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

With Spring in the air, the 2024 Back 2 School Store is never far from our thoughts. It is just five months away, so we thought it would be a great time to hear from our 2024 B2SS Co-Chairs...

Elizabeth Brandwein Cohen, Sherri Fendelman and Danielle Kurlander

Did you know it costs nearly $1,000 to get a child ready for school, according to the National Retail Federation. Buying clothes, shoes, supplies and more can be a significant strain for so many families. 

Thanks to the shopping savvy of our Steering Committee, together with generous sponsors and fantastic donors, the Back 2 School Store provides a full complement of items for around $200 per child. Combined with the priceless experience of children shopping for themselves at our one-day pop-up shop, the Back 2 School Store creates memories for children and volunteers alike and is one of NCJW/Essex’s core contributions to our community.  

Here are a few updates about the 2024 Store:

Mark your calendars! The 2024 Back 2 School Store is set for Sunday, July 28, once again in Millburn. Our expectation is that while most children will shop with us on July 28, we will also have a Mobile Store (with separate time scheduled for packing) for those families who can’t attend. Volunteer registration will begin in the Spring. 

Sneakers are back! We heard loud and clear that sneakers are an important element of the B2SS. Thanks to multiple grants, every child at the in-person Store will receive a brand-new pair to take home! 

Volunteer training. All volunteers, whether it is your first Store or your sixteenth, must complete training specific to the 2024 B2SS. Based on your feedback, we are developing a plan to offer online training prior to July 28, so every volunteer has more time to spend with the children the day of the Store. 

Background screenings. Great news! If your background screening was approved in 2023, you DO NOT need another this year. If you have not yet completed a background screening and plan to volunteer on July 28, you can do your background screening at any time by clicking here

The undeniable impact of the Back 2 School Store is not possible without the passion of our NCJW/Essex members and friends. We hope you feel the same energy and want to be a part of it by volunteering or showing financial support. Donations are welcome at any time

See you at the 2024 Store!

~ Elizabeth, Sherri & Danielle

Calendar Snapshot

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

March 7 - Period.Project - First Thursday at Montclair Art Museum

March 8 - Addressing Antisemitism Across Borders (via Zoom)

March 14 - Peace, Love and Pickleball (and Lunch) II

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

March 20 - League of Women Voters Conversation about Menstrual Equity (click for Zoom link) with NCJW/Essex members Laurie Kahn and Ruth Ross

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

April 15 - Eskow Volunteer Awards Application Deadline

April 18 - NEW: Flower Arranging for Your Passover Table

April 25 - Mitzvah-in-a-Minute: Celebrate Women Drop Off Deadline

May 7 - Card Party!


RSVP Here 


Lunch & Learn


12 noon - 2 pm

Livingston, NJ (exact location shared following registration)

$32 per person includes lunch

With recent news from Alabama and elsewhere, this conversation could not be more timely!

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 we can do to ensure the constitutional rights and personhood of all people including women. Lynn will be joined in conversation by Reproductive Rights Chair Phoebe Pollinger.

Get Ready for the Lunch & Learn.  Click to read a recent Ms. Magazine piece by Lynn Paltrow on these issues.

Member and Volunteer Snapshot

Books and Bites - Back in Person!

February's Books & Bites marked a milestone -- it was the first meeting with an in-person component since the pandemic. More than a dozen members gathered to discuss All the Broken Places - half on Zoom and half in the office. Welcome back!

Celebrate Purim with a Party and a Mitzvah

Help get the party on for local college students, Purim is coming! The holiday is one of the most joyous and fun on the Jewish calendar, complete with everything from feasts to costumes to wine, all in honor of Queen Esther and her loyal cousin Mordecai rescuing the Jews from slaughter in the Persian Empire.

Learn More and Register

Purim Presents 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 baskets, purchase items from our Amazon Wish List , bake hamantaschen to be delivered to the students -- OR do all three!

Center for Women Snapshot

Building Community Partnerships: Toni's Kitchen

Last month, our Center for Women team partnered with Toni's Kitchen in Montclair, meeting with their guests who were picking up fresh produce. More than 120 women and families came through and learned about the services and programs the Center for Women provides.

Toni’s Kitchen is a food ministry of St Luke’s Episcopal Church whose goal is to ensure reliable access to healthy food for residents of West Orange, Montclair and Bloomfield. Toni's Kitchen uses a community partner model to enhance access and connections to programs and resources that encourage healthy, independent lives. (See story below about a Period.Project donation.)

