NCJW December 2020 News and Events
Each year, the makers of the Oxford English Dictionary choose one word or phrase to sum up the past twelve months. 2020 was so challenging, the lexicographers could only narrow it down to three: blursday, systemic racism, and pandemic. They publish a detailed research-based report explaining why they chose these words. You can read more about it here: Oxford Word of the Year 2020 | Oxford Languages

I can think of a few others...I bet you can too. However, the ones I want to talk about today are the phrases food insecurity, disportionately affects communities of color, and mail-in-ballot. Why these phrases? Because each forces me to think about the inequities in our country. Over Thanksgiving weekend, we saw the endless lines of people socially distancing in their cars at food banks, waiting hours to receive food they needed to feed their families. For the past 9 months, we watched as the number of positive Covid-19 cases rose and killed more Blacks and Latinos than others in our country. And in early November, we watched as so many of our elected officials tried to undermine and delegitimize the 2020 election though voter suppression. How America got here is a necessary discussion for us to have, but where we go from here is at the heart of NCJW’s work.

Our mission and the focus of our advocacy and volunteerism has always been to improve the lives of all women, children, and families. And I am proud of what our section and its passionate women have accomplished in the past, but it's time for us to step up our game. The inequities in our society are undeniable. Changing the status quo is slow and arduous work, but we are determined to change the policies that create these inequities. We are equally determined to support those suffering from these injustices. To do this we need you to join us - attend a virtual Salon or advocacy event, join a committee, become a Board member, make an end of year donation. However you choose to support us, know that we appreciate it and know that without you, we cannot sustain our work.

With your support we will strive to make “Justice, justice, you shall pursue” the phrase that defines 2021. 

Be well, stay safe, join us.
Debbie Vietinghoff
Please Welcome our New Members
Judith Myers
Ilana Schreiber
Let's Do Something Amazing Together!
Call for NCJWCNS Leadership Nominations!

The NCJW Chicago North Shore Nominating Committee will be meeting soon to begin the selection of new executive team and board members to fill the terms of those rolling off the Board. The term for a director is for two years to be installed in June 2021, and the term for a Board Member at Large is for one year. There are also some committee and project chair positions to be filled as well! If you know someone who would be a terrific leader with NCJW, including self-nominations, we welcome them!

Being a part of the NCJW Board is an excellent way to give back to the community, work with and learn from amazing women, and lead our vital organization. Not sure what role would be a good fit for you? Shoot the nominating committee an email and they will be in touch!

Please submit your nominations for the NCJWCNS Board here
or download the nomination form and email to
NCJW Tribute Cards
NCJW Chicago North Shore Tributes are a thoughtful way to acknowledge life events while supporting NCJW’s many valuable projects. Send an NCJW Tribute Card for any amount (minimum of $15) to be sent by NCJW Chicago North Shore to the recipient of your choice.

Click here for information on how to order tributes

To: Debbie Glickman
From: Debbie Vietinghoff
Ma your memories of your Dad comfort you and your family in this difficult time

To:  Lily & Stefanie Mayzel
From: Judith and Suzy Mayzel
With Lots Of Hanukkah Love From The Aunts, Suzy & Judith

To: Marilyn Colby Rivkin
From: The NCJW CNS Board of Directors
Our condolences on the loss of your mother Carol Colby

To: Maria Medina
From: The NCJW CNS Board of Directors
Wishing you a speedy recovery
Sunday, December 6, 4:00 pm
Cookies, Cocktails and Conversation
Grab your baking tools, a cocktail shaker and your sense of humor and join your NCJW friends for a little bit of fun as the holidays approach! We have worked so hard this year. Let’s take a little time to relax, celebrate and welcome the holidays together! This is a multigenerational event; encourage your loved ones across the country to join you! Cookies Cocktails, and Conversation Features:
  • Holiday Mocktail demonstration
  • Candle Lighting and a Chanukah Story with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
  • Music and Cookie Baking with Kym Frankovelgia
  • Story Time with Children’s Author Ruth Spiro
  • Holiday Trivia and a Chanukah Sing-a-Long!

Click here to register and get the mocktail and cookie recipes!

Thursday, December 16, 7:30 pm
Being Jewish During “The Holidays”
Join us during Chanukah for our NCJW Salon discussion about being Jewish during “the holidays.” We’ll explore such questions as:
  • Do you feel excluded in your community (or experience “Yuletide alienation” or “December angst” as it’s called in readings) during “the holidays?” Does Christmas make you question your Jewish sense of self?
  • How do you make community? How do you (or did you) create community for your children during December?
  • How do you respond when Christian friends say, “But Christmas is really an American holiday?” Does your family partake in any Christmas traditions?
  • If your family is mixed-faith, how do you celebrate “the holidays” and where is your comfort level with Christmas traditions?
Suggested readings:

Monday, December 21, 7:00 PM
Winter Solstice Salon: Climate Change Challenges and Solutions
  • How do we mitigate climate change while also adapting?
  • What does it take to transform to a cleaner energy system and protect cleaner air and water?

