NCJW Book Club selections for the coming year

NCJW Book Club selections for the coming year

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The NCJW Book club meets at the Gulfgate Library from 1-2:30 p.m. on the second Monday of the Month. We often meet for lunch prior to our discussion near the library so that we can have some social time.

Summer selections and dates for 2019 will be announced at a later date. The NCJW Sarasota-Manatee website has information about book club. You will find: selections and dates for the current season, what we have read the past two seasons and Goodreads reviews of books on our selection list. The book club info on the website is under Community Services. If you have any questions contact:
Barbara Aferiat (C) 703-338-7112 or

2018-19 Selections

November 5, 2018
The Bridal Chair
by Gloria Goldreich
Review by Sue Reiss

December 10, 2018
Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
Review by
Rhoda Friedman

January 14, 2019
The Woman who Smashed Codes
by Jason Fagone
Review by
Judith Kalish

February 11, 2019
The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell
by Nadia Hashimi
review by Phyllis Elson

March 11, 2019
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
review by Nancy Golden

April 8, 2019
Mistress of the Art of Death
by Ariana Franklin
review by Susan Girese

May 13, 20019
The Leavers by Lisa Ko review by Laura Smith

February 11, 2019
The Pearl That
Broke It’s Shell
by Nadia Hashimi
Review by Phyllis Elson

March 11, 2019
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
Review by
Nancy Golden

April 8, 2019
Mistress of the
Art of Death
by Ariana Franklin
Review by Susan Girese

May 13, 20019
The Leavers
by Lisa Ko
Review by Laura Smith

Take a look — Buy a book

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NCJW is proud to again partner with JFCS to fight illiteracy in our community with their campaign, “TAKE A LOOK-BUY A BOOK-DONATE. ” JFCS Volunteer Project Manager, Sheila Birnbaum, who founded this program, has asked for donations of NEW unwrapped books for boys and girls Pre-K through fifth grade. All books will be delivered to JFCS and they will distribute books to at risk children.

The scheduled collection of books will be in February and March but, we eagerly look forward to receiving new book donations anytime. At our February general meeting we will have a box to collect the unwrapped new books or you may purchase books on the Amazon Wish List created especially for this book drive. Copy the link below into your web browser. The books purchased on Amazon will be delivered to Barbara Aferiat, who will deliver the books to JFCS. The Title of the Wish List is “Take A LOOK-BUY A BOOK.”


Let’s make a difference in our community by giving generously. Owning, enjoying and sharing books is a privilege we take for granted, so please share that joy.
Questions: contact Barbara Aferiat,

Stimulating programs for 2018-19

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Wednesday, Sept. 26*
Opening Meeting, with Speaker Carrie Seidman

Carrie Seidman is the lead columnist for the Sarasota Herald Tribune, where she has been a full time staff writer since 2010. A graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism, she has been a metropolitan daily newspaper journalist for nearly 40 years, previously with the New York Times, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Tribune. She has been a feature writer, columnist, sportswriter, investigative reporter and food and dance critic and has specialized in mental health and dance. Her writing has received awards from local, state and national organizations and she was selected for a 2016-2017 fellowship from The Carter Center for Mental Health Journalism. The single parent of an adult son with a mental health diagnosis, she is also a two-time cancer survivor and a life-long dancer.

This meeting will be held at Cafe L’Europe, 431 St. Armand Circle, Sarasota, 34236 at noon. Cost $25. Contact Carole Shaw for more information and reservations at

Wednesday, Dec. 12*
General meeting, guest speaker, Harriet Hendel of the Innocence Project of Florida.

The Innocence Project of Florida was founded in 2003. It is based in Tallahassee and is the only non-profit organization in the state devoted to litigating cases of wrongful conviction. The Innocence Project of Florida works pro bono for all of its clients. So far, the group has exonerated 20 men. At any one time, our two lawyers are juggling 36 cases simultaneously. One of our clients spent 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. There are thousands of innocent men and women in the United States who are behind bars waiting to be given their freedom. Very few will be helped due to the fact that Innocence Projects across the country are understaffed and struggling to raise funds to continue their vital work. The Innocence Project of Florida does not receive any funding from the State.   Harriet Hendel serves on the Board of Directors of The Innocence Project of Florida. She speaks all over Sarasota about the organization. Since she lives a long distance from Tallahassee, her mission is to raise awareness about the project in addition to raising money. Harriet teaches classes about the criminal justice system for Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy and Brandeis National Committee. She has been a mentor for Jewish Family and Children’s Services, the YMCA and Take Stock in Children for many years.

The meeting will be held at the Jewish Federation, 580 McIntosh Rd., Sarasota at 1 p.m., free admission and refreshments will be served. For more information contact: Carole Shaw at

Wednesday, Feb. 6*
General Meeting

Our guest speakers for the General Meeting and luncheon are Dr. Daniel Stein, Board Certified Neurologist and his colleague Sheri Huminsk, Life Coach. The topic of discussion is “ Medical Marijuana”.

