A quick look at NCJW/Essex activities, programs and members.

Continuing our introduction to different departments and different members of our Executive Committee, this month we hear from...

Laurie Kahn, VP, Advocacy

Being a part of Advocacy gives us a front row seat to issues happening in Essex County, throughout New Jersey and the United States, and across the globe. A new election season is almost upon us and the issues this cycle have never been more important.

The alarming and terrifying spread of antisemitism across the world. Over the past few months, we have experienced antisemitism at rates never seen before in modern history - in our schools and universities, in our neighborhoods and in our synagogues. 

To quote a recent article from The Times of Israel, “Israel’s existence, strength and inspiration informs our collective existence, strength and inspiration … This is the great tikun of our time, the Jewish People’s modern-day revelation: Tikun Yisrael precedes Tikun Olam, healing Israel precedes healing the world. After all, how can we heal anyone if we ourselves are broken?

Reproductive Rights and a women’s ability to make her own decisions about her body, health and family. We hope you will all join us on Thursday, March 7 for our Lunch and Learn, Decoding Dobbs: The War on Women. Lynn M. Paltrow, the Founder of Pregnancy Justice, will be our guest speaker, in conversation with our own Phoebe Pollinger.

Gun Violence Prevention. It is crucial to elect candidates to office who will support common sense gun legislation.

We know what's at stake. Now, more than ever, we must elect legislators- both locally and nationally - who will protect human rights, secure safety, freedom and democracy for our children and grandchildren and guarantee that all eligible voters are able participate in free and fair elections.

There are a few Important dates to mark in your calendar: the NJ primary on Tuesday, June 4 and the general election on November 5. Once again, every seat in the NJ legislature is up for grabs, the all important U.S Senate race and of course the race for President. Look for more information in the next few months on concrete actions we can take to GET OUT THE VOTE.

In this chaotic and uncertain world, we draw comfort from the support of our leaders and membership. Each and every one of us can make a difference - let’s perform both Tikun Yisrael and Tikun Olam for our collective futures.

~ Laurie

Calendar Snapshot

February 9/10 - Repro Shabbat

February 12 - Knitting Circle Monthly Meeting

February 12 - Rising Antisemitism on College Campuses (sponsored by NCJW/Bergen County Section)

February 19 - Presidents Day, Office Closed

March 4 - Knitting Circle Monthly Meeting

March 7 - Lunch and Learn - Decoding Dobbs: The War on Women

March 7 - Period.Project - First Thursday at Montclair Art Museum March 14 - Peace, Love and Pickleball (and Lunch) II

March 20 - Mitzvah-in-a-Minute: Purim Presents for College Students

April 4 - Advocacy in an Hour - Stop Jewish Hate Postcard Writing

Advocacy Snapshot

RSVP Here 

Lunch & Learn


12 noon - 2 pm

Livingston, NJ (exact location shared following registration)

$32 per person includes lunch

Lynn Paltrow, the founder of Pregnancy Justice who has spent decades representing women jailed for miscarriage, stillbirths and abortion, will join us to address what that curtailment looks like and what we can do to ensure the constitutional rights and personhood of all people including women. The conversation will be led by Reproductive Rights Chair Phoebe Pollinger.

After Abortion Care Kit Events in the Community

More than 30 people, about half teen-aged girls, gathered at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell on January 18 to assemble 200 kits for Planned Parenthood. Natalie Peck, a CAI member who spearheaded the planning of the event, said “that the programming of having the teens speak (one even indicating that her choice of college was informed by the abortion issue) and the educational piece by Planned Parenthood set the stage for a fun packing of the bags. And it was a fine showcase for NCJW/Essex and how we do things. I am so proud to be part of NCJW/Essex.”

On January 21, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Church in Summit hosted a packing event. More than 25 people enthusiastically assembled bags that were then donated to Pilgrim Medical in Montclair. Thanks to everyone who participated and we all look forward to the next time.

Contact Paula Green, Jessica Zirkel-Rubin or Marlene Tuch if you would like to coordinate a packing event at your synagogue or organization.