Howard Learner, an experienced attorney, serves as Environmental Law & Policy Center’s President and Executive Director ( As the General Counsel for Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, his focus was on renewable energy, economic development, civil rights litigation, and policy development. He was the founding Chair of both the Illinois Citizens Utility Board and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. He served as the Vice Chair of the U.S. EPA’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technologies. Mr. Learner teaches advanced seminars in energy law and climate change policy at the law schools of Northwestern University and the University of Michigan.

Upcoming Events from our National and Sister NCJW Sections:
  • Join San Francisco Section for Bias in America: A Non-Judgmental and Inspiring Talk about Unconscious Bias and its Impact on Wednesday, December 9 at 5:30pm PT via Zoom featuring Stuart K Robinson. Register here.
  • Join Palm Beach Section on Wednesday, December 9 at 7pm ET to hear from Jill Wine-Banks, legal analyst and author, and Deborah Shlian, author of "Silent Survivor." They will discuss how the #MeToo Movement unleashed a concerted effort to safeguard our military. Register here
  • Join NCJW, Inc. on Tuesday, December 15 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT for the Virtual Gala and Hanukkah Celebration honoring six remarkable women! In the darkness of winter, Hanukkah provides us an opportunity to bring light, warmth, and community into our homes. This year is no different, except we’ll be on Zoom. We will honor our awardees, including Times Up CEO Tina Tchen, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and our Section Award Honorees Maddie Fireman (NCJW New Orleans), Cheryl Pollman (NCJW Dallas Section), Myrna Wertheimer (NCJW Essex Section), and Eileen Jacobowitz (NCJW Sacramento Section). We will kindle our menorahs, celebrate our successes, and prepare for the work still ahead. Register today!
  • On Wednesday, December 16, join SE Atlantic Section for a talk with Talia Carner, author of The Third Daughter at 12pm ET. Talia is speaking about "The Voices That Wouldn't Be Silenced" in reference to her novel. Click here for more info and to RSVP.
  • Attend New York Section’s event "New York’s Funniest Females: A Virtual Fundraiser for NCJW NY Programs" on Thursday, December 17 at 8pm ET hosted by Nikki MacCallum. Click here for more info and to RSVP.
  • Join the St. Louis Section for: 
  • Lunch & Learn on Early Childhood Education Advocacy on Thursday, December 17 at 12pm CT with experts Lovely Snowden & Elisa Zieg
  • Coffee Talk with SnL on Tuesday, December 22 at 8:30am CT with special guests discussing women entrepreneurs

Chanukah, Hannukah, Hannukka - however you spell it, 
NCJW can help you celebrate it!

Wish your family and friends a happy Chanukah with an NCJW Chanukah box containing gelt, dreidels, candles, stickers, candy and more! Local (Northbrook) pick up available or we can ship throughout the continental US!

Boxes are available for contactless pick up in Northbrook for $18 each or delivery within the US for $25 each.
Sex Trafficking: Facts and Fictions
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Over the last few years, our understanding of the nature and prevalence of sex trafficking has changed. Gone are the days when we were surprised it was happening in our own communities. It is the third largest international crime industry grossing $1.34 trillion and selling as many as 100,000 children across the world. But there are plenty of myths and misconceptions about what human and sex trafficking is really all about. Join us for an open conversation with Gayle Nelson, Engagement and Development Director for NCJW's JCAST Chicago, as we try and separate the facts from the fiction. 

Registration will open on December 15.

Domestic Abuse, Coronavirus and the Courts
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
COVID-19 has taken its toll on everyone, but for those who live with an abuser, the pandemic is making matters even worse. The combination of stress, isolation, and confinement can cause tempers to flare and the situation is especially dangerous when a victim cannot easily leave the presence of the abuser. At the beginning of the Pandemic, many agencies reduced services or shutdown. Even domestic violence courts were forced to restrict their operations during the pandemic.

