Our new CEO, Alexandra Silver, has been featured in the latest The Shtick episode. “New CEO of NCJW Vic., Alexandra Silver zooms in to introduce herself to our community as the lady to take the National Council of Jewish Women (Vic) to the next level of achievement in the field of women's empowerment and advancement. Being here from the USA only for the past year, Alexandra is keen on her new role and passionate about the important projects that NCJW Vic has delivered so successfully over many years”- The Shtick.
Watch Alexandra’s interview at The Shtick:
The National Council of Jewish Women Vic mourns the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg z’l. Ginsburg, the first female Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court, died on one of the holiest days in Judaism, Erev Rosh Hashanah as many of her country’s nearly six million Jews welcomed the new year 5781, based on the Hebrew calendar. Those who die on the new year holiday are considered “tzadik,” a title given to the righteous and saintly. She was 87.
Ginsburg was raised in a secular household but explained in 2018 that her religious background influenced her life’s work: “I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice, for peace and for enlightenment runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.” Ginsburg was a great Justice, a woman of valour, and became something of a hero to liberal women for her decades-long battle in pursuit of women's rights and gender equality.
In 2017, Australia was ranked 35th on a global index measuring gender equality, slipping from a high point of 15th in 2006. While Australia scores very highly in the area of educational attainment, there is still a lot of progress to be made in the areas of economic participation and opportunity and political empowerment.
The work of the NCJWA Vic is not done, our campaign #makespaceforher is a step in the right direction to ensure women are equally represented. We remember and honour RBG’s legacy and will work to continue her life’s work as women, wives and mothers we remember her and the words of the Torah: "Justice, justice, shall you pursue."
Caring Mums is seeking supervisors (volunteer role) to provide group support to our wonderful, dedicated volunteers. “No woman has to be alone on her journey of motherhood” is the motto of our Caring Mums program. As part of this vital program, trained volunteers provide weekly emotional support to pregnant women and new mothers. We work across several municipalities and offer limited support to those outside of these catchment zones.
Ideally, supervisors will have a qualification or experience in the fields of psychology, social work, counselling, group work and the perinatal sector.
Time commitment: minimum 2 hours per fortnight, plus 2 hours every 6 weeks for professional group supervision.
For more information contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring has arrived in Melbourne and is a time of new beginnings. The same is true for NCJWA Vic.
Our Annual General Meeting on the 27th August was the end of one era and the beginning of another. Three stalwarts of the board had reached the end of their 8 year tenure. This is the maximum time anyone can sit on the board as it’s good governance for boards to refresh themselves regularly.
Miriam Bass, Debbie Strauch and Hannah Greenberg have left the board and will be sorely missed. They were all integral to the enormous transition that the organisation has undergone in recent years and contributed greatly, each in their own way.
Every end is a new beginning though. The end of their tenure opened the way for a new executive team to be elected and two new board members. This brings new people, new ideas and new energy to the organisation.
President – Miriam Bass
Miriam has been the President for the last 4 years. She enhanced the delivery of our programs and activities and put in place robust structures for finance, risk management and governance whilst focusing on our mission to advance the lives of women and girl. She leaves NCJWA Vic as an effective, finely tuned and robust organisation on a journey of growth, with a strong and skilled Board, an authoritative strategic plan, and a new generation of supporters
Vice President – Debbie Strauch
Debbie served as Vice President from 2014 – 2020. She helped raise the profile of NCJWA Vic through events and programs and maintained the Circle of Women as an important source of philanthropic support. Our Brainfood series of informal lectures was initiated by Debbie, she co-ordinated the speakers for the UJEB Bat Mitzvah program and established the partnership that led to the popular Shesh events. It’s easy to see why Debbie was awarded Honorary Life Membership of NCJWA Vic this year!
Treasurer – Hannah Greenberg
Hannah held the role of Treasurer for 8 years during which time she obtained DGR status for the NCJWA Vic Social Support Trust. Eight years ago our financial systems were undeveloped, we did not have any basis from which to prepare budgets, and obtaining reliable management reports was a strain. Hannah has ensured that all those things are now in place. She was honoured for her tireless work by being this year’s recipient of the NCJWA Presidents award.
