The National Council of Jewish Woman or NCJW, was originally created in Chicago, Illinois during the 1893 World Fair. Under the leadership of Hannah G. Solomon, the organization quickly spread across the United States. Eventually a section was established in Tampa, Florida in 1924 under Mrs. Sarah Brash (Mrs. Henry Brash in most records).
Over the years, the National Council of Jewish Women, Tampa Section, played an increasingly important role in community affairs surrounding the city and Jewish identity. Lectures were held for members, which were given by professors of the University of Tampa and later on the University of South Florida along with the members of the Florida government. Topics ranging for world politics to women’s influence were presented. As the organization grew, projects were created, allowing for these women to help their community at large.
Projects such as Ship-A-Box, Tay-Sachs Disease Prevention, and the Hillsborough Guidance Center were established and supported. A Tonsillectomy project was organized to raise funds for children in need of surgeries. An eye screening project was organized for preschool aged students in order to establish whether they needed glasses. A women’s help center was established in order to teach those in need of important skills that would eventually make them successful.
The National Council of Jewish Women also was massive influence when it came to immigration. Immigration was always an important role taken on by the organization, but its importance seemed to shift with the course of global events. During and immediately after World War Two, women in NCJW helped incoming Jewish refugees establish themselves in the Tampa Bay area, making sure that they were making progress with their citizenship papers and finding friends and family to help support them through the massive changes they were encountering. Later on, during the sixties and later on the eighties, NCJW as a whole was outspoken on the treatment of Jews in the USSR, encouraging the U.S. to offer support to families who wanted to be reunited.
To account for the funds they would need as an organization, the Tampa Section of NCJW held an array of fundraisers throughout the year. They would hold themed banquets for their members or hold events at local museums. Most of this money was then in turn donated to various projects that NCJW worked with. The Tampa Section also established a thrift store for the community as another way to raise money. Members of NCJW were encouraged to volunteer as much as possible and various clothes drives were held so that the thrift shop was always open and functioning. Eventually, after years of benefitting the community its doors were closed in the late eighties.
Despite NCJW Tampa Section’s influence on the community, nothing exists of it anymore. For almost eighty years, from its creation in 1924 to its last known event in 2004, the Tampa section of NCJW helped women, children, immigrants, and the Jewish community. Money was donated to local museums, mental health institutions, and women’s centers in order to ensure that the community was given the best possible chance of becoming successful and prosperous.