Join us on January 27 for a discussion on domestic abuse, the courts and the pandemic with Judge Megan Goldish who has served as a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County Domestic Violence Division since 2014.
Registration for this event will open in early January.
Get Out the Vote in Georgia!
With the runoff election on January 5 for the state’s two US Senate seats, join NCJW for two nonpartisan opportunities to contact low turnout voters in Georgia: 

Illuminate: A Global Jewish Unity Event
NCJW is partnering with Our Common Destiny and Israel‘s President Reuven Rivlin on Illuminate: A Global Jewish Unity Event on Thursday, December 17. In advance, we will be inviting each of you and your section advocates to write notes or blessings that will be projected on the walls of the Old City during the virtual event. Stay tuned for more details.

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
Save the date: On Friday, January 22, 2021, NCJW will honor the 48th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision by leading an interfaith digital action. Stay tuned for a toolkit to help you speak out on social media about protecting the constitutional right to abortion, why this legal right has never been a reality for many seeking abortion care, and why people of faith and conscience support abortion rights and access.

On Tuesday, December 8, the House Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a virtual hearing, which you can watch here beginning at 10am ET/ 7am PT, that will investigate the effects of abortion coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment. This policy has long blocked those enrolled in federal health programs from using their insurance to pay for abortion care and disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. It’s a painful example of how systemic racism permeates our federal laws and regulations. NCJW calls on Congress to pass the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act (HR 1692/S 758) to permanently end Hyde and related restrictions and to prohibit political interference in private insurance coverage of abortion at all levels of government.

Take Action! Use these sample communications to share our petition showing our commitment to urge members of Congress to support the EACH Woman Act.

Rabbis for Repro Campaign
  • We now have more than 1,000 rabbis, cantors, and other Jewish clergy that have signed the Rabbis for Repro pledge, and about a third of them are active in a special private Facebook group for swapping ideas and sharing their work on this issue. Check out a few examples of the work that’s been happening: This article co-written by Rabbi Avi Olitzky and NCJW Minnesota Executive Director Beth Gendler 
  • sermon by Rabbi Daniel Burg 
  • This powerful ritual by Rabbi Joshua Lesser outside the Irwin Detention Center 
  • This interview with Rabbi Hara Person in Ms. Magazine 

Save the date: As part of this campaign, we're launching Reproductive Freedom Shabbat across the country, set for Shabbat of February 12-13, when Jews will ready Mishpatim, the Torah portion that undergirds Judaism's approach to abortion. Stay tuned for more information on how to involve your synagogues and networks in hosting a Reproductive Freedom Shabbat locally.
NCJW Gives Back
NCJW Gives Back is a new Community Service initiative of NCJW Chicago North Shore during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our ongoing service projects are currently altered or on hold. Instead, NCJW Gives Back’s mission is to collect and donate items needed by Chicago and Suburban residents who are especially impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. To maintain the health and safety of all of our community service volunteers, these are a NO-TOUCH activities!
NCJW Gives Back Initiative: December
This month’s service theme is Children in Need. December is all about holiday giving. But as we all know, this is a particularly challenging time for families who are already in crisis. Many of us are blessed to have our health and the ability to live our lives and provide for our families. This is most certainly not the case for many families. Our goal is to help brighten a child’s holiday this year.

Agency recipients: CRADLES to CRAYONS and SHALVA. Visit for a list of requested items.

We will be collecting items on December 6, 7 and 8.

We have several collection locations; we hope one will be convenient for you.

To obtain collection and contact information, please go to our website: or email:

We really appreciate any donation, no matter how small. Your generosity will truly make a difference in people’s lives.
Get Covered — The Health Care Marketplace is Officially Open!
At NCJW, we believe that every single person’s health is paramount. Ensuring that all have access to the resources necessary to make their own decisions about their health, families, and futures is critical to achieving our goal of reproductive justice. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), accessible, high-quality, comprehensive insurance covering a wide range of reproductive health services is now within reach for millions of Americans.

From November 1 to December 15, you can compare and purchase health care plans on the insurance marketplace that will start on January 1, 2021. Because the ACA is still the law of the land, your plan will cover 10 categories of essential health benefits at no cost to you, including:

  • Preventive and wellness services, including annual physicals and life-saving screenings for breast and cervical cancers;
  • Birth control;
  • Mental health services;
  • Pregnancy and newborn care; and
  • Mental health services.

We all have an obligation to care for our health and to help others do the same. Ready to enroll? Head over to and get covered today!
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), you can even purchase an NCJW star necklace or hanger charm or become a monthly donor!

Put your dollars to work immediately by making a fast, secure online donation. Choose a one-time donation or give monthly and become an NCJW Sustaining Advocate.

Facebook fundraisers make it easy to encourage your friends and family to support the causes that are important to you.

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.

Looking for a gift or just a different way to support NCJW?

When you shop through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Choose National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore

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. 

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