Making Your Voice Heard: Stop Jewish Hate:

Thank you to everyone who joined us on January 24 for our first Advocacy in an Hour of 2024. More than 100 postcards were written and sent to policymakers and legislators, keeping attention squarely on fighting antisemitism and stopping Jewish hate.

There's always more to do, so mark your calendars for our next postcard writing session coming up on April 4.

Fighting the Rise of Antisemitism Talk at Ner Tamid

Mikie Sherrill will be in conversation with Jim Axelrod of CBS News on Monday, February 12 at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield.

The topic: Fighting the Rise of Antisemitism. More details can be found here.

Repro Shabbat is this Weekend

Repro Shabbat takes place this weekend, February 9 - 10, 2024. This is the fourth annual Shabbat celebration that honors the Jewish value of reproductive freedom. It takes place annually on Parshat Mishpatim, the reading of which contains the verses commonly referenced as the foundation of Judaism’s approach to reproductive health, rights, and justice. Repro Shabbat is a time for communities, families and individuals to connect, educate, and activate towards a more whole future for everyone.

Click Here to Learn More About Repro Shabbat 

Member and Volunteer Snapshot

We Came. We Saw. We Rumbled.

We kicked off 2024 with a private class at Rumble Boxing in Livingston. A hearty crew braved the cold and ice for a great workout and a great night with NCJW/Essex. Special thanks to Co-Chairs Abby Levinson and Amy Black and Robin Kollin, VP, Programming.

Learn More and Register Here


Wednesday, March 20

For our next Mitzvah-in-a-Minute, NCJW/Essex is joining with Hillel of Greater MetroWest NJ to help local college students celebrate Purim, and to let them know members of the community are thinking about them.

You can join us to assemble Purim Presents, purchase items from our Amazon Wish List , bake hamantaschen to be delivered to the students -- OR do all three!

Center for Women Snapshot

LAW Program: Providing Counsel to CFW Clients

Last month, we highlighted the wide range of support and services the Center for Women provides our clients. The CFW receives an annual grant from the state as part of its “Displaced Homemaker” program. In addition to job readiness training, the grant also asks us to arrange legal consultations for clients with questions about how to proceed with a divorce, navigate child support, start post-divorce motion practice to enforce court rulings, and other family law issues. 

NCJW/Essex created the LAW (Legal Assistance for Women) program to support our clients. We arrange these consultations with attorneys who provide information - pro-bono - during a 30-minute session (via phone or Zoom). Clients pay a minimal fee, if they are able, and the CFW coordinates with our clients to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.


There are also opportunities for a law firm or attorney to educate CFW clients on these important, life-impacting topics through a workshop or program.

If you are an attorney, or know an individual practioner or firm who might be interested in participating in the LAW Program, please contact Patty Kremen, CFW Director.

NCJW/Essex Snapshot

Stay connected to NCJW/Essex news at

Thank You Elisa!

NCJW/Essex members have many, many talents. Elisa Madorsky, who serves on our Executive Committee, created beaded bracelets in Israeli colors and sold them to members of the community at our Lunch & Act last November (shown here with Laurie Kahn at the event).

Elisa raised nearly $1000 ($960 to be exact!) which she generously donated to NCJW's Israel Granting Program Emergency Appeal. Great job, Elisa.

Last Call!

There's still time to make your mark on this year's campaign. Click the button below to make sure your gift is counted in the 23-24 fiscal year.

Thank you!

To everyone who made a gift to our Annual Campaign, your donations are already hard at work helping women attain certifications to improve their job prospects or making your voice heard on important issues including fighting antisemitism or making sure children can go to school in the fall empowered to learn.

 Make Your Gift Today.

Snapshot from the Archives

Roe Lunch & Learns

For many years, our Winter Lunch & Learn focused on abortion rights and the ongoing threat to Roe v. Wade. The pictures below show us coming together to face this important issue.

Now, just weeks after what would have been the 51st anniversary of abortion rights being affirmed and about 20 months since those 50 years of precedent were overturned in the Dobbs decision, we will gather on Thursday, March 7 for a conversation about the aftermath and the ongoing war on women. Find out more and RSVP here.



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