NCJW December 2018 News and Events
Happy Chanukah
There are many stories of Chanukah. We might teach our children about the miracle of the oil, we may tell how a small band of soldiers defeated an army, we could even study the story of Judith/Yehudit. We may even tell with more modern stories - how Chanukah is celebrated throughout the world and how it is (and was) celebrated in places and times where Jews practiced their faith in secret.

One thing remains the same - Chanukah is a story of rededication. And coming just before the secular new year, Chanukah is a wonderful time to rededicate ourselves in so many ways - rededicate yourself to your family, rededicate yourself to your ideals, rededicate yourself to social justice and community service. What will you rededicate yourself to this season? Let us know on our Facebook Page - click here to comment .
An NCJW Chicago North Shore Tribute is a thoughtful way to acknowledge a life event while supporting NCJW’s many valuable projects. You may purchase an individual tribute or packages of tribute cards.

To purchase Tributes visit

We Need Your News!
Whether you are celebrating a simcha or sharing your sorrow, your NCJW friends want to know!

Keep NCJW informed of your life events: weddings, babys, graduations, b'nai mitzvahs as well as illnesses and grief. Email We are here to share with you.
NCJW Updates
NCJW's Washington Institute 2019
It's never been more urgent for us to come together in our nation's capital to make change happen. Join us at NCJW's Washington Institute, April 7-9, 2019.

What's Washington Institute? It's our premiere policy conference. Hundreds of NCJW activists, members, and leaders will gather in Washington, DC to meet with lawmakers, build advocacy skills at interactive workshops, get inspired by speakers leading the way in today's movements, and renew our commitment to create lasting social change

Visit our website to learn more about the conference and watch our 1-minute video to get excited. A limited number of scholarships are available for AVODAH alumni and AEPHI alumnae who are first-time attendees to Washington Institute.

Tireless Grassroots Activism Leads to Defeat of Unacceptable Nominee
NCJW expressed its relief at the Senate’s rejection of Thomas Farr to be a US District Court judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The sidelining of Thomas Farr is, in no uncertain terms, a nod to the powerful voice of grassroots advocates fighting for social change around the country. Since the 1980s, if not earlier, Thomas Farr has dedicated his career to voter suppression. As an attorney, Farr participated in the late Sen. Jesse Helms’ campaign strategy to intimidate black voters away from the ballot box. What’s more, he seems to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the depth of his involvement in this heinous, racist scheme. Farr was nominated twice before by President George W. Bush for this seat but his nomination failed. President Obama then nominated two qualified, independent African American female candidates in a row for the seat, who were rejected for purely political reasons. Farr’s lifetime confirmation would have been a new low for this Senate, which is saying a lot. Farr’s defeat is a victory for the people of North Carolina, who deserve independent, well-qualified judges. It is vital that even more senators continue to stand up for all Americans by only confirming judicial nominees who have proven that they will be fair, unbiased arbiters of justice.NCJW’s powerful network of grassroots advocates will continue to fight for the long-term health of our nation’s federal bench.

Great reminders of why #CourtsMatter!
  • ASYLUM BAN: On November 8 and 9, President Trump attempted to limit asylum seekers from entering the country by stating that individuals crossing the US-Mexico border between official ports of entry would not be eligible for asylum. Civil and immigrant rights groups filed suit, and on November 19, a federal judge from the Northern District of California temporarily blocked the ban until the case for a permanent block is argued in December. The Trump administration is appealing the temporary block. In the meantime, however, the southern border is experiencing an increase in asylum seekers and migrants, but official ports of entry are only processing limited numbers of people each day, putting migrant children and individuals at risk. Further, the administration has authorized troops at the border to use “lethal force.”
  • ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: A federal judge on November 20 struck down a Mississippi abortion law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, one of the most restrictive in the United States. The Mississippi law would allow exceptions to the 15-week ban in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality, but not for rape or incest. Doctors found in violation of the ban would face mandatory suspension or revocation of their medical license.
  • TRANSGENDER MILITARY BAN: On November 23, DOJ requested the Supreme Court bypass all lower appellate courts and quickly rule on the transgender military ban. The petition from Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued that the ban “satisfies the standard” for a fast-track through the lower courts. The proposed policy would disqualify transgender service members and require individuals to serve under their biological sex. The Trump administration continues to move forward with the ban despite a comprehensive conclusion from a RAND study that allowing transgender members has “little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.”
  • VOTING RIGHTS: On Tuesday, Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit group formed during the 2018 midterm elections, filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia’s interim secretary of state on the basis that multiple federal laws were violated in the midterm election, including the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The lawsuit calls for sweeping voting reform throughout the state, in particular challenging Governor-elect Brian Kemp’s “exact match” and “use it or lose it” policies, which removed hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls. The suit aims to impose uniform standards for voting rights across all districts, end voter purging, and require Georgia to obtain federal preclearance before changing its voting laws.
Interested in learning more about Why #Courts Matter? Email and ask to be added to their newsletter.
Take Action: Things YOU can do
Volunteer with the New Americans Democracy Project
Are you interested in volunteering to register first-time voters? Are you interested in helping our newest American citizens fulfill their first privilege of citizenship immediately after their official Oath Ceremony? Here’s your opportunity to do both! The “Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Right” (ICIRR) organization needs volunteers to offer one hour of time to help register these newest U.S. citizens at downtown Chicago locations. Shifts are available any of five days a week, either 10:00 am or 1:00 pm. No formal registrar training needed, just an interview with ICIRR’s Volunteer Coordinator downtown. For more information, email

