temple Emanu-El of Westfield, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Monarch Housing Associates, Church Abolition Network, Covenant House, Jewish Women’s Foundation, World Without Exploitation, NCJW Bergen County Section and NCJW West Morris Section.

Pre-registration is required. The program fee is $15 per person and includes coffee, tea and desserts.  To register, please call 973-740-0588 or visit www.ncjwessex.org.

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Dahlia Lithwick Draws Crowd at Opening Event

NCJW/Essex enjoyed a full house at the 2016 Opening Event on November 3, 2016 at Brooklake Country Club featuring award-winning journalist and legal commentator Dahlia Lithwick as keynote speaker. In a timely address, Lithwick, a contributing editor at Newsweek and a senior editor at Slate, spoke about the Supreme Court and why it matters to an audience of several hundred people.

“The Supreme Court tries to be faithful to our Constitution while at the same time strives for justice,” said Lithwick, adding that paradoxically, it is also partisan and political. She referred to the Court as a precious institution and the “crown jewel of our democracy.” But, she explained that with the Senate blocking the appointment of nominee Merrick Garland for the seat previously held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court is stymied in a 4-4 tie. The vacancy on the bench is among the longest vacancies on the Supreme Court in U.S. history.

Lithwick writes the “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence” columns for Slate.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Commentary, among others, and she has appeared as a frequent guest on CNN, ABC, The Colbert Report, The Rachel Maddow Show and National Public Radio. She won a 2013 National Magazine Award for her columns on the Affordable Care Act. She has twice been recognized with an Online Journalism Award for her legal commentary and was the first online journalist invited to be on the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

“The Supreme Court is boring and wonky, but also magical and mystifying, and it matters so very much,” remarked Lithwick who cautioned that we are getting perilously close to a constitutional crisis and warned that the Court is too important an institution to be delegitimized. “It is heartbreaking that we are breaking it.”

Also speaking at the program was Janine Garubo Austin, managing partner at the Anthony Garubo Salon in Maplewood, NJ, which has donated its time and talent to help empower clients of the Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women clients for the past three years. “We have the ability to transform someone with a pair of scissors and hair dye,” commented Garubo, “but we are just polishing the shell to let inner light shine a little brighter. These women are on a brave path of reinventing themselves and rebuilding confidence. Our staff has found that to give is to receive, and they are humbled and gratified to help.”

“The heartfelt and powerful messages from both of these women resonated at our Opening Event,” said Shari Harrison, president NCJW/Essex.  “Our hope is that attendees recognize that whether it concerns the Supreme Court, a small business, or an individual client from our Center for Women, what we do matters. We encourage everyone to channel their interests and talents and get involved.”