February 2023 Newsletter


"When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don't speak out ain't nobody going to speak out for you." - Fannie Lou Hamer

I speak for the trees.” The Lorax, Dr. Seuss


In January, I had the immense pleasure of hearing Jacqueline Hamer Flakes, the daughter of civil rights icon and voting rights pioneer Fannie Lou Hamer, speak at City of Asylum. It felt like the perfect extension of the Just Films Series documentary NCJW PGH cohosted in October, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America. This more recent experience was a powerful reminder about the importance of bearing witness to the testimony of others. While Ms. Flakes did speak about her mother’s work, so much of her presentation was about what it was like to be a child in that place and at that time. She spoke about the rich community that surrounded her and her sisters. We laughed with her as she shared anecdotes of the vibrant characters that touched her life. I left feeling grateful for her vulnerability, her intimacy and her trust in the folks gathering in support. If you haven’t yet encountered Mama Fannie I highly recommend checking it out. As well, if this is the first time you are hearing Fannie Lou Hamer’s name, start with a shallow dive into her Freedom Farm Coop. What an inspiration.

In a swift non sequitur, with Tu B’Shvat upon us I can’t help but think of the Lorax. For many of us, the Lorax quote lives in our heads rent free. There are times, as with the trees, when we need to use our voices, our networks, and our privilege, to amplify and center the needs of others. Taken with the words of Fannie Lou Hamer, we see a cycle of care: we stand up for ourselves so we can stand up with and amplify the needs of others. Like a tree spreading its branches, we cover more ground. When we speak up for ourselves we grow our trunk and extend our roots proving to others that we aren’t just allies, but accomplices in a forest of progress.


With a faith in the future and a belief in action,

Marissa Fogel
Executive Director
NCJW Pittsburgh


NCJW Pittsburgh is proud to join Sections around the country in celebrating Repro Shabbat, which starts this year at sundown on Friday, February 17 and runs through sundown on Saturday, February 18. Repro Shabbat is each year when Parshat Mishpatim is read from the Torah, because it contains the verses commonly used as the foundation of Judaism’s approach to reproductive health, rights, and justice. NCJW Pittsburgh is offering opportunities on either side of Shabbat to learn and engage both in-person and virtually with experts on a variety of topics and have reserved Shabbat for the text-based learning of your choosing. Come one, come all, to one, or all. We can't wait to welcome you!

Challa Out
Thursday, February 16, 6:30-8:30PM - In-Person

Get ready for Shabbat, Repro Shabbat style. You may choose to bring the 2023 Repro Shabbat logo to life by shaping a uterus-shaped challah, but no matter your shape, we will have fun and learn with Repair the World's assistance. This is a family-friendly event, so bring everyone along. Dessert sweets will be served. Register HERE.

Drash it
Friday, February 17 - Saturday, February 18
Time and Place Vary

Check with your synagogue to see if they are participating in Repro Shabbat by having leaders talk about the Jewish, text-based aspects of reproductive justice and abortion access. Congregations will decide how to engage. Several across the Commonwealth have signed on. Has yours? If not, encourage them to do so; we can provide information to help. Email info@ncjwpgh.org.

Abortion Onscreen Lunch & Learn
Monday, February 20, 12-1PM

Spoiler Alert! Depictions of abortion onscreen are not accurate. Join Steph Herold of University of California San Francisco and the Abortion Onscreen project to learn about studies that show how our perceptions of abortion are shaped by entertainment and media and how that can affect how we support (or don't) equity, access, and justice. Register HERE.

Working Moms Support Group
Thursday, February 16, 7-8:30PM

Working Moms Support Groups are back!  These are free, in-person groups that include free childcare (limit 6 kiddos), snacks, tea, support, networking, and more! Set your calendar for every third Thursday, 7-8:30 PM. Our groups are facilitated by experienced therapist Cortney Seltman, whose passion for building incredible group experiences is not one to miss. Spread the word! Register HERE.

The League of Women Voters Pittsburgh is soliciting questions for their primary candidate forums and surveys that they make available to all, and they want to hear from you. If you have an issue you're passionate about, submit questions for candidates to answer so that everyone knows the their stance and gets a peek at how they might govern. If you have a question for a specific election, please note that. Send your questions to vote411@lwvpgh.org. You can access the League's site to learn about the upcoming May primaries.


The advocacy space will be quiet until Governor Shapiro releases his budget in early March, which gives us time to meet and welcome all your newly inaugurated and sworn in representatives. This is an important step to start building relationships and learning more about your reps, and for them to learn more about you, their constituency. 

Welcome them to their new roles, and tell them all the ways working families need their help. Tell them what matters most to you: is it the child care crisis, the pandemic’s gutting effect on working women, abortion access, inflation, healthcare, or something else?

Find your reps here. You can email them, or tag them in a social media post. If you’re posting on social, tag @MomsWorkPGH so we can join in the conversation too!


Check out our new monthly dedicated email in the third week of each month for all the latest and greatest Thriftique updates! If you didn’t get it last week, check your spam folders or let us know by emailing us at info@ncjwpgh.org.


The National Council of Jewish Women is a volunteer organization that has been at the forefront of social change for over a century. Inspired by the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (“healing the world”), NCJW courageously takes a progressive stance on issues such as child welfare, women’s rights, and reproductive freedom. And we encourage everyone—people of all faiths—to join us.

Copyright © 2022 NCJW Pittsburgh Section, All rights reserved.

National Council of Jewish Women - Pittsburgh Section
1620 Murray Ave  | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15217
412-421-6118 | info@ncjwpgh.org

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