Lila is a Chartered Accountant and Director in PwC’s Financial Assurance practice with 13 years’ experience. She has been a member of NCJWA Vic’s Finance Committee for the past year. With a Bachelor of Commerce from Melbourne University, Lila brings technical accounting knowledge, financial governance and acumen as well as experience in senior stakeholder management from her role leading projects in the private sector.
Kate is a Director of the Murdoch Children’s’ Research Institute and Chair of its Development Board. With a Bachelor degree in Arts and Law from Monash University, Kate practiced commercial law before heading to an in-house role as Legal Counsel for Swinburne University. She is a passionate supporter of many charities and has sat on the board of Kids in Philanthropy and been involved in event planning for Mt Scopus and the Jewish Museum of Australia.
New Board Executive Team
President – Helen Lewin
Helen joined the Board in 2016. With qualifications in law and more than 25 years’ experience in law, privacy practice and corporate compliance, she brings a breadth of perspectives to dealing with privacy protection and information governance issues. Formerly, Deputy Privacy Commissioner (Victoria), and Chief Privacy Officer and Head of Corporate Compliance at Telstra Corporation, Helen now works as a lawyer and privacy consultant.
Vice President – Judy Hacker
Judy joined the Board in 2017 and is a senior marketing executive with over thirty years’ experience in management, marketing and strategic planning. She is an experienced Board member, having served on many not-for-profit boards before joining NCJWA Vic and is also currently on the board of Women’s Health Victoria. Judy led the rebranding of the organisation in 2020 in line with the strategy to revitalise our look and feel and broaden our appeal to all age groups.
Treasurer – Lesley Ber
Lesley joined the Board in 2019 and is a qualified Chartered Accountant as well as an MBA graduate with a Diploma in International Tax. Lesley has 15 years banking experience ranging from general banking, internal auditing to specialist treasury bank auditing. She is an experienced structured financier and has implemented domestic and cross border lending structures as well as having been a tax examiner for the South African Institute of Bankers and a university lecturer.
Secretary – Sally Davis
Sally, a lawyer by profession and a trained mediator, joined the Board in 2018. Sally chairs the Governance and Risk Committee. Having worked extensively in the financial services industry for over 20 years, focusing on dispute resolution and the identification of systemic issues, Sally is currently the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of committees that monitor codes of practice in the financial services sector. She is passionate about providing community assurance and ensuring continuous improvement.
In addition to all the changes the board is undergoing, we are also farewelling our current CEO Lee Ann Basser and welcoming our new CEO Alexander P. Silver. Lee Ann is moving towards retirement after four years at NCJWA Vic. She has made a discernible difference during her time as CEO and was instrumental in driving the growth of the organisation, raising its profile and developing an amazing team of staff.
Lee Ann gave us an unusually long notice period so that we could conduct an extensive search for the next CEO and ensure an orderly transition period. We thrilled that Alexandra Silver accepted our offer to be the new CEO and she started with us on the 1st September.
Lee Ann and Alex have been spending a lot of time together during the two week handover period. Alex’s vast experience in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors in the Jewish community in the USA as well as the broader community in the USA means that she has hit the ground running.
Born and raised in the United States, Alexandra immigrated to Australia in 2019 with her Australian husband and young family. Although fairly new to living in Melbourne, she visited her extensive family here many times and has already established strong connections within the community since moving here. Some of you may know her from Caulfield South Primary School in Bundeera Road where her twin daughters go to school.
Alexandra is thrilled to be joining NCJWA Vic to help guide the organisation to reach new heights as we build upon the rich history and strong foundation we have already achieved.
Please join us in sincerely thanking Miriam, Debbie, Hannah and Lee Ann for their wonderful contribution to NCJWA Vic. Similarly, please welcome Lila, Kate and Alex as well as the new executive team who all look forward to ensuring a strong future for NCJWA Vic.