We look forward to continuing the partnership with Toni's Kitchen.

Celebrate Women: Baubles, Bangles & Beads

Following the success of our holiday pop-up store, we are excited to host our second one for Center for Women clients, just in time for Mother's Day. See below how you can help make this day even more special!

Our annual Celebrate Women Mitzvah-in-a-Minute will once again benefit our Center for Women clients. We are asking for gently-used accessories such as pins, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, jewelry pouches, jewelry boxes, and scarves.

Please drop off any items you wish to donate at the NCJW/Essex Office by Thursday, April 25. (Note - the office is closed on April 23/24 for Passover.)

Advocacy Snapshot

Period.Project Donates to Toni's Kitchen

Period.Project committee member Kayla Cohen held the first Time of the Month collection of the year. It was a great success and resulted in a donation of more than 6,500 period products to Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair. Thank you Kayla!

If you are interested in learning more about our Time of the Month initiative, or would like to host your own collection, please contact committee co-chairs Adrienne Lewin or Audra Sapherstein.

PACK (Post Abortion Care Kits)

at Temple B'nai Abraham

Temple B'nai Abraham hosted a Post Abortion Care Kit (PACK) event on February 27. The evening was scheduled around the Temple' s Hebrew High and was a huge success with 30 participants, the youngest attendee in first grade!

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ's Advocacy Manager spoke to the group and took the 100 PACKs assembled that night to the local Planned Parenthood clinic to be given to those seeking abortions.

NCJW/Essex member Ruth Ross, who is the co-chair of TBA's Social Action committee, worked closely with NCJW/Essex PACK (formerly After Abortion Care Kits) co-chairs Paula Green, Marlene Tuch and Jessica Zirkel-Rubin to plan the event.

Making Your Voice Heard: Stop Jewish Hate

Stop Jewish Hate postcard writing continues. Over 100 cards were distributed last month, in our new Advocacy to Go initiative, as we continue to pressure elected officials to address rampant, violent and dangerous antisemitism here and across the country. Please join us for our next Advocacy in an Hour postcard writing session on April 4. Click here to register!

Addressing Antisemitism Across Borders

On, Friday, March 8, two of the leading global experts on antisemitism, U.S. Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt and Canadian Special Envoy Deborah Lyons, will be together for an incredible discussion, moderated by NCJW CEO Sheila Katz. The conversation will explore feminist leadership, October 7, and their vital work to combat antisemitism in the US and abroad. The session will take place via Zoom beginning at 10 am ET. Register Here.

Repro Shabbat Recap

Several local synagogues participated in Repro Shabbat, an annual celebration that honors the Jewish value of reproductive freedom. 

Shira Zemel, NCJW Abortion Access Campaign Co-Director, spoke at services at Temple Emanu-el of Westfield on Friday, Feb. 9, and Reproductive Rights Committee Chair Phoebe Pollinger met with congregants that evening, distributing NCJW/Essex Advocacy information and engaging the members in conversation. On Saturday, Feb. 10, Phoebe spoke at Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair and was joined by Daniela Nogueira, Senior Counsel to the state Attorney General, who discussed the Reproductive Rights Strike Force.

Dr. Elynne Zucker, an NCJW/Essex member and an OB/GYN, addressed Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn about what constitutes women’s reproductive health care and how the overturning of Roe poses a threat to all. 

NCJW/Essex Snapshot

With Endless Gratitude...

In a world filled with challenges, we give back, get things done and leave things better than we found them.

Thank you to everyone who participated and who believed in the power of coming together. Our 2023/24 Annual Campaign reached the $80,000 match made possible this year by an exceptional group of supporters!

Our work is never done. Donations to the 2023/24 Annual Campaign may be made through June 2024.

Text Link

 Make A Gift Today.
Click Here for More Details and to Sign Up 

Card Party

Tuesday, May 7

10 am - 4 pm

Crestmont Country Club

West Orange

Card Party is one of the best days on the NCJW/Essex calendar and one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. A fun day with friends for you means we can continue our work improving the lives of women, children and families in Essex County and safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. 

Snapshot from the Archives

Eskow Awards Recognize

Volunteerism and Community Service

For more than 20 years, the Nancy & Robert Eskow NCJW/Essex Volunteer Awards have recognized graduating high school seniors in Essex County who demonstrate their commitment to making life better for others by volunteering, through either community service or advocacy. Applications for the 2024 Awards are due April 15. For more information, visit our website.



Facebook  Instagram  Web  Email