About 300 women from all over the United States are expected to attend the National Council of Jewish Women’s National Convention this month in Atlanta, and organizers are excited about the diverse backgrounds that will be represented at the event.
“It’s an opportunity with an amazing group of women who are so smart and so dedicated to social justice,” said Rachel Rosner, the president of NCJW’s Atlanta Section. “It’s really impressive to see so many talented women together in one place.”
The triennial convention, being held March 23 to 25 at the JW Marriott in Buckhead. has taken on an added dimension this year because of the women’s protests involving millions of people across the country after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The feeling of unity and the grassroots organizing of women created a momentum that organizers feel is building toward the convention, which has the theme of “Shaping the Future, Leading the Way.”
“We want to bring attention to issues,” said convention co-chair Janet Solitt, who is also a national vice president with NCJW.
The 47th National Convention has plenty of star power. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will be presented the Women Who Dared Award; she’s scheduled to accept by video speech rather than appear in person. Democratic Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta, who has taken a leading role in the opposition to Trump, will receive the Faith and Humanity Award in person and speak at the awards gala the final night of the conference.
“They’re inspiring,” Rosner said. “I hope they inspire women who are and aren’t members to take an interest in what we’re doing and feel inspired to help us with our projects.”
Local speakers include SOJOURN Executive Director Rebecca Stapel-Wax and the Center for Israel Education’s Rich Walter and Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser.
NCJW members will elect their national officers for the next three years; Atlanta’s Sue Tilis is nominated for treasurer.
Sessions on the schedule include activism, LGBTQ equality and Jewish-Islamic relations.
“We are very much looking to work with different segments of the population,” Solitt said. “We’ve seen Muslims and Jews working together recently, like when the Muslim community raised money and helped repair Jewish headstones that were damaged at a cemetery.”
The convention was originally slated for Miami, but concerns about the Zika virus led organizers last fall to decide to move the gathering to Georgia.
Registration for the convention is open to NCJW members and nonmembers for $675. Day passes are available for $200 for those interested in attending just a portion of the events. Registration and schedule details are available at convention.ncjw.org.
As the convention moves closer, Solitt reflected on what the organization and the event mean to women.
“I hope the women who attend feel they are not alone in wanting to make changes in their communities,” she said. “I want them to know they can all become advocates and that we all need to stand together do what’s right for our country.”