Join us for an evidenced based discussion of the action, uses, side effects and more of Medical Marijuana.  In addition to being a regional authority on multiple sclerosis and providing a full range of neurodiagnostic services, Dr. Stein provides a holistic approach to help the appropriate patients benefit from medical marijuana. He will provide medical marijuana cards for eligible residents of Florida in which he determines that the benefits of medical marijuana use outweigh any potential health risks. Marijuana may help many conditions such as anxiety, pain from various sources such as arthritis and cancer, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and others. Join us for a full discussion of who may benefit.

This will be held at The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods, 3260 Lake Pointe Blvd off 41, in the main dining room at noon-2:30 p.m. Cost $18.
For additional information contact: Sheila Brumberg at or 941-927-3654.

Wednesday, March 20*
General Meeting

General meeting, with speaker Ann Walborn: Topic is “Corals and our Changing Climate”.
Ann Walborn is a volunteer docent, a member of the MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s community relations team and speakers bureau for over 10 years. Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems in the ocean and provide significant environmental, biologic, recreational and economic value. Coral reefs of the Florida Keys are unique national treasures. In general, reefs cover less than 1 percent of the ocean floor but support about 25 percent of marine life.  Learn how scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory are leading the way to understand how reefs are changing and developing new methods for restoring them through Mote’s five, active coral research programs.

The meeting to be held at the Jewish Federation 580 McIntosh Rd. Sarasota, at noon. A light lunch will be served. Free Admission. For more information and RSVP contact Marion Marshak at 941-739-0463 or

NCJW Installation welcomes new board

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The new officers were installed at a recent National Council of Jewish Women Luncheon on May 9th. Over 60 guests enjoyed the beautiful view at IMG Academy in Bradenton as they were introduced to the new Board members. Thanks go to Carole Shaw and Roz Hopp for arranging this lovely event so officers could share their exciting ideas for the coming year.

The following officers were installed by Jan Segal with assistance by Rosalie Leon and her lovely singing voice. Pictured below are the new Co-Presidents Cindy Solomon and Joyce Hersh. The Vice Presidents are Phyllis Dreyfus (Administration), Communications (Rookie Shifrin and Jill Simons), Community Service (Bobbi Leibowitz, Anita Knisbacher, Irene Brett), Special Events (Carol Papish, Andrea Kutcher, Janet Alloy), Membership (Fredda Chalfin, Rosalie Leon, Programming (Marion Marshak, Rosalind Hopp and Carole Shaw), Advocacy (Marcia Schweizer), Corresponding Secretary (Marian Moss), Financial Secretary (Meg Antine), Recording Secretary (Evie Batten), Treasurer (Shirley Pollack) and Parliamentarian (Barbara Swartz).

Guest speakers were Wendy Ross, ABC Channel 7 weather-caster who entertained us with anecdotes about Channel 7 and Jessica Rogers, Vice President of Philanthropy for Children First Fund (and NCJW member) who thanked our members for all they do for Children First.

Exciting plans are underway for 2018-2019. If you are new to the area and are interested in finding a meaningful way to be a community service volunteer, call the NCJW Hotline at 941-342-1822 or view the website at

You be the Judge: Religious Freedom

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Our Judicial System is a critical organization founded by guiding principles that provide fundamental rights for all Americans. “Judges are confirmed to lifetime positions on Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court and make decisions that shape our Nation.
Federal court decisions impact us all and everything we do: from the workplace to the schools, to family life.”

Our Courts Matter!

NCJW Sarasota-Manatee Section is proud to present this dynamic workshop on the federal court system. Dr. Linda Geller-Schwartz and Lauren Brownstein, the Florida State Policy co-chairs will lead this discussion. Participants will gain insight and understanding of the structure of the courts and why it is so important to have a diverse and independent jury.

Everyone who attends this workshop will have an opportunity to take part in a mock court session on a real case about religious freedom. They will learn how judges use both specific facts and the law to arrive at their decisions. As with many court cases, arriving at a decision can and will be a challenging process and an exciting experience for the participants.

This two hour program is both fun and very informative. The workshop will be presented on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. at the Jewish Federation Building on McIntosh Road in Sarasota. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Please contact Marcia Schweitzer at or 410-924-3190 TEXT only for questions and to reserve a spot.

