Update from the NCJWA NSW Acting Co Vice Presidents

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


Acting Co-Vice Presidents L-R Janet Merkur, Miri Orden, Maxine Bachmayer

2018 was another tremendously successful year.

Some highlights:

February: Council Shabbat at The Great Synagogue with Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton. The Progressive Group screened the documentary “The Sturgeon Queens”.

In March we launched our new program DAYS FOR GIRLS producing and distributing reusable sanitary kits for women in developing countries. More than 1200 components were made on the day.

Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton continued with Mixed Talmud Classes at NCJWA NSW in the first half of 2018.

At the end of May we hosted the successful ICJW Quadrennial Convention EVOLVING BEYOND TRADITION which saw women from some 16 different countries in attendance.

NCJWA NSW are thrilled Immediate Past President Victoria Nadel received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday 2018 Honours list for service to the community, particularly to women. We hosted an afternoon tea in October highlighting Viki’s work and dedication to NCJWA NSW over many years.

NCJWA NSW hosted two successful Birthing Kit afternoons with our second Birthing Kit afternoon on 8th July supported by students from Moriah College.

A MUM FOR MUM NCJWA Mother’s Group, with excerpts from “Motherhood The Musical”, morning tea was held at Council House in July.

In August a Jana Gottshall Memorial Library event was held and Gael Hammer interviewed Janet Merkur about her mother RAF Sergeant Regina Morgenstern’s life in the UK and her mother’s contribution to the Enigma Project during WWII.  The Shifra Group held a movie afternoon and screened the music documentary, “Bang! The Bert Berns Story”. We will have a second screening of this film in 2019. Status of Women portfolio event “The Women’s Brain” with speaker neuroscientist and author Dr Sarah McKay was supported by our MUM FOR MUM NCJWA volunteers.

September: Natalie Narunsky, manager NCJWA BOOK OUT LOUD program spoke about “Exercising Your Brain and Cognitive Stimulation”. Natalie is an Aged Care Psychiatry Occupational Therapist.

Dr Lesley Andrews from the Heredity Cancer Clinic POWH launched JeneScreen, a BRCA genetic testing program for the Jewish community at NCJWA NSW in October as our main event under the JWBCN program.

Maxine Bachmayer, through the Australian Feldenkrais Guild NSW Division, brought the US based internationally acclaimed author and Feldenkrais practitioner Lavinia Plonka to Australia and we were fortunate to host an event with Lavinia in November “Falls Prevention: And Getting Up”. The message ~ The more we fear falling, the harder we fall. This year The Kindertransport Association, NCJWA NSW and The Great Synagogue co-hosted the 80th Anniversary of World Kindertransport Day on November 24.

Celebrating Israel 2018 29 November 2018 event marked the historic November 29, 1947 vote by The United Nations General Assembly to adopt the Partition Plan, Resolution 181, providing for the termination of the Mandate, the progressive withdrawal of British armed forces and the delineation of boundaries between a Jewish and an Arab state. This year our theme was YOUTH Celebrating Israel.

NCJWA Founder’s Day/Rebbetzin Jana Gottshall Memorial Library event in December featured Dr Anne Sarzin speaking on Dr FANNY READING: A VISIONARY FOR ALL TIMES. Gael Hammer chaired this historical event with two of Fanny’s nephews, Dr Ian Burman and Leigh Reading, and her niece Jenny Burman attending.



We are indebted to our director of MUM FOR MUM NCJWA Nadene Alhadeff and the MUM FOR MUM NCJWA board. There are now 65 Mums volunteering in the Eastern Suburbs and 35 on the North Shore and the excellent reputation of MUM FOR MUM NCJWA program continues to grow.

NAPCAN award 2018  –  MUM FOR MUM NCJWA received one of two NAPCAN awards for NSW at a Parliamentary breakfast on Tuesday 4th September during Child Protection Week.  NAPCAN is the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. MUM FOR MUM NCJWA also received the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Team Awards from the Australian Centre for Volunteering.  We were nominated by Gabrielle Upton MP, Member for Vaucluse and by Waverley Council.


We are exceptionally fortunate Isabelle Shapiro OAM is the chair our JWBCN and NCJWA Cancer Support Network programs. Facilitator Dr Mandy Goldman Strous, President Cancer Counselling Professionals, continues to support this program.


Natalie Narunsky continues to manage this program. Various ideas are being touted re expansion of this program and tackling the growing problem of social isolation.


Gael Hammer, library chair, has formed a new library committee with Ruth Shteinman and Di Singer as committee members.


Our Northsiders and Shifra Groups continue to meet.

We look forward to you joining us.

Miri Orden, Maxine Bachmayer, Janet Merkur (Acting Co-Vice Presidents)


September 4, 2018 ~ We are exceptionally honoured our MUM FOR MUM NSW program has received one of two awards from the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).

See video on the NCJWA NSW Facebook site   https://www.facebook.com/NCJWA.NSW/


NCJWA Statement on QLD Parliamentary vote to decriminalise abortion by the NCJWA National Board, National President Negba Weiss Dolev

Jewish Women Support the Queensland Abortion Vote

The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia congratulates the Queensland Parliament on its historic vote on 17 October 2018 to decriminalise abortion in that state. With the passage of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018, abortion will become legal until 22 weeks gestation, and after that with the approval of two doctors. Safe access zones will restrict protesters and people who harass women from coming within 150 metres of abortion clinics. The rights of choice based on religious beliefs are also protected.

NCJWA applauds that termination will be treated in Queensland as a health issue and not a criminal matter and that women can safely and legally access full reproductive healthcare, without being harassed or intimidated. NCJWA is committed to advocating for human rights, including women’s reproductive rights and the freedom of women to have control over their bodies and their lives.


NCJWA NSW is a partner with the JEWISH SUICIDE PREVENTION STRATEGY project.  What is it? In response to a number of suicides within the Jewish community, NSW’s first ever Jewish Suicide Prevention Strategy has been established. This project, which is being supported by funding from The Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA) aims to raise awareness, educate and empower members of the community. This vital project is guided by the LifeSpan Framework developed by the Black Dog Institute’s WHOLE COMMUNITY APPROACH to suicide prevention.


See article in Australian Jewish News 18 May 2018, re NCJWA National body and Unchain My Heart submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission on Gett Refusal, Jewish Divorce and Family Law. Please see link to the submission on the NCJWA website http://www.ncjwa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/NCJWA-Submission-to-ALRC.pdf