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made clear that he intends to confirm all remaining federal judicial nominees in the queue before the end of this Congress. That list includes some of the worst nominees from preceding months. Federal courts are the last line of defense for our constitutional rights. Federal judges serve lifetime appointments and will continue to interpret and control constitutional rights long after the Trump administration. Tell your Senators to VOTE NO on these dangerous nominees!
  • On October 10, the Department of Homeland Security published its proposed public charge rule in the Federal Register Notice. The rule would radically expand the list of programs that may be considered when the government determines if someone is likely to become a “public charge,” i.e. primarily dependent on the government. It would allow the government to consider whether immigrants use programs like Medicaid, food assistance, housing vouchers, or more when issuing visas and green cards. Advocates have until December 10 to submit a comment.
  • We know that our leaders, activists, and members are the reason we’ve achieved so much over the past 125 years and how we will continue to make change happen in the next century. To celebrate you and all of your hard work, we want to tell your stories. We are collecting 125 stories (at least) about the people in our NCJW family who have inspired and connected us.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that 2.4 million Americans have selected health insurance plans through state and federal marketplaces, an 11% drop from this point in 2017. Though the administration has starved enrollment efforts, shortened the enrollment period, and promoted short term and “junk” insurance plans, there are still two weeks left in the open enrollment period to get covered.
Did you participate in the NCJW webinar program Tzedek, Tzedek, Tirdoff: Tools for Transformation? Well NCJW has a new webinar series called Lead! Organizing skills for grassroots advocates

Each month (on the the third Wednesday at 1:30pm ET) you will learn a new skill related to advocacy and organizing through our interactive and conversational Webinars. Click here to register for the December webinar.
NCJW Chicago North Shore Upcoming Events
NCJW CNS Board Meeting
Wednesday, December 12, 10:30 am
Location given with RSVP
Get more involved in NCJW Chicago North Shore Section and help shape the future of our section. Board meetings are open to all active members. RSVP to

Future Board meeting dates include: January 9, 2019, February 6, 2019, March 6, 2019, April 3, 2019, May 1, 2019.

NCJW Women’s Salon: The Truth about Central America's Migrant Caravans
Thursday, December 13, 7:30 pm
Location given with RSVP
Please join us to learn the facts about the current "caravan" of refugees and asylum seekers from Central America. Our speaker is Esteban Carvajal from the Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with Congregation Hakafa and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA). As Jews concerned about social justice, we look forward to becoming more educated and active in welcoming immigrants. Email to secure your spot.

Additional dates and topics for the Women's Salon include: Sunday, January 13: Reproductive Rights in Illinois, Thursday, February 14: Sex Trafficking, Sunday, March 24: Domestic Violence Arts Project, Thursday, April 11: Gun Violence Prevention and Thursday, May 9: TBD.
Reproductive Rights in Illinois: Shelter in the Storm
Sunday, January 13, 2019, 2:00 pm
Lincoln Park Location given with RSVP
On the anniversary of Roe v Wade learn about the history of reproductive rights here in Illinois and the progressive agenda planned for the upcoming legislative session. We’re honored to have Lorie Chaiten, a respected Reproductive Rights advocate and educator as our speaker. Registration will open on December 10. Visit for more information as it becomes available. 


“Dying to Know” Series
Replogle Center, 126 E. Chestnut, Chicago

Join NCJW, Skyline Village Chicago, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being, Fourth Presbyterian Church, and JourneyCare for a series of life-affirming conversations about living and dying well. Attend one program or all three. Dates are below and additional details will be available at in January. All programs are on Wednesday afternoons from 2-4pm.
April 3, 2019: Being Mortal, film and discussion about quality of the end of life.
May 22, 2019: Resources for Making and Implementing Your Choices.
June 19, 2019: Death Over Tea. Small group discussions about living and dying well.
Silent Witness Stories
The Silent Witness Exhibit of Illinois honors those who have died from acts of intimate partner violence. The Exhibit consists of life-size female figures, each bearing a shield telling the true story of an Illinois woman killed as a result of domestic violence. The figures provide a powerful visual impact to raise awareness of the tragedy and loss we all suffer when lives are taken senselessly through domestic violence. Groups may use the Exhibit for outreach, education and fundraising programs.

The Silent Witness Exhibit has been viewed in Illinois by thousands of people in dozens of venues since it was launched in 1997 by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Chicago North Shore Section. The Silent Witness Exhibit of Illinois is part of the National Silent Witness Initiative, start ed in 1990 in Minneapolis. 

