When NCJW Founder Hannah G. Solomon spoke at the Women’s Congress of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she called on women to shape the destinies of American lives. Rachel Kauffman heeded that call, and in 1909 assembled 15 courageous women who risked the disapproval of their husbands and defied traditional thought to form the Los Angeles Section of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Since its inception, NCJW/LA has assisted women, children and families in need, and has been a powerful catalyst for change and social action. The women of NCJW/LA have consistently honored the organization’s mission, tackling the often-complex social challenges of the day. These issues have never been easy: domestic violence, reproductive rights, race and gender equality, homelessness, at-risk children, health care for the poor, human trafficking, child care, single parents, rights for the disabled, environmental threats, welfare reform, and more.

From our early days easing the transition for new immigrant to making certain that underprivileged children received nutritious school lunches, from fighting for the right to vote to ensuring the most basic right to choice, NCJW/LA has stood firm in its commitment to empower women of all ages and enrich our communities through education, community service, and advocacy.


1909 National Council of Jewish Women organizes a Southern California branch.
1910-1920 Moses Mendelssohn Settlement House reopened and became the Jewish Community Center
1913 The Ida Strauss Nursery for children of working women of all nationalities opens.
1920-1930 El Nido Camp – year-round health programs for undernourished girls.
Children’s Bureau - founded to help troubled Jewish girls
1924 The first NCJW/ LA Council Thrift Store was founded to generate funding for their programs and provide clothes for those in need. $4,000 is raised the first year.
1926 Council House opened on Loma Drive
1930-1940 Service to Foreign Born Program – aid to refugees
1940-1950 USO – provide morale and recreation services to U.S. military.  The local USO was a place to go for dances and social events, for movies and music, for a quiet place to talk or write a letter home, or for a free cup of coffee and an egg.
NCJW/LA supports American Red Cross Auxiliary during WWII
Service to Foreign Born  – rescued, reunited, rehabilitated displaced people; set up furniture and clothing
1950-1960 Juvenile Hall – provides activities (games, crafts, drama) for young people in temporary detention
Senior Adults Club
1960 Breaking ground for current Council House on Fairfax Ave
1961 Council House opens at 543 N. Fairfax Avenue.
1960-1970 Children’s Center/LA County USC Medical Center – starts program for children of out-patients
Dialogue Through Art – multi-cultural exhibit in response to Watts Riots.
1970-1980 Actively participated in LA Coalition for Youth and Justice which supports reform of the juvenile justice system.
LA Upstarts – a musical creative arts project where volunteers provided educational programs for children in hospitals, centers, and kindergartens.
1980-1990 Campaign for Choice – protection the reproductive rights of women
Women Helping Women – responding to a demand for counseling, support and resources tailored to the needs of women
Women’s Center at Council House – a support and service network for women
June Miller Nursing Education Scholarship established
Action for the ’80s – offers alternatives for women through education, social action and service projects
Career Match – benefits the community and individuals by providing training and on-going support for women who seek to translate volunteer leadership skills into careers.
Environmental Issues Satellite Established - Beverly West Division recognizes the importance of the protecting environment
1990-2000 Women Helping Women expands – Talkline, Counseling support groups, workshops
Environmental Issues Satelite - Advocated against the proposed nuclear dumpsite in Ward Valley.  Sponsored a writing contest for LA county 4th, 5th and 6th graders.
Women Helping Children establishes Teen Mother Literacy
Women Helping Children establishes Art Pals  - for 3rd grade children to improve critical thinking, creativity through learning of contemporary art
Women Helping Children establishes Light up a Library – provide literacy programs to children (reading, lost & worn books, provide a quiet place to do homework)
Let’s Talk Series - political advocacy for women – issues and answers with distinguished speakers
Thrift Store – Annual Clothing Give-Away
The Fabulous Flea Market – fundraising event at NCJW/LA
Strictly Vintage Sale- fundraising event at the Thrift stores
Membership Has Its Privileges Sale- fundraising event at the Thrift stores
2000-present Women Helping Children establishes Art Bridges Culture – help 3rd graders gain appreciation & respect for diverse cultures
Women Helping Children establishes Alexandria House After School Program – enable children to improve academic skills and learn to give back to their community
Women Helping Children establishes WeHO Book Fair NoHo Children’s Art & Poetry Festival
Women Helping Children establishes Ben’s Books – provided art books for elementary school libraries
The Small Business Award by West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
Women Helping Women establishes Life Skills Workshops – assists in achieving improved family functioning and self-sufficiency – Car Seat Safety Training, Boosting Your Career Potential, Finance, Healthcare Decisions
Advocacy “Lunchtime Speakers Series” – informal discussion where activists, educators, legislators speak to public about current state and local issues
“Wall of Women” – created a human barrier to protect clinic workers and patients against abortion opponents
Campaign for Contraceptive Access
Hosts Forum to mark International Women’s Day
Women in Action Lobbying Dayadvocacy on state issues in Sacramento (annually)
Advocacy - “Face to Face With the Women of Iraq”
Advocacy “An Evening of Awareness of Human Trafficking”
Jewish Women’s Conference of Southern California - Educate. Empower. Inspire.
Reshet: Jewish Women’s Network – Including Life Transitions Workshops for Women, Jewish Women’s Conference, and Young Professionals Initiative
Advocacy Training Project -Training women and men to be effective advocates on issues they care about through a six session program.
Conference-Endangered Species: Why Are the Number of Women Representing LA County Elected Office Dropping?
Human Trafficking Taskforce: SB1193 Implementation Project


