NCJW Columbus: Looking Back, Looking Ahead | Local News

In 1918, a group of Jewish women in Columbus gathered to combat the inequality that plagued society and established the Columbus Division of the National Jewish Women’s Council. Once with 500 members, the group will fight human trafficking for the next century, create community-wide health initiatives, provide assistance to immigrants, support the homeless community, defend environmental solutions and promote the right to give birth. Spent on.

However, this all ended on June 30, and the leadership lineage could not be continued, and NCJW Columbus closed the door.

Close NCJW Columbus “It was a pretty disastrous decision,” former NCJW Columbus president Nikki Bloch told Columbus Jewish News. “People may wonder if they leave a big gap in the role NCJW played, or if there are other organizations we can rely on to become the home of progressive Jewish women. May. “

The end of an era


Bloch joined NCJW Columbus in 1996 and has moved to the area. A board neighbor advised her to check the organization. It didn’t take long for Bloch to become a member of the board.

She and her advocacy group followed in the footsteps of the founder and fought long-standing problems. They advocated gun regulation, participated in women’s marches, established one of the country’s first shaken child syndrome education programs for new parents, and teens taught by NCJW volunteers throughout local high schools. Invented a dating abuse prevention program for homeless children at the YWCA Family Center.

NCJW Columbus has also created a series of public policy forums on topics ranging from sexual trafficking to freedom of choice. It worked with pro-choice advocacy groups, including planned parent-child relationships, the American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Ohio Religious Union for Reproductive Choices to protect the right to abortion.

NCJW works to improve access to reproductive health care, teaches safe sex practices in high school, advocates lasting change at the state and national levels, works with local organizations to register voters and people. I urged him to go to vote.

In memory of NCJW Columbus

Bloch’s favorite memory of NCJW was when he chose the WoMan of Valor, which the organization recognizes every year. Members gathered for a big celebration and learned about the causes led by one of the communities. Organizations often commemorated the differences between members of life and people in the community.

“As I grew older and learned more, I became more and more in line with the values ​​of the organization,” Bloch said. “… Many of us are a group of like-minded women who joined the organization to do good, so we found close friends among fellow members and members of the board.”

Throughout the history of NCJW Columbus, we have worked closely with local organizations such as the Columbus Jewish Foundation and the Columbus Jewish Federation, as well as initiatives and events with Jewish Columbus when the Foundation and the Federation merged in 2018. The JewishColumbus Foundation managed and supported the growth of NCJW Columbus. Funded donation funds and many of the NCJW Columbus projects.

Jackie Jacobs, Honorary Director of the Jewish Columbus Foundation, told CJN that the group played an important role in giving women a say.

Jackie Jacobs


NCJW Columbus “became more prominent when women were banned from public roles,” Jacobs said. “They really improved it by involving themselves and becoming a major player in the community and the work they did.”

Jacobs vividly recalled the organization’s “characteristically superior and innovative” approach to domestic violence and shaken child syndrome, voting registration drives, thrift shops, and new semester pop-up stores.

“They have always been at the forefront of social change, advocating for the rights and needs of women and children, and speaking on issues of social and economic justice,” Jacobs said. “We were proud of their achievements.”


NCJW Columbus members perform hearing tests in the 1950s.

NCJW Cleveland Executive Director Mindia Kusner laments the closing of Columbus. Especially considering how good it is that the two chapters fought together on so many important issues.

“We never want to see when a section needs to be closed for some reason,” Axner said. “These issues we worked with included everything from reducing gun violence to women’s reproductive health and justice, voting rights and gerrymandering.”


NCJW Columbus members are smiling at the photos on the Columbus community shelter board. There, the organization donated a computer to the shelter’s resource room.

Closing factor

Bloch and Jacobs said the reason NCJW Columbus was closed was because it couldn’t attract younger generation members. Although these membership issues continued for several years, Bloch said the COVID-19 pandemic had succeeded in accelerating the seemingly inevitable dissolution.

When Bloch first joined NCJW, she remembered members of various age groups from 30s to 90s. However, its age range diminished over time.

“We had a hard time attracting young people and becoming active over the years,” Bloch said.

According to Jacobs, it’s unfortunately commonplace to see clubs of all kinds have to close their doors due to the decline in membership.

“We apologize for the closure of NCJW Columbus, but it’s not surprising,” Jacobs said. “This is part of the current trend, how people spend their time and how they work together as a group …. Young people need to participate.”


Members of NCJW Columbus perform paintings as part of the organization’s social justice advocacy efforts.

Last effort

As a result, NCJW Columbus has acquired the naming rights to the Centering Pregnancy space in the heart of James B. Fabel Family Health Center, Ohio, in Whitehall.

Bloch explained that this last effort was affiliated with one of NCJW Columbus’ longest-serving members, a former president and a family of women in Valor.

“We wanted to do something long-lasting in the community,” Bloch said. “We wanted something useful for our mission, exemplifying our mission to help women, children and families. This opportunity happened by chance when we were looking for it. I did. “

The remaining NCJW funds will be sent to the national section of NCJW, and all funds allocated to the Columbus branch by Jewish Columbus will remain in Jewish Columbus.


A photo of an almost new shop in NCJW Columbus, which started selling at bazaars in the 1950s.

Optimistic future

According to Bloch, all NCJW Columbus membership has been transferred to the national division of the organization and members have the option of joining the Cleveland section.

Discussions have already taken place between the former Columbus division and its Cleveland sisters on how to seamlessly migrate projects with Columbus members.

Mindia Kusner


“We need to determine not only what is important to us, but what is important to them,” Axner said. “We were able to come up with the best idea, but it doesn’t really matter unless it’s focused on what they want to do.”

Axner encouraged all Columbus members who wish to continue working with NCJW to join the Cleveland section.

“One of the things we always say is that we have strengths in numbers,” Axner said. “The connection only allows us to leverage our relationships at both the state and federal levels …. Last year we showed that we could do a lot without being within the same 10-mile radius. I did. “

Jacobs said club membership tends to decline, but it won’t be long before the pendulum reverts to more promising results for membership organizations.

“The problem may not be the same, but there are still many opportunities in the field of social justice to miss NCJW Columbus and its advocacy,” Jacobs said. “Others will have to stand up on that occasion to fill that vacuum they are so fully filled. Hope there are younger generations who are willing to resume NCJW Columbus Chapter 2.0. I am. “

Publisher’s Note: Jackie Jacobs is a member of the board of directors of the Cleveland Jewish Publishing Company.

NCJW Columbus: Looking Back, Looking Ahead | Local News

Source link NCJW Columbus: Looking Back, Looking Ahead | Local News

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