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   Social Action Agenda

 FALL ISSUE 2004  SUBSCRIBE

Mark Your CalendarPlan to Attend the 2nd International Conference

Whether you work in the domestic violence field, are an abuse survivor or care about promoting healthy relationships in the Jewish community, you need to attend Jewish Women International's Second International Conference on Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, Pursuing Truth, Justice and Righteousness: A Call to Action. More than 700 people from six continents and every stream of Judaism are expected to converge in Washington, D.C., on March 2023, 2005, for this milestone event, which will build on the work begun at the first conference in July 2003.

Domestic violence advocates, abuse survivors, social workers, clergy, researchers, activists and volunteers will all have opportunities to discuss, learn and share during the three full days of workshops, plenary sessions and caucus events. Sessions will provide a forum for building knowledge in program design and exploring the latest prevention and intervention strategies. Jewish concepts and valuesand how they can help create communities free of abusewill be at the heart of many of the activities.

Survivors will share their stories and contribute to discussions about ways to transform Jewish community responses to the problem. New at the conference is a pre-conference retreat for college students and young professionals that will explore healthy and unhealthy relationships through a Jewish lens.

"I'm very excited about the possibilities for learning that will be available," says Millie Sernovitz, JWI counselor and conference co-chair with Diane Radin. "The program is many-faceted and will offer in-depth skills building for seasoned professionals as well as the basics about relationship abuse in the Jewish community for newcomers to the field."

Networking opportunities will also be plentiful. "One of the comments we heard most after the first conference was that it was a wonderful place to exchange ideas and meet other people in the field," says Lori Weinstein, JWI executive director. "Many new partnerships, projects and initiatives were born during those three July days in Baltimore. There will be even more chances to connect at the upcoming conference."

The Call to Action will be a focal point of this conference, as it was at the 2003 conference. By signing on to this collective vision statement, people from around the world can lend their voices to the movement that is helping to end violence against all women.

Conference sessions will take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington. All food served at the conference will be kosher. Continuing education units (CEUs) from the National Association of Social Workers will be offered.

JWI is seeking individuals and organizations as sponsors and supporting partners for the 2005 conference. Their support will make it possible for survivors, young people and international representatives to attend. Names of the sponsors and partners will be published on the conference website and in the program book.

To learn more about the conference and sponsorship opportunities, go to www.jwicalltoaction.org or call 800-343-2823.


Meet JWI 2004-6 Officers and Board Members

Jewish Women International officers and board members for 2004-6 were installed June 5, 2004, in Washington. Here are some highlights of their accomplishments:

Sandy Unger, president, [] of Eagan, Minn., is a 25-year member of JWI. She just completed two years as President-Elect and held the portfolio directing lay leadership in the Marketing and Development areas. Previous roles have included serving as Leadership Chair, Volunteer Services Team Leader, Fiscal Chair and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and Fiscal chair. A native New Yorker, she has lived in the St. Paul area for xx years and currently works as Community Education Youth Coordinator for three Independent School Districts, overseeing operations for a population of about 80,000. Sandy serves as co-chairman of the Jewish Domestic Abuse Coalition in the Twin Cities and just finished a three-year term as President of the Women's Board of the United Jewish Fund and Council

Shelley Herman, president-elect, [] of Long Beach, N.Y, has served as vice president of JWI for the past four years. Nationally she has served as chair of Project Ohr and the Residential Treatment Center-USA committees, and as a member of many more. As a JWI leader in the New York area, Herman has been the moving force behind a number of JWI projects to assist abuse victims. Most recently she has been working to develop MASK, a pilot project to help children who have been victims of or witness to violence. She is also chair of the Teddy Bear Project, which donated hundreds of stuffed bears to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Child Abuse Treatment Center to distribute to victims. Herman has served as a representative to the New York Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence and the Brooklyn Domestic Abuse Council and has been repeatedly honored for her domestic violence prevention activities. She owns and operates Gem Mill, Inc., a wholesale and retail jewelry corporation.

Barbara Park, vice president, [] of Bettendorf, Iowa, joined JWI in 1980 and almost immediately began to assume leadership roles in her chapter, Quad Cities. Park's most recent national roles included serving as JWI National Volunteer Board and executive committee member and as chair of the Member Mobilization/Chapter Services Team. Some highlights of her other JWI involvement include serving as chair for two JWI regions, organizing Mid-America Region's Month of Love personal giving which raised more than $200,000 annually, and coordinating all of her chapter's activities for 1997-2004. Locally is involved in community theater as an actor and a fund-raiser, and has held a number of leadership positions in her synagogue Sisterhood. A speech and language pathologist, she currently serves as a chat room host for America Online.

Amy Nisenson, vice president, [] Richmond, Va., has served as JWI vice president since 2002 and as a member of the JWI national board. She has an extensive volunteer portfolio both inside and outside of JWI. She has chaired JWI's National Training Institute, the Richmond Prejudice Awareness Summit and her region. She is also a member of Leadership Metro Richmond, has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Junior League of Richmond, and as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, the Jewish Family Services, and the Jewish Community Center, among other organizations. Nisenson is a professional fund raiser who currently works as Special Project Manager of the Virginia College Savings Plan and Director of the Virginia College Dream Foundation.

Alane Gruber, vice president, [] of Township of Washington, N.J., has been involved in JWI since 1982. Over the past 22 years she has contributed to the organization's work at the chapter, region and national levels. For the past four years, she has served as member of the JWI National Volunteer Board and was involved in the National Program and Chapter Services teams. A former president of Pascack Valley Chapter, she served as president of Heritage Council, and vice chair of North Atlantic Region. She attended the JWI's 1st International Conference on Domestic Abuse, was a member of the First Future Leaders Forum and has been involved in fund-raising for North Atlantic region and for her chapter. An instrumental music teacher, Gruber conducts school bands and teaches lessons on six band instruments.

Rochelle Schwartz, national volunteer board member [] of Philadelphia, Pa., has a more than 17-year track record of JWI leadership on the national, regional, council and chapter levels. During her first term on the National Volunteer Board, just ended, Schwartz was a quadrant leader on the Chapter Services Team advising 31 chapters, coordinated the highly successful Women of Distinction Luncheon held in Phildadelphia in May 2004, and spearheaded JWI's involvement in A Woman's Place, a domestic violence agency in Bucks County, Pa. Other highlights of her JWI involvement include serving as president of JWI Philadelphia Council and of the Career Women's Network Chapter. Schwartz retired in December 2002 from Temple University where she had served as secretary in the College of Engineering.

Judy Katzen, national volunteer board member [], of Richmond, Va., has most recently served on the JWI National Chapter Services Team and the Mother's Day Flower Project committees. Locally, she has a 30-year record of energetic and effective leadership, having served Gila Chapter as president and in many other capacities. She spearheaded the participation of synagogues in the Flower Project, increased school participation in the Prejudice Awareness Summit, and started the Donate-a-Phone project that collects cell phones for residents of women's shelters. In her community, she has served on committees for the JCC, the Community Relations Council of the Richmond Federation, and the Health Industry Action Group of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Professionally, Katzen works as campus director for a career training school.

Freda Gottesman-Brender, president, JWI Canada, and national volunteer board member, of Toronto has been involved in JWI and its precursor, B'nai B'rith Women, for 37 years and in three cities. She served as vice president of Balfour Chapter in Montreal, founding president of Calgary Chapter and president of Golda Meir Chapter in Toronto. She has held numerous national posts, including conference chair, chapter consultant to four chapters and leadership facilitator. Now retired, she taught high school mathematics for 33 years.