Programs That Began with NCJW/LA…

and Were Sustained by NCJW/LA Volunteers

American Red Cross-Los Angeles Headquarters

  • 1940 – Volunteers from the NCJW/LA knit garments and raise funds for ‘war relief’.
  • Council House had two rooms dedicated to the American Red Cross Auxiliary.
  • Currently “American Red Cross”, Los Angeles Chapter Headquarters is located at 11355 Ohio Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90025

Aviva Center

  • Staffed by NCJWLA women
  • First called the ‘Ida Strauss Day Nursery and Settlement House’
  • Renamed ‘The Jewish Alliance of Los Angeles’ in 1919,
  • Again renamed to ‘Hamburger Home’ in 1928,
  • Renamed to its current name ‘Aviva Center’ in 1984.
  • Currently Aviva Family and Children’s Services 7120 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (323)876.0550

Call for Action

  • 1977
  • Consumer complaint service operating out of radio station KFWB
  • Volunteer staff was around 50% NCJW

Common Borders Beatification Project

  • Re-named ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ (OCS) which is now done through the LAPD
  • 1993 newspaper article shows NCJW volunteers working within the project

El Nido Family Centers

  • 1925 – Created by NCJW/LA as a counseling center for girls and a camp in Laurel Canyon so that the girls could get some sunshine, fresh air, and fun.
  • 1948 – El Nido Camp is a Community Chest Constituent providing year round case for physically underprivileged girls from 6-14.
  • 1949 – El Nido Camp celebrates NCJW/LA long time member, Mrs. Hattie Mack’s 92nd birthday.
  • 195 – 170 children participated in the summer camp
  • 195 – El Nido Mothers Club Formed- Mothers of the girls who attended camp. They helped raise money and find equipment
  • 1954 – El Nido Lodge at Normandie was opened- Home away from Home for troubled teenage girls sponsored by NCJW/LA
  • 1966 – The 2nd El Nido treatment center was opened at Martel made possible by the loving gifts of members and volunteers at NCJW/LA
  • 1970s – El Nido forged ahead on their own as a separate 501c3
  • 1994 – NCJW/LA volunteers tutor young moms at El Nido centers so that they can graduate
  • Currently, Provides counseling, family life education, and service coordination to children, adolescents and families in the most disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles.

