National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan
2021 – 2022
Amy Cutler – President, 2020-2022
This past year has been unprecedented for dedication and commitment from our remarkable volunteers of NCJW | MI. Following is a brief report of the achievements of the Michigan Section. The vice presidents whose portfolios contained the following committees mentored and guided the Chairs to complete their missions and to continue their work for the various committees. We are grateful for their dedication to our organization: Evva Hepner, Lauren Koenigsberg, Carrie Kushner, Sallyjo Levine, and Sue Rollinger.
- Wrapped in Love – For the last 15 years the volunteers of this community service project have met every Monday even during COVID on zoom to cut and tie fleece blankets for children who are in hospitals, shelter care or receiving help through social services. 14 women participated this year and approximately 550 children have received blankets with the guidance of Ruth Zerin, Bobbie Patt, and Sandy Collins.
- Backpack project – This project provided backpacks filled with appropriate level school supplies to 1350 students. This includes homeless students in Oakland County and students who have been identified as in need through Jewish Family Service.
Thank you to Deede Auster, Amy Zeskind and Jan Goldfarb for their dedication to this project.
- Back 2 School Store – Carol Rosenfeld, Margo Stocker and Fran Grossman with the help of Lauren Koenigsberg have done an outstanding job of bringing this program to completion for the two years of the pandemic! Although we were not able to hold our real pop-up store, these women along with their cadre of volunteers were able to provide clothing, books, school supplies, personal care items and masks for 900 Detroit area school children. 21 agencies in Detroit were recipients of these items and they were able to distribute the items to the children in need.
- Jewish Youth Awards- This year we had 28 students who submitted essays for the Awards contest. I had the privilege of reading the essays and I am very happy that I didn’t have to score them! They were outstanding! Eight essays were finalists. We had monetary prizes for first, second, third and honorable mention. Thank you to Risha Ring and Marilyn Kohen for chairing the program.
- Video Contest – Our video contest was led by Randie Levin for high school girls in Oakland County. Entrants were asked to develop a 30 second video using the prompt, “How to be an Upstander in the face of bullying or hate.” Again, outstanding entries.
- Children’s Advocates – This very important program consists of court appointed advocates to investigate minors in guardianship situations and to determine if the placements are suitable and safe. These advocates handle approximately 55-70 reviews a year. We are informed by the courts that we are the only agency that handles these reviews. For the past two years, these reviews have been done on zoom, but hopefully, they will be able to do in-person reviews soon. I want to extend kudos to Nanci Raimi and Liz Bank.
- Kosher Meals on Wheels – KMOW is a program that benefits homebound seniors over the age of 60. During the pandemic the program eligibility allowed the inclusion of seniors 60 or older whether homebound or not. Additionally, we served clients from JARC who were in need of delivered meals. Kosher lunches and dinners were delivered Monday through Friday. Approximately 100 people were served each day. Our 75 volunteers delivered 44,600 meals to 172 people during the period of July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022.
- Israel Affairs – The Israel Affairs Committee of NCJW | MI was established to educate Board members, the membership and community at large on NCJW’S involvement in Israel through a grant and programs that impact the lives of Israeli women, children and families. Under the guidance of the co-chairs, Trudy Weiss and Jeannie Weiner, the Israel Affairs committee partnered with Women’s Philanthropy in March to present, “Breaking Barriers, the Women Changemakers of Israel” with Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh. Ms. Kamal-Mreeh is the Jewish Agency’s first Druze emissary to the United States.
- To bring more enlightenment to our community, we offered many programs on zoom this year from our annual Nosh & Knowledge Rabbi Nosanwisch of Adat Shalom offered a new perspective on Jewish Caring, while Rabbi Bergman also of Adat Shalom guided us through Jewish history with a look at Jewish Photographers. We also took a virtual walking trip through Jewish Paris while taking a peek behind the scenes at the DIA to view some important works in their collection. And, of course, our wonderful Book Talks with our master storyteller, Edie Broida.
- NCJW Green – The Green committee was formed in part to educate the community about global warming. Since its inception, the committee has launched the project, “Plastic Bags to Plastic Mats”. Using plastic bags, over 30 plastic mats have been knitted or crocheted which were donated to homeless shelters. The committee held webinars dealing with electric vehicles and Factory Farming. The co- chairs were Cathy Cantor and Marilyn Mossman.
- The Advocacy & Elections committee continued its work following the 2020 National Election: promoting and protecting the vote. In addition, the committee expanded its activities to include subcommittees devoted to gun violence prevention and abortion justice. The webinar, “Hate is Hate, We Are All at Risk”, was presented for the Fall Focus event in October 2021. We thank our State Policy Advocates, Cathy Cantor, Linda Levy and Irma Glaser, for their efforts and dedication to these very important issues.
- As important as these programs and projects all are, we must recognize the Women of Vision The volunteers of the Women of Vision project have gone over and above their commitment to keep our organization viable. Thanks to the unceasing dedication and efforts of Sandi Matz and her committee the supporters of this fund raising project doubled their donations to NCJW | MI.
The State of Affairs of National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan is healthy and strong. We look forward to continuing our commitment to the Detroit Metropolitan Community, the Detroit Jewish Community, and our sister community in Israel. The volunteers of NCJW | MI can be proud of their achievements and stand ready to begin the new fiscal year with added vigor.