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

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

NCJWA NSW Co-Presidents report AGM 26th Aug 2019

Co-Presidents Miri Orden, Maxine Bachmayer and Janet Merkur presented the NCJWA NSW 96th Annual Report.

MUM FOR MUM NCJWA, our signature program, continues to make a difference to the lives of the recipient mothers and their babies. NCJWA NSW are indebted to our exceptional Executive Director of MUM FOR MUM NCJWA Nadene Alhadeff, Diane Schaffer our Chair and the MUM FOR MUM NCJWA Board. There are now 65 Mums volunteering in the Eastern Suburbs with Nadene as coordinator, and 35 on the North Shore under the supervision of Lyn Brand. MUM FOR MUM NCJWA was awarded the prestigious NAPCAN Play Your Part Award from the National Association for the Protection of Children Against Child Abuse and Neglect at Parliament House in October 2018 in recognition of their role in creating resilient families. See link below.

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.

In the past month, under the supervision of Suzy Wolanski, nine successful fundraiser events were held in the homes of MUM FOR MUM NCJWA volunteers and at Fanny Reading Council House. A big thanks to all who supported these events and to the recipient mothers who shared how this program and their MUM FOR MUM volunteers made such a profound difference to them and their families. It has been an immensely powerful endorsement of the program when one hears firsthand how the program has been a lifesaver for many recipient mums.

This comment was offered by a MUM FOR MUM NCJWA volunteer, “When you become a MUM FOR MUM NCJWA volunteer you become part of a family”. Thank you all for being a part of the MUM FOR MUM NCJWA and NCJWA NSW family.

JWBCN/CANCER SUPPORT NETWORK – Isabelle Shapiro OAM is the chair of our JWBCN, NCJWA Cancer Support Network and Gene Circle programs. Facilitator Dr Mandy Goldman Strous, President Cancer Counselling Professionals, continues to support all programs. Moriah College has again made an extremely generous donation through our Jewish Women’s Breast Cancer Network. Moriah College held their yearly “Pink Breakfast”. This year the Moriah College donation has been directed to the non-for-profit Breast Cancer Trials.

“Together we are grounded and defined by one simple belief:  We can and we will find new and better treatments and prevention strategies for every person affected by breast cancer to save lives today, tomorrow and forever.” Breast Cancer Trials.

REBBETZIN JANA GOTTSHALL MEMORIAL LIBRARY – Gael Hammer, library chair, formed a new library committee with Ruth Shteinman and Di Singer. In August a Jana Gottshall Memorial Library event was led by Gael Hammer who interviewed Janet Merkur about her mother, RAF Sergeant Regina Morgenstern’s life in the UK. She made a significant contribution to the Enigma Project during WWII. The NCJWA Founder’s Day/Rebbetzin Jana Gottshall Memorial Library event was held in December 2018 and featured Dr Anne Sarzin speaking on Dr FANNY READING: A VISIONARY FOR ALL TIMES. Gael Hammer chaired this historical event. In March 2019 the library committee presented the award-winning foreign correspondent and author Irris Makler’s pre-launch of her book JUST ADD LOVE with star ABC presenter Geraldine Doogue interviewing Irris.  In June 2019 Gael Hammer facilitated conversation with internationally renowned theatre producer and director Moira Blumenthal and co-producer Lyndi Adler. They spoke about their experiences working on smaller independent productions and Lyndi shared her experiences working in large musical theatre.

CUDDLE BUNDLES is an initiative started by Nadene Alhadeff together with volunteer Michele Brandenburger to provide gifts of babywear to mums in any community in need. Cuddle Bundles volunteers Michelle Brandenburger, Ella Lizor, Celia Trakman and Joanne Gross work tirelessly for this cause.

STATUS OF WOMEN – We continue to host successful BIRTHING KIT DAYS with a Birthing Kit afternoon on the July 2018 supported by students from Moriah College. We were very pleased to have packed 1200 Birthing Kits that were sent to women in developing countries where access to clean birthing conditions are limited.

“The Women’s Brain” with speaker Dr Sarah McKay was held on Thursday the 30th August 2018. This event was supported by many MUM FOR MUM NCJWA volunteers and professionals from the wider community. Dr McKay is an Oxford educated neuroscientist and author.

Our second “DAYS FOR GIRLS” event was held in April 2019 with over seventy people attending, including many mothers and their teenage daughters. The Days for Girls’ mission is “to create a freer, dignified, and educated world, through providing lasting access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education”.

On the evening of 2nd June 2019, NCJWA NSW were privileged to hear Emmy award winning Gayle Kirschenbaum. Gayle took more than 100 guests along on a brave mother-daughter journey with her documentary film “Look At Us Now, Mother”. She sought to present the issue whether emotional abuse can ultimately be forgiven.

Maxine Bachmayer, through the Australian Feldenkrais Guild NSW Division, brought the US based internationally acclaimed author and Feldenkrais practitioner Lavinia Plonka to Australia. The topic and workshop: “Falls Prevention: And Getting Up”. The message was very clear ~ The more we fear falling, the harder we fall.

We commemorated the 29th November 1947 with “Celebrating Israel”. This event marks 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. Miriam Levy, together with her family led this event.

The Friendship Circle Education Committee & NCJWA NSW co-hosted “The Disorganised Child” with keynote speaker internationally acclaimed consultant in child, adolescent and family psychiatry, Professor Samuel Stein. Prof. Stein was joined by panel members Assoc. Prof. Natalie Silove, Dr Sharon Greenberg & Caroline Basckin.

We are very grateful for all the support of our Honorary Solicitor Peter Wayne of Peter M Wayne and Associates. Peter’s help has been all-important for our organisation. Our sincere thanks to our auditor Grant Feitelberg of Hymans Feitelberg & Co.

We conclude our report with the following remarks make by our founder Dr. Fanny Reading M.B.E.,  “Women working together can achieve anything”.

Miri Orden, Maxine Bachmayer, Janet Merkur – Co Presidents

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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.

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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.

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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 

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