NCJW/LA has a proud history. The women that founded NCJW/LA were committed to bringing about social and political change to improve the quality of life for women, children and families.
It is interesting to note that it was men who inspired the creation of NCJW at the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago. The male-led Jewish delegation to the exposition’s World’s Parliament of Religions asked Hannah G. Solomon to contact female leaders across the country for a concurrent Jewish Women’s Congress.
Hannah received responses from 95 women, who were then asked by the men to serve tea and coffee at their meetings. This was not what Hannah had in mind. Instead she founded NCJW at the Jewish Women’s Congress, calling on women to shape the destinies of American lives. In 1909 Rachel Kauffman answered Hannah’s call by recruiting 15 progressive women to form the Los Angeles section of NCJW.
NCJW/LA has always been a powerful catalyst for social change. We have consistently tackled the complex social challenges of the day while filling gaps in the social services needed within our community.
- Added Art Bridges Culture and our After School Homework Clubs to our youth programs, enabling children to improve their academic skills
- Created Life Skills Workshops to help women and families become self-sufficient
- Launched the Los Angeles edition of NCJW’s national Campaign for Contraceptive Access.
- Established an annual lobbying day to advocate for women’s issues with the California State Legislature.
- Joined with other women’s groups to found the Jewish Women’s Conference of Southern California.
- Created the Advocacy Training Project to help volunteers become effective advocates on important social issues
- Established the Human Trafficking Taskforce to spearhead the implementation in Los Angeles County of California State Law SB1193 on human trafficking
- Launched the Community Psychiatric Resource Project to provide access to psychiatric services
- Created the Back 2 School Store to help students in need receive new clothes for school.
- Established monthly educational panels with experts on issues that affect and impact women, children and families. Created legislative working groups to address the issues of human trafficking, gender-related violence, reproductive justice, gun violence prevention, heath care and economic justice
- Created Young Professional Leadership Circle
- Created Teen Advocacy Working Group
- Council Thrift Shops grow to eight locations.
- Established art and literacy educational programs for youth, including Teen Mother Literacy, Art Pals and Light Up a Library
- Founded a scholarship program to help women obtain degrees in nursing and other areas.
- Established and annual Clothing-Give-Away by Council Thrift Shops.
- Installed and dedicated the community mural “Not Somewhere Else, But Here” by Daryl E. Wells and SPARC on north side of Council House building.
- Started the Campaign for Choice to protect the reproductive rights of women. Founded community mental health services program to meet the demand for counseling, support and resources tailored to the needs of women
- Launched Women’s Center at Council House, a support and service network for women
- Expanded community mental health services program to include a talkline, counseling support groups and workshops
- Opened three more Council Thrift Shops
- Created Home Safe, a daycare program for preschool children of working parents (now operated by Vista Del Mar – Reiss Davis Child Care Service)
- Published a Nursing Home Guide researched and written by volunteers
- Moved Council House – to its present location at 543 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
- Initiated the first school tutorial program, leading to the employment of a school volunteer coordinator provided by the Board of Education
- Formed a coalition with the YWCA and the National Council of Negro Women to study the need for daycare centers and provide the impetus for the free Los Angeles School Lunch Program for those in need
- Initiated the Volunteer Training Program assisted by professional staff
- Opened four more Council Thrift Shops
- Replaced with El Nido Camp El Nido Lodge, a non-sectarian residence for troubled girls
- Expanded our Service to Foreign Born program during WW II
- Supported the war effort through war bonds, the USO, aid to the American Red Cross Auxiliary and veterans’ programs
- Founded El Nido Camp, a year-round health program for undernourished children
- Became a charter member of the Community Welfare Federation of Los Angeles (now known as The United Way)
- Established the Service to Foreign Born program (later turned over to Jewish Family Service)
- Opened our first Council Thrift Shop and built the first Council House
- Re-established the Moses Mendelssohn Settlement House, which became the Jewish Community Center
- Opened the Ida Strauss Nursery for children of working mothers (now the Julia Ann Singer Preschool Psychiatric Center)
- Became a founding charter member of the Jewish Community Council (now the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles)