Fonds - National Council of Jewish Women fonds

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National Council of Jewish Women fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • 1930-2015 (Creation)
    National Council of Jewish Women

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Physical description

ca. 1000 photographs
25 scrapbooks
80 cm of textual records
1 plaque
1 donation can

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Administrative history

In 1893, Hannah G. Solomon of Chicago established the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). The Council was established as an organization of volunteers and advocates who worked to improve the lives of women, children, and families worldwide. Four years later, in 1897, the National Council of Jewish Women was established in Toronto; it was the first Jewish women’s organization in Canada. Today, there are sections in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver, with members in other cities across Canada. The organization continues to identify Jewish and non-Jewish causes in order to provide leadership, and financial resources to bring about change. Over the years, the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada has played a strong role in influencing public policy in areas such as relations with Israel, and the plight of world Jewry. The Council operates around three main pillars: service, education, and social action.

In 1934, the “Canadian Division” of the National Council of Jewish Women was formed, and Irene Samuel served as the first National President. In 1943, the Canadian Division was renamed the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC). The National Council of Jewish Women of Canada remained a member of the National Council of Jewish Women until 1967 when NCJWC ceased payments of per-capita dues to the Americans.

The early National Council of Jewish Women put emphasis on assisting young girls and immigrants, while also involving themselves in the war effort. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Council created Golden Age Clubs, the Irene Samuel Scholarship Fund, and established the Higher Horizons child care, and the Newer Horizons senior care programs. Overseas programs at that time included Ship-a-Box, and support for the Israel Counselling Association. In the 1970s and 1980s the Council increased its emphasis on social action and began Soviet Jewry projects. However, since the 1990s, the Council has shifted its focus to women’s issues, and has implemented the Breast Self-Examination program.

The National Council of Jewish Women of Canada consists of a National Board of Directors led by the National President. The National Board of Directors is made up of an Immediate Past President, an Honorary President, three Vice Presidents who are each responsible for one portfolio, such as membership and public affairs etc., a Treasurer, a National Advisory Committee, as well as one President from each Section. The NCJWC has a decentralized structure which means that while the National Office remains in one city, members of the National Board of Directors can reside across the country. The National Office was typically located in the hometown of the National President, but as of 1993, the Council’s National Office remains in Winnipeg.

Since 1997, the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada has been affiliated with the International Council of Jewish Women, a member of UNESCO Canadian Sub-Commission of the Status of Women, and a member of the Coalition of Jewish Women Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition for Agunot Rights.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of scrapbooks, newsletters, meeting minutes documenting the activities of the National Council of Jewish women as well as other records reflecting the organization’s work.

Some scrapbooks are organized around specific events or activities, some are organized around the tenure of a specific president and others are organized around a specific time period. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, programmes and ephemera.

Also included are photographs of various events hosted or attended by the National Council of Jewish Women and of people associated with the organization.

Other records include newsletters of local sections, by-laws, position statements on public issues, event programmes, meeting minutes and correspondence.

Artefacts include a plaque and donation can.

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