We are honoured to present our newly-elected President, Helen Lewin. Helen was elected by the NCJWA Vic members at our Annual General Meeting, held earlier tonight. “I'm very excited to be leading the NCJWA VIC with a Board of dedicated, passionate women and continuing the growth of the association by powering women and girls for a better world, connecting with the community, delivering innovative programs and events, and advocating for women and gender equality”.
Helen joined the Board in 2016 and was the Secretary of NCJWA Vic. With qualifications in law and more than 25 years’ experience in law, privacy practice and corporate compliance, Helen brings a breadth of perspectives to dealing with privacy protection and information governance issues. Formerly, Deputy Privacy Commissioner (Victoria), and Chief Privacy Officer and Head of Corporate Compliance at Telstra Corporation, Helen now works as a lawyer and privacy consultant.
Like other board members, Helen is passionate about the advancement of women and girls in the Jewish and broader communities.
Mazel Tov, Helen!
NCJWA Vic is pleased to announce the appointment of our new CEO, Ms Alexandra P. Silver effective from 1st September, 2020.
Alexandra was selected after an exhaustive CEO search with the support of Deborah Komesaroff from Fisher Leadership, who interviewed the board to learn what skills and attributes were needed in NCJWA Vic’s next leader.
Born and raised in the United States, Alexandra immigrated to Australia in 2019 with her Australian husband and young family. Although fairly new to living in Melbourne, she visited her extensive family here many times and has already established strong connections within the community since moving here.
Miriam Bass, President, NCJWA Vic said “Alexandra is a very dynamic, respected and innovative leader and comes to us with significant experience in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors in the Jewish community as well as the broader community. We believe that she is the right person to lead NCJWA Vic in its next phase of development.”
“Her success in the not-for-profit sector in the US ensures she has the attributes to work with all of our key stakeholders within the local community and government. We are also excited by her passion and commitment to NCJWA Vic’s mission to empower women of all ages to achieve their potential and create a better world.”
Alexandra’s last position in the US was as the Executive Director of Clark County Medical Society, a professional organisation which advocates for physicians and their patients to encourage the delivery of quality health care. Prior to that she was the Director of Development at Planned Parenthood Southern Nevada, an Event Manager at MGM Resorts International and a Regional Campaign Associate at the National Jewish Fund in Cleveland.
She offers sophisticated approaches to developing and implementing programs, advocacy and fundraising as well as providing visionary leadership.
While Alexandra may be new to Melbourne, she is not new to Jewish philanthropy and communal service. Throughout her career, Alexandra has been a Board Member of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Co-Chair Camp Committee for the Jewish Community Centre, a Council Member of the Women’s Philanthropy Council for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas and is a Past Chair of Jewish Emerging Leaders Jewish Federation of Las Vegas.
Commenting on her appointment, Alexandra P. Silver said: “My desire to join NCJWA Vic is based on the belief that I can bring both my professional and personal experiences to the table and help guide the organisation to reach new heights as we build upon the rich history and foundation it has already achieved.”
“The mission of NCJWA Vic is more important than ever given the unprecedented times we find ourselves living in. Women have been hardest hit by the current world scenario and I intend to ensure that NCJWA Vic protects the rights of those who need their voices lifted and supports women of all ages during these most challenging of times.”
“Alexandra is strongly aligned to what NCJWA Vic stands for and the board looks forward to working with her and her team to develop a strong future for NCJWA Vic,” Miriam Bass said.
If you have missed our Mina Fink 2020 Lecture (or want to watch it again) - the recording is now available on our YouTube channel.
Our Mina Fink 2020 Lecture included the special guest speaker Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Hear about Phumzile’s journey as an advocate for women and why education is so critical in achieving gender equality.
The Mina Fink Lecture honours the late Mina Fink z’l and addresses topics relevant to women, education and Israel. We are thrilled to have Mina’s grandson, Mark Regev, International Spokesperson, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom 2016 to 2020 and a former Advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister, join us from Israel. He spoke about his relationship with his grandmother and her relationship with Israel.
