September 2021

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, offers a welcome time for reflection after a year of challenge and change. In some ways, the last year passed by so quickly, and it often feels like not much has changed as we collectively continue battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Our NCJW team remains focused on supporting the challenges that many women, children, and families are facing in today’s uncertain times. In other ways, welcoming the New Year is an important reminder to embrace the possibilities of new beginnings.  

In this month’s newsletter, you will find information on upcoming NCJW programs that focus on harnessing the power of working moms who continue to face struggles on so many fronts in the upheaval of the pandemic. We are also sharing exciting updates on our Realignment Project as well as some fun shopping opportunities at Thriftique. 

The current crisis in Afghanistan weighs heavy on our minds.  We are heartbroken watching the humanitarian crisis unfold, particularly the danger facing women and girls. Our humanity and tradition call us to act. To find out how you can help through NCJW Inc, click HERE, or to support refugees coming to Pittsburgh through Jewish Family and Community Service, click HERE.


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

Sara Segel

Interim Executive Director

NCJW Pittsburgh Section


Virtual Engagement Opportunities
Everyone is welcome!

Friday Night Lights: Masks and the Power of Moms

September 24, 4:30-5:30pm 
As we gather on Zoom to welcome Shabbat, join us for a timely discussion with bold and empowered moms from school districts across the Greater Pittsburgh area who are advocating for mask requirements in their schools in the face of loud opposition. Sign up here.


Meet the EEOC: Find Out What It Can (and Can't) Do for You
Thursday, September 30, 12-1:30pm 
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing civil rights laws related to workplace discrimination. Join this FREE virtual session to find out what that means for you, in areas including sexual harassment, sex-based harassment, pregnancy discrimination, caregiver discrimination, and unequal pay. Sign up here.


Connect to Coaching
Friday, September 17, 12-1:30pm 
This year, ICF Pittsburgh ProBono Coaching has partnered with the Center for Women to provide professional coaches to our community of women seeking financial wellbeing. After the session, attendees will be invited to submit their information to be matched with a coach and receive FREE coaching sessions.  Join us to learn how you can benefit! Sign up here.


Realignment Project Update

Recently we kicked off the NCJW Realignment Project: An effort to  “evaluate and make recommendations for NCJW’s approach to community service and impact in context of both the historic and current strengths & capacity of the organization and within a racial & gender justice framework.” 

The 17 member task force, chaired by Judy Cohen and Dr. Elizabeth Miller, will meet over the course of 6 months to explore key questions, including: 

  • How do we shift NCJW Pittsburgh’s community service work so its primary goal is to change systems that perpetuate racial, gender, and other disparities and inequities?
  • How do we move from a transactional to a relational model of community service?
  • Should our work be driven/informed by programs and projects OR a few key issues?
  • What is the role of volunteerism and direct service in today’s world?
  • What is NCJW’s potential to build on its current strengths and within its current capacity?

To kick off our work together, we interviewed Beth Gendler, Executive Director of NCJW Minnesota, to learn about the Minnesota section’s experience realigning to a focus on systems change and recognizing the importance of building relationships with the organizations/individuals they partner with.

In our second meeting we began to learn how local white-led non profit organizations have embarked on a shift towards stronger social justice and equity work. We listened intently to stories and advice shared by both Jake Goodman from the Opportunity Fund and Kristy Trautmann from the FISA Foundation. The task force’s homework this month is to interview additional white-led non-profit leaders. 

We will be sure to share our continued progress in future newsletters. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to Sara Segel.



B2SS Backpack Program Was a SUCCESS!

Thanks to our amazing donors and more than 50 volunteers who helped us pack and deliver, we distributed 1,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to 22 community agencies supporting children heading back to school. Special thanks to Anne Witchner for her energy and dedication to make this effort possible.

Still want to donate? While the Back 2 School Store Backpack program is over for the year, donations are welcome all year long. To donate, click HERE.


Volunteer Opportunities

Help Us Spruce Up Our Home

Anathan House, NCJW's beloved headquarters, in the heart of Squirrel Hill, needs a makeover to prepare for more in-person events! We’ll be sorting, purging, cleaning, and beautifying our space (inside and out), but we cannot do it alone.  Help us bring the shine back to this historic home. Work solo or with a friend. Contact Sarah Altomari with your interests and your schedule and we’ll find a project that works for you.


Kids Community Closets Needs Year Round Support

NCJW works with 19 community organizations and schools to establish and stock closets that provide clothing, winter jackets, and books to over 1,000 children in grades K-5 throughout the year. We could use your help with this important program. To sign up for KCC volunteer opportunities, click HERE.


Volunteer at Thriftique and Get a $15 Voucher

Are your kids or grandkids back at school, and you have a few hours to spare? Volunteer at Thriftique and receive a $15 voucher for your work! Bring a friend to make your time at Thriftique even more rewarding and FUN! Sign up here.


Kol Hakavod

Mazel Tov to NCJW staff members, Sarah Altomari and Patricia Tsagaris who recently completed the Summer 2021 American Association of University Women Social Change Ambassadors Program.

Through this seven week virtual networking and community-building program, our staff members learned to recognize and challenge workplace practices that often sideline and exclude people of marginalized identities. We are so proud of their accomplishment!


"I love to thrift at Thriftique Pittsburgh, their manager Patricia creates such a pleasant and fun vibe for thrifters!"

Influencer Chi Ilochi quoted in The Incline's "Learn how to bargain hunt from these Pittsburgh thrifters"

Giant Pant Sale @Thriftique!


Planning To Throw Out Your Old Newspapers? Give Them To Us Instead.

Thriftique is in need of your old newspapers to wrap delicate housewares for happy customers!  Please drop off your old newspapers at 125 51st Street, Lawrenceville, PA 15201.


Community News and Opportunities

August 28, 2021 marks the 4th year that the Young, Black & Giving Back Institute (YBGB) has promoted financial giving for Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits through Give 8/28. Join us in celebrating the ONLY day dedicated to giving back to Black nonprofits by donating to your favorite organization HERE.


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 © 2020 NCJW Pittsburgh Section, All rights reserved.

National Council of Jewish Women - Pittsburgh Section
1620 Murray Ave  | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15217
412-421-6118 |

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