Public Affairs and Advocacy Programs

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Currently, our Sarasota/Manatee Section has six core initiatives that are demonstrated in various ways: Human Trafficking, Teen Dating, Israeli Affairs, Lunch and Learn, a fall program that specifically focuses on one of our advocacy initiatives, Legislative Activities which includes two days in Tallahassee, a demonstration to promote change, and State Policy Advocacy. Some of these initiatives have significantly grown. Gun Safety is a project we would like to expand and there is an opportunity to make some changes with the Teen Dating Education initiative. There is always room for more but it will take volunteers to make it happen. We need your involvement, your ideas and your experiences. Please review all of our programs and come on board! For questions, interest and involvement – contact Marcia Schweitzer, VP of Advocacy at

Israeli granting program helps empower women

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In Israel, NCJW does its work through empowering Israeli and American women to improve the lives of women, children and families. NCJW brings a unique Jewish women’s progressive approach to advancing social justice and gender equality. Grants provided to Israeli organizations enable participation in advocacy coalitions, policy statements, and pioneering work in education and research, NCJW is a leader of women’s and gender rights in Israel.  For more than 70 years, NCJW members, throughout the U.S. have been supporting women, children, and families throughout Israeli society regardless of ethnicity, religion and economic status. We advocate for the equal status of women in the face of religious fundamentalism; women’s political leadership; women’s economic empowerment; LGBTQ rights; and educational opportunities for women.  Our Sarasota-Manatee Section will submit a proposal to support this program in the fall.

For the year 2018-2019, Anita Knisbacher and Marcia Schweitzer will present a unique video: PROMISES followed by a discussion. This is a beautiful and deeply moving portrait of seven Palestinian and Israeli children. PROMISES follows the journey of a filmmaker who meets these children in and around Jerusalem, from a Palestinian refugee camp to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Although they live only 20 minutes apart, these children exist in completely separate worlds, divided by physical, historical and emotional boundaries. PROMISES explores the nature of these boundaries and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors. The children of PROMISES offer refreshing, personal and sometimes humorous insight into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. With remarkable balance and a compelling blend of pathos and humor, this Oscar-nominated Emmy Award winning film moves the conflict out of politics.The date and place has yet to be determined and plenty of notice will be provided.

What does my vote mean?

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How to interpret Amendments on the ballot

NCJW’s mission is to strive for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. In keeping with our mission, we aim to help others find their voices, not to speak for them but with them. As Florida’s State Policy Advocate (SPA) Vice Chair, Lauren Brownstein represents not only Sarasota-Manatee Section but the State of Florida during legislative sessions in Tallahassee, at local coalitions, during meet and greets with other community organizations and many NCJW workshops. NCJW has 7 sections in the state and Sarasota-Manatee and Tallahasee are the only sections on the west coast. As the SPA, it is her mission to connect this section with all of the other sections in this state.

Our section has identified a critical need and to address this gap, NCJW Sarasota-Manatee Section is having a very special event on Oct. 16, 2018. This will be a very informative opportunity to learn about the upcoming ballot amendments. Participants will hear how your “yes” and “no” votes will impact our state and us all. NCJW also plans to take this information and reach as many people as possible because these amendments are critical such as the “Second Chance Amendment” and it is important that people fully understand how the ballot is written and interpreted. Please hold on to your ballots until you attend this meeting because it will help you make an informed decision.

This special event will take place Tuesday evening, Oct 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Palm Room at the Savoy, 401 Palm Ave. Sarasota.

Registration will begin at 6:30 pm. Space is limited so please RSVP as early as possible and guests will be welcomed. Send your RSVP and questions to Lauren Brownstein at or 941-243-3601.

Brownstein NCJW’s local Advocate

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NCJW has a strong focus on Advocacy. It’s mission is to strive for social justice, help others find their voices and not speak for them, but with them.

I am representing the state of Florida once again as State Policy Advocate (SPA) Co-Chair. This privilege gives me the opportunity to represent the Sarasota-Manatee Section plus the state during legislative sessions in Tallahassee. Locally, I am presently working on building coalitions, with like-minded community organizations and connecting our section with our five sister sections on the east coast and the one in Tallahassee.

NCJW as a non-partisan volunteer organization cares about women, children and families. I will continue to work toward our goals and share our local accomplishments with the rest of the state of Florida, our DC office and the other SPAs throughout the United States.
If anyone wants to discuss our advocacy work, including policies, issues and positions, please contact me at (941-243-3601).

What is a State Policy Advocate?

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NCJW’s mission is to strive for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

In keeping with our mission, we try to help others find their voices, not to speak for them but with them. As Florida’s State Policy Advocate Co-Chair, I have been privileged to represent not only Sarasota-Manatee Section but the state during legislative sessions in Tallahassee, at local coalitions, with other community organizations, at NCJW workshops and at local events. Last spring, we joined many groups and participated in the March For Our Lives movement in Sarasota.

NCJW has 65 sections nationally, with 7 in the state of Florida. As Co- SPA, I am the connection for our west Florida sections (Sarasota-Manatee/Tallahassee) with our east coast sisters, our DC office and SPAs throughout the country.

My Co-SPA, Linda Geller-Schwartz has been a wonderful mentor. She works tirelessly in keeping track of legislative issues that reflect NCJW’s core objectives. Look for Linda’s Newsletter monthly during the summer and bi-monthly in the fall.

If you want to join our advocacy work, learn more about state policies and issues, please contact me at (941) 243-3601 / (617) 733-4773.

Lauren Brownstein
Florida State Policy Advocate Co-Chair Sarasota-Manatee Section

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