This special event was be facilitated by Rebecca Davis, Features Editor, The Australian Jewish News.
Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC) has chosen NCJWA Vic to partner on a special research project. In a statement released earlier this month, the ACJC revealed with much excitement: “We are delighted to announce a major new initiative to facilitate research into gender issues in the Australian Jewish community”.
An interdisciplinary team of Monash researchers will partner with our organisation on a project “exploring issues of gender equity, inclusiveness and safety in Jewish communal organisations”.
This exciting research will support the ongoing implementation of our Advocacy Subcommittee’s campaign #MakeSpaceForHer, which was launched in July 2019.
“It is particularly timely in light of a recent investigation by the Australian Jewish News, which revealed startling levels of gender-based discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment in Jewish communal organisations” [ACJC].
This research project is part of a new ACJC initiative The Kerryn Baker Memorial Endowment for Gender Research, which has been established thanks to a gift from the Pratt Foundation and other benefactors. Fiona Geminder, a Pratt Foundation Family Trustee, said "Supporting the promotion of equal involvement by women is a gender issue, but it matters to the whole Jewish community".
NCJWA Vic President, Miriam Bass, said “We are honoured that the ACJC chose NCJWA Vic to partner with them for the inaugural Kerryn Baker Memorial Endowment for Gender Research project. This research will provide the evidence base from which to develop and grow our advocacy work, enabling us, more effectively, to increase women's participation in leadership roles within communal organisations and to enhance the visibility of women in the Jewish community."
Thank you, ACJC, for choosing to work with NCJWA Vic on this important issue.
The Annual General Meetings of The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) Inc. and NCJW (Victoria) Community Services Inc will be held on Thursday 27th August 2020, starting at 7.30pm.
The meetings are open to all Members of The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) Inc.
Please see the following documentation for your review prior to the Annual General Meetings:
Information regarding those nominating for Board member positions will be forwarded prior to the meeting.
Due to the online nature of the meeting, new methods will be utilised to allow financial members’ participation in the business of the meeting.
Members will be able to submit questions prior to the meeting by email to Lee Ann Basser, CEO at email@example.com or during the meeting through the Zoom Q&A box.
There are two options for financial members to cast their votes on the resolutions, either:
Please register online, or call 9523 0535, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to attend. You will receive a link to join the meeting with your confirmation of registration.
A new group of volunteers recently completed the Caring Mums training. For the first time, training was shifted mid-way; from face-to-face to Zoom. Nonetheless, the volunteers felt connected and developed strong bonds with each other.
One of our new volunteers, Leeora, shares her meaningful experience.
"As my life returns to its previous rhythm, I am already feeling the sting of losing twelve animated faces on my screen. Two weeks into our program, just enough time to establish my preferred seat in the room, our training and many other details that fill out a day, came to a halt. I was feeling deflated. I had waited some time for a vacancy in my life to join Caring Mums. The timing of this training could not have been better suited, wedged between completing my studies and ending a few days before a planned family trip, it all seemed to be stacking neatly.
When COVID-19 arrived on our shores, there was a suggestion of our program going online, but how would this translate? Our training while instructional was also inclusive and dynamic, it needed our bodies in the room. I admit, I had previously been the first to sneer at those professing the good times they had with friends on Zoom. An online platform seemed inimical to forging genuine connection and group conversation. After a trial conversation on Zoom the group decided to try to meet online. Emerging needs for new mums in lockdown was becoming known, we just needed to adapt and move swiftly with this sweep of change.
Fast forward two months and my cursor lingers on the leave conversation button. Yes, there were hitches, but no more than I have experienced in a conventional meeting. I suspect it was more than the urgent call to support mums in this new reality that made my virtual training succeed. I felt held by an excellent coordinator whose empathy even seeped through the screen. I was part of group of volunteers brave enough to have their role play be critiqued online. We showed up, despite our digital hesitancy and connected. The learnings from this training are still surfacing. My main take away from this time with Caring Mums is that even in this time of narrowing in, I am sitting with this this feeling of possibility and connection."
X Leeora, New Caring Mums Volunteer
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