The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
In 1893 Hannah G. Solomon of Chicago was asked to organize the participation of Jewish women in the Chicago World’s Fair. When Mrs. Solomon and her recruits discovered that participation was not substantive but would consist of pouring coffee and other hostess duties, they walked out. By the end of the World’s Fair, Mrs. Solomon and the accompanying delegate body of women had founded the National Council of Jewish Women, changing forever the role of Jewish women and the nature of volunteerism.
In every decade since then, NCJW has prioritized the most pressing issues of the moment – including promoting equal pay for women, voting rights, advocating for a fair and independent judiciary, immigrant rights and protecting reproductive health, rights and justice. NCJW utilizes its Theory of Change to accomplish this: meaningful education, combined with progressive and feminist advocacy, and dedicated community service results in impactful transformation on local, state, and federal levels. Nationally, NCJW is now over 180,000 members strong, with 58 sections, and NCJW advocates in 50 states.
NCJW, Louisville Section was founded in 1895 by Rebecca Rosenthal Judah and has remained focused on its mission to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families by using progressive Jewish ideals for social justice. This work is done by launching new community initiatives, collaborating with other organizations, and aligning with NCJW, Inc. to empower change. NCJW works in deep partnership and collaboration with other like-minded non-profits and organizations, public schools, local government agencies, human service providers, faith-based institutions, as well as elected officials holding positions in a multitude of offices. In 1956, NCJW opened their resale store, the Nearly New Shop, currently in the Highlands neighborhood, as a fundraising source to fund the Section’s advocacy programs and projects, as well as to offer services to local organizations with store merchandise vouchers and clothing assistance.
NCJW, Louisville Section has over 700 members to engage, advocate, and support women’s, children’s, and family’s issues regardless of religious affiliation.
Community Service/ Advocacy
As early as 1897, NCJW maintained the first summer kindergarten in Louisville and the first free public baths. More recently, NCJW sponsored the creation of Kentucky Youth Advocates (1977), helped establish CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in 1985, initiated a Court Watch that monitored the cases of victims of domestic violence (1995), started the Adopt-A-School program (2000) and Suitcase Project (2005), raised funds to create the Jefferson County Domestic Violence Intake Center (2009), created a new Court Watch Project on Child Abuse & Neglect Cases in Family Court (2014), and facilitated and raised funds to open the Jefferson Family Recovery Court and maintained social worker’s funding for 3 years (2018).
Nearly New Shop
The Nearly New Shop opened in 1956 as NCJW’s resale store and main source of fundraising. For the last 67 years, community members have been donating clothing, accessories, home furnishings and furniture to the Shop, which uses the proceeds to pay for advocacy projects run by NCJW. Additionally, the shop offers in-kind items to the following organizations and persons in need: Shoes to WaterStep; children’s clothing to Community Coordinated Child Care (4C); men’s clothing to The Schumann Social Services Center; clothing to the Clothes Closet at Our Lady of Peace Hospital; clothing to both the Wayside Mission’s Dress for Success program and various local churches; prom dresses, accessories, and coats to Maryhurst (residential home for abused teenage girls); clothes and furniture to both Salvation Army and Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS); and toys and prizes to Gilda’s Club camp annual children’s carnival.
National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Documentation is provided as requested.