For those who know Myrna Wertheimer, and her many contributions to NCJW/Essex, we applaud the fact that she is the recipient of this year’s Enduring Advocate for Social Change Award from NCJW National. This award recognizes her as an NCJW leader who has been advancing social change by being an NCJW advocate in our community for more than 10 years. But what you might not know is that this award is actually Myrna’s second national award: she was also recognized in 2003 as the recipient of the NCJW Outstanding Leadership Award.
An active NCJW/Essex leader since 1974, Myrna’s first focus was on Community Services which led to her passion to provide direct services to empower women. In 1987, Myrna created a communitywide forum, “Behind Closed Doors,” making public the issue of domestic violence in the Jewish home. Myrna studied for a year with the NJ State Division on Women, becoming an expert on domestic violence which started her advocacy journey, founding programs that include The Rachel Coalition, the MetroWest community’s response to domestic violence (where she still serves on the Board) and NCJW/Essex’s Teen Dating Abuse Awareness program.
Among her many accomplishments, Myrna also led two sellout performances of The Vagina Monologues, a rally for One Billion Rising, and a production of Slut: The Play, which opened the door to making counseling on sexism and sexual violence available to every Newark teen. Most recently, Myrna helped start and currently co-chairs the NCJW/Essex project Carpool Conversations, helping parents address their children’s contemporary issues.
Myrna shared that she could not have accomplished all that she has without her endlessly supportive family, noting also that she is proud to set the example of the importance of volunteerism and giving back to your community for her four grandsons. We believe that Myrna exemplifies the definition of “enduring.” Our section and NCJW at large have benefited from her many years of dedication to our advocacy work and community programs.
We are honored that Myrna still chooses us, and we as a section choose her to be our Enduring Advocate!