Friendly Visitor

  • Originally was Visiting Nurse Association then joined with the Jewish Family Services new Department of Services for the Aging.
  • Started get-togethers for the elderly to “add another dimension of interest to their lives.”
  • December 1970 newsletter article says that the NCJW/LA has been running the Friendly Visitor’s Program for 10 years and is now handing it over to Jewish Family Services.

HOME-SAFE; Day-Care Program

  • 1973 – 1977
  • A day-care program for pre-school aged children of single working mothers
  • Staffed by volunteers from NCJW/LA who were given training and then would watch the children in licensed day-care homes
  • In 1973 – Seeking amendment to the Los Angeles municipal code to change the zoning regulations for child care facilities and to wave fees for non-profit day-care.
  • In 1974, Home-Safe moved permanently to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Sponsored by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and part of the Thalians Community mental Health Center in their Family and Child Psychiatry Section.

Host Homes

  • Iranian Jews over the age of 18 were placed into homes of individuals who volunteered to take in a guest at their house.
  • Program started in the beginning of 1979 and was run by NCJW/LA for a year (during which they placed more then 75 young Iranian Jews into ‘Host Homes’)
  • The program was taken over by Jewish Family Services and Vista Del Mar who would run the program using community funds allotted to them through The Jewish Federation Council.
  • Vista Del Mar placed the underage children into foster homes, or worked to get proper certification to ‘Host Homes’ so that they could take in those who were underage.
  • Vista Del Mar is currently truly one of the most comprehensive care facilities for children experiencing mental health problems, behavioral problems, emotional problems, or social problems.

Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center

  • 1963 and 1964 – Opening of the new outpatient clinic with NCJW/LA volunteers in an indoor/outdoor playroom, to care for children whose mothers are being treated.
  • 1971 – L.A. County Board of Supervisors awards NCJW/LA for 10 years of service in the playroom.
  • 1974 – This outpatient clinic of the medical center is one of the ongoing community service projects for NCJW/LA.

Senior Volunteer Services

  • DOVES (Dedicated Older Volunteers in Educational Services)
  • 1964 – 1990 developed by NCJW/LA with “Los Angeles Volunteer Bureau” funded by the ‘California Committee on Aging’ NCJW/LA was able to set up an administrative structure for it.

Ship A Box

  • Overseas gift packages. Education material, toys and clothing for children aged 14 and younger.
  • 1940′s to 1980′s – Ship A Box program extremely successful
  • Especially successful during WWII
  • Continued throughout the 1980s shipping toys, clothing and educational materials to children in Israel

UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute – Children’s Outpatient Clinic

  • 1959 – NCJW/LA volunteers were working at the UCLA Medical Center.
  • 1962 – NCJW/LA donated 7 murals (for children) to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, and that proceeds from Council Thrift Shops will be going to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.
  • 1977 NCJW/LA Community Service Projects include the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, children’s outpatient clinic. Clinic provides evaluation and counseling from infancy to age 17 for children in need, therapy is also provided for the parents of the children.
  • NCJW/LA volunteers staffed an educational playroom located in the clinic waiting room which includes storytelling, games, and arts and crafts.
  • Currently, NCJW/LA supports by donating books to the waiting rooms.


  • Currently there are locations in Ontario, Palm Springs, San Diego, and San Francisco.
  • 1951 – NCJWLA volunteers serve food and beverages one Saturday each month.
  • 1959, 1960 and 1962 – Proceeds from Council Thrift Shops are used towards the U.S.O., and NCJWLA women volunteer at the U.S.O.
  • 1971 – NCJW/LA volunteers consistently serve at three different U.S.O. locations
  • 1974 – USO is one of the ongoing community service projects for NCJW/LA.

Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project

  • 1991 – Founded to provide services to low-income women in need from throughout the United States to ensure their right to a safe, legal abortion or emergency contraception
  • 2011 – Served 1,400 women

Youth Opportunity Board

  • 1963 – Volunteers staffed the YOB through the NCJW/LA “Youth Opportunities Committee”
  • 1965 – “Youth Opportunities Committee” developed into “The School Volunteer Committee”