Click here  for more information about hosting the Silent Witness Exhibit.

Each Month in the NCJW E-News, we will highlight a Silent Witness Story, so that the victims of domestic violence will never be forgotten.

Martha McLees
Age 44
Hickory Hills
May 18, 2003
Martha had been married less than a month to Thomas Yohe when she disappeared, leaving behind her glasses, driver’s license, credit cards and clothes. Police found large quantities of blood in the condo the couple shared. Thomas killed himself May 30 while being pursued by police. He had previously served 18 years for murdering the woman he lived with and had been released within the year. Martha’s parents described him as a perfect gentleman. Her body was found two years after her disappearance. She left behind three children. 
Other Items of Interest
Victory! The VOICES Act is Now Law
NCJW Chicago North Shore congratulates The Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois is on the verge of a major victory. The campaign drafted the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors (VOICES) Act, which will increase protections for immigrant survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, and other offenses. The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly with strong bipartisan support, but Governor Rauner vetoed the measure in August. The General Assembly recently voted to override the Governor’s veto to pass VOICES Act in a win for domestic violence and immigrant rights advocates
Three out of four physical assaults and four out of five rapes never get reported to police. Immigrant survivors face compounded fear that reporting to law enforcement will lead to deportation. Under federal law, survivors who cooperate with the detection, investigation, and/or prosecution of the crime can be provided with a path toward economic stability through a U or T visa as they are attempting to gain independence from their abusers. To qualify for a T or U visa, a survivor needs a law enforcement agency to provide a certification that documents the survivor’s cooperation. Many agencies, however, refuse to issue certifications or delay their responses. ICIRR released a report that found found disparate handling of certification cases when comparing Cook County and other areas. 

The VOICES Act provides a standardized path to certification by providing a time frame (90 business days in most cases) for a law enforcement agency to certify that the person is a victim.
The Hunting Ground
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m.
Oakton Community College
1600 East Golf Road, Room 1625 Des Plaines •

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Oakton Community College
7701 North Lincoln Avenue, Room A151, Skokie

The statistics are staggering. One in five women in college are sexually assaulted, yet only a fraction of these crimes are reported, and even fewer result in punishment for the perpetrators. From the intrepid team behind The Invisible War comes The Hunting Ground, a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on college campuses.

Free and open to all. Classes welcome. Refreshments served. Presented by Women’s and Gender Studies at Oakton in cooperation with North/Northwest Suburban NOW and sponsored in part by a generous grant from the Oakton Educational Foundation. Email for more information.
Thursday, December 13 – 7:00pm-8:00pm
Candlelight Vigil to Honor All Victims of Gun Violence
Oak Park Temple
1235 Harlem Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302
For more information, please click here:

Friday, December 14 – 7:00pm-8:00pm
Naperville - Sandy Hook Remembrance
DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church
1828 Old Naperville Rd, Naperville, Illinois 60563
For more information, please click here:

Tuesday, December 18 – 7:00pm-8:30pm
Highland Park - Nationwide Vigil to #endgunviolence
Congregation Solel
1301 Clavey Rd, Highland Park
For more information, please click here:
Support NCJW
Chicago North Shore has several new ways to support our section. As always, you can make a one time donation or purchase a tribute (links are below), but we now also have a lovely, hand-crafted necklace you can purchase for yourself or for a gift. Net proceeds from the sale of each  necklace   supports NCJW's mission.

You can also support NCJW as a Sustaining Advocate.   Complete and print this form    and mail it to our office, 5 Revere Drive, Suite 200, Northbrook, IL 60062 and your scheduled monthly donation will ensure the viability of Chicago North Shore for generations to come. Your support makes it possible for NCJW to create meaningful social change for women, children, and families in the US and Israel. Make a difference for women, children, and families by giving a generous gift to NCJW through a variety of options:

Put your dollars to work immediately by making a fast, secure online donation. Become a Major Donor by making a donation of $500 or more. 

Honor a family member, colleague, friend, or loved one by giving a gift to NCJW. A handwritten NCJW tribute card with a message of support, celebration, or sympathy will be sent to the honoree or the family of the person you wish to remember.

Canadian jewelry artist Hilary Druxman has handcrafted a beautifully designed necklace and has partnered with NCJW Chicago North Shore to bring her design to our members and supporters. Overlapping triangles come together to form a star, reflecting our belief in advocacy and action. Each necklace costs $44 ($40 + $4 sales tax) and can be shipped anywhere in the US. Net proceeds from the sale of each handcrafted sterling silver necklace support our mission.

NCJW is recognized as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Contributions to it are tax deductible to the full extent provided by the law. 

Create a Legacy!
Want to ensure NCJW's legacy for years to come? Are you a life member and want to extend your support in perpetuity? Have you thought out a bequest to NCJW?
Click here    for a sample form. It's that easy!

Already have a bequest to NCJW?  Please let us know that you put us in your will so we can acknowledge you!! Email .