Update from the NCJWA NSW Co-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.

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

November 23, 2020 – NCJWA NSW’s 97th AGM – Report by Co-Presidents Miri Orden, Maxine Bachmayer, Janet Merkur

NCJWA NSW’s 96th AGM was held on Monday 26th August 2019. Special Resolutions to amend the Constitution were put to members by Hon. Solicitor Peter Wayne. The amendments were passed, and three nominees can now be elected and serve as Co-Presidents. Miri Orden, Maxine Bachmayer and Janet Merkur were elected as Co-Presidents. All other board members kept their positions on the board. We have continued to work exceptionally well together and to build on the successes of the previous years.

After the AGM and in the later part of 2019 NCJWA NSW continued to hold events, notably NCJWA “Celebrating Israel” marking the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of Resolution 181, the Partition Plan, on 29 November 1947 calling for the establishment of a Jewish State alongside an Arab State leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. In December each year, NCJWA book club celebrates the life of founder Dr Fanny Reading M.B.E.. This year we had a panel of immigrants who came here when young and who have made it both in the Jewish and wider world. In December Nancy Kaufman, recipient of the JCPA Albert D. Chernin Award 2019, spoke about “Social Justice in Today’s Political Climate”.

On 27 February 2020 – The Jewish Folk Centre Ha’Moadon Ha’Israeli together with NCJWA NSW and Australian Friends of Rambam hosted Dr Ruth Perets from the Rambam Hospital in Haifa Israel, the topic “Is Ovarian Cancer Really Ovarian, and why do we care?”.

2 March 2020 – The first cases of person-to-person transmission of coronavirus were confirmed in Australia. The Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced new measures and restrictions to protect the Australian community from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on 18 March 2020. By the 19 March 2020 the advice from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies was to please think carefully before organising any gathering, understand the risks and consider whether you can postpone, reduce size/frequency or cancel the event.  By 23rd March Scott Morrison urged all Australians to “stay home’, cancel all non-essential travel and NSW was in official lockdown.

We closed NCJWA NSW Fanny Reading House. Wendy Bookatz, our office manager, went onto a 3-day working week. Restrictions have eased and NCJWA NSW is now open 4 days a week. We are closed Fridays.

Mum For Mum NCJWA – Despite and perhaps because of the COVID pandemic MUM FOR MUM NCJWA has grown exponentially and has supported over 200 families this past year. We now have 140 active volunteers. Nadene Alhadeff, executive director, has trained a team of 10 volunteers to help the professional staff with intakes and one on one supervision. We are indebted to those who have donated directly to this program and through the JCA and to the Wolper Jewish Hospital for their generous donation.

JWBCN – Isabelle Shapiro OAM is not able to continue with the Cancer Support Network support group as well as the BRCA support group. Isabelle will continue to chair the JWBCN umbrella program.

Cuddle Bundles – Cuddle Bundles was launched two years ago, and this past year this program has grown significantly in terms of the numbers of organisations and people they have assisted. This despite 2020 having been a most challenging year for Cuddle Bundles, as has been for most organisations.

Days for Girls – Days for Girls program has managed to move forward on this important social project. With the arrival of COVID the Days for Girls Committee devised a mobile service with a team of forty-three volunteers. In this time of sudden isolation this provided an activity beneficial to both maker and recipients. Thousands of liners have been lovingly made and more are on the way.

The Shifra and Northsiders Groups continue to meet and raise money for NCJWA NSW. Our sincere appreciation to Deirdre Hart, Karen Fried, Diana Bahar and Sunny Gold.

NCJWA Council Shabbat was held at the Sephardi Synagogue on Saturday 7th March 2020. Rabbi Chriqui praised the work of the NCJWA NSW for giving assistance to women, girls and babies in need. Rabbi referred to the courage of Queen Esther in saving the lives of the Jews of Shushan.

National NCJWA have organised many zoom events onto which many of our section members have participated.

NCJWA NSW continues to be represented at the National Council of Women NSW and NCJWA NSW delegates are represented at PPSEAWA and at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. We are represented on the Wolper Community Services committee.

The Charity Fund continues to support worthy causes within the Jewish and wider community in Australia. Trustees are Zara Young OAM, Victoria Nadel OAM and Robyn Lenn OAM.

During the year Victoria Nadel OAM, Suzy Wolanski, Miriam Levy and Ruth Osen stepped down from the Executive Board. We thank them for their enormous dedication, wonderful contribution and many years of dedicated service to NCJWA NSW. They continue to support NCJWA NSW in other roles.

We thank our dedicated Board for their work over the past year.

We are very appreciative for the support and wisdom of our Honorary Solicitor Peter Wayne of Peter M Wayne and Associates. Peter’s help is all-important to our organisation.  We sincerely thank our auditor Grant Feitelberg of Hymans Feitelberg Chartered Accountants for his work.

We thank Alan Joffee and his wonderful team of able men who help us with hall setup whenever needed. What would Wendy do without you?

We are exceptionally fortunate to have Nadene Alhadeff as the Executive Director of MUM FOR MUM NCJWA and thank her for her hard work and passion.

Thank you to our Office Manager Wendy Bookatz. Wendy manages our office, hall hire, media including producing videos, updating our website, Facebook and is our resident photographer. Our thanks to Jennifer Herman our bookkeeper for her exceptionally professional work.

In Marlo L Newton’s book “Making A Difference” Newton shares the words of Sydney Einfeld, past president ECAJ, about Dr Fanny Reading MBE, founder of NCJWA NSW. “Long before any talk of Women’s Liberation she taught the women of our community in Australia that there was work to be done and goals to be reached and together they could achieve magnificent results”.

We look forward to the year ahead and to continue to work together with Fanny Reading’s vision of ‘Making A Difference’.

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MUM FOR MUM NCJWA NAPCAN video

“MUM FOR MUM” provides a unique service that in my 30 years in the field I have seen many organizations strive for, but few able to achieve. This is weekly emotional support and mentoring by the same highly trained volunteer for an entire year. Given the vagaries of the health-care system, I know this is extremely hard to achieve.” Ambassador of MUM FOR MUM NCJWA Professor Marie-Paule Austin, Director of Perinatal Psychiatry at the Royal Hospital for Women and Director of St John of God Mother-Baby Unit.

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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.