Since its humble beginnings in 1895—when a group of community-minded women organized themselves at The Temple’s original location at Garnett and Forsyth Streets—National Council of Jewish Women, Atlanta Section has advocated for the welfare of women, children, and families. Those dedicated women worked on behalf of newly arrived refugees looking to make our community their home; of women and children for improved healthcare, nutrition, and education; and of disenfranchised citizens looking for their right to vote. And now, over 100 years later, the accomplishments made to advance the lives of so many appear to be sliding back in time.
NCJW was made for this moment. Helping those searching for better lives in our country is part of who we are. From meeting immigrants at Ellis Island to resettling refugees from war-torn countries to welcoming Soviet Jews, service to new Americans is a hallmark of NCJW. Through the decades, we’ve provided citizenship programs, English classes, housing assistance and more.
Over the past year, NCJW Atlanta assisted refugees who arrived with only the clothes on their backs. We helped Ukrainian families settle into their new surroundings with clothing, furniture, and other necessities. We provided welcome bags and household items to Afghan refugees and held a Baby Shower for expectant and new mothers among them.
NCJW was made for this moment. Safeguarding the lives of women, children, and families have always been a part of who we are. In the early years, members assisted with free kindergarten, Sabbath School for immigrant children, and free hygiene and dental programs. Through the decades, we’ve actively supported the Equal Rights Amendment, childcare, medical and family leave, victims of domestic violence and more.
Today, we continue educating children through our Atlanta Jewish Coalition for Literacy program and provide backpacks and supplies to schools and community agencies. In the past year, we’ve co-sponsored legislative events on behalf of maternal and child healthcare and provided much-needed supplies to mothers-to-be and underserved young mothers.
NCJW was made for this moment. Making sure women have the reproductive healthcare they are entitled to is part of who we are. For more than half a century, NCJW Atlanta advocates worked tirelessly for the rights of women to control their own reproductive freedom, rejoicing in the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973. And now, nearly 50 years later, that critical healthcare women have come to expect is practically eliminated in our state.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, our legislative outreach, education efforts, and our work with abortion access coalitions have increased exponentially. We promote local and national support for abortion access funding. We’re proud that over 40 Atlanta area clergy have signed on to NCJW’s Rabbis for Repro initiative, a group of several hundred clergy nationwide who use their voices to teach the Jewish value of reproductive freedom. We observe Repro Shabbat throughout Atlanta when we study the Torah portion regarding the Jewish position on abortion.
NCJW was made for this moment, too. Making sure all citizens have unfettered access to vote is also a part of who we are. In 1920, after robust activism from our early courageous women, we celebrated the passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. Yet, here in 2022, the right to vote is in peril for so many, particularly in our underserved communities. In a threat to democracy, recent Georgia law has created challenges and obstacles to providing everyone with fair and safe voting access. During this election season, through our Election Action committee, we’re providing non-partisan information—in both English and Spanish—throughout the community. We will continue registering, educating, and mobilizing voters as well as assisting people with absentee ballots and volunteering at polls.
NCJW Atlanta is comprised of energetic member advocates from all over Atlanta who are devoted to making a difference in our community. Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ncjwatlanta or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and become part of our moment, too!