The Atlanta Section of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) was established on October 10, 1895, two years after the national organization was founded in Chicago. At the turn of the 20th century, NCJW Atlanta members assisted newly arrived immigrants with a free kindergarten, a Sabbath School for immigrant children, free hygiene programs, and the Children’s Dental Clinic. During World War II, NCJW Atlanta members helped secure housing and organized English language classes for families fleeing war-torn Europe.
During the 1940s, NCJW Atlanta launched a program of personal services for the children’s ward at Grady Hospital; provided clothing, toys, and educational materials to young Holocaust survivors living in Israel; and founded its popular thrift shop to raise funds for its community programs. The shop was eventually replaced by the section’s annual major fundraiser, Bargainata, in 1970.
NCJW Atlanta established its Golden Age Recreational Clubhouse in 1954, offering a place for senior citizens to socialize, enjoy hobbies, and learn new skills. Two years later, the section opened the Golden Age Employment Referral Service, placing senior citizens in jobs around Atlanta.
NCJW Atlanta Section launched its Tay-Sachs Disease Prevention Program in May 1975 to identify carriers of this fatal disease within Atlanta’s Jewish community. The screenings eventually led to a permanent Tay-Sachs testing facility at Emory University.
Advocacy has been a hallmark of the section since 1910, when members wrote letters to their legislators to support the Federal Child Labor Bill. Since then, NCJW Atlanta members have used their voices, their feet, and their votes to work tirelessly on advocacy issues such as women’s suffrage; the ERA; women’s reproductive healthcare, justice, and freedom; antisemitism; immigrant issues; maternal and infant health; gun safety; and the placement of fair and impartial judicial nominees.
In 2007, NCJW Atlanta brought the Atlanta Jewish Coalition for Literacy into its fold, placing more than 100 volunteer reading tutors in several Atlanta Title 1 schools each school year. This successful program led to the section’s popular “pop-up” Mother’s Day jewelry shops as well as its annual Back-to-School Backpack Project. Atlanta Section’s other community service work reaches immigrant women seeking assistance from domestic violence situations, provides maternal healthcare to mothers and babies in need, warmly welcomes and helps settle newcomers from Afghanistan and Ukraine, feeds the homeless, and provides menstrual products to homeless women and teens.