The New Bedford Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women celebrates its 95th anniversary on June 27, 2010 with a dinner at Ahavath Achim. The Archives and Special Collections at the Claire T. Carney Library, which preserves the archival records of the chapter in its Archives of the Center for Jewish Culture, assisted with the celebration by preparing an exhibit of historical documents, photographs and newspaper clippings.
The New Bedford Chapter of the NCJW was was formed in February 1915 by a group of 31 women who met at the home of Mrs. William Beserosky. Mrs. Harry Lumiansky was elected the first president. This was during World War I, so naturally early projects focused on helping soldiers and those displaced by war. Members rolled bandages, knitted and sold War Bonds. They also supplied relief funds for Jews in Europe by sending financial assistance to Zionist organizations in Jerusalem. During World War II the local council provided help to the Red Cross, the U.S.O., The Blood Bank, and raised funds by selling War Bonds. After the wars, and over the years, council projects included the Ship-A Box program, which shipped toys to Israel, Medical Loan Chest, which provided medical equipment to those in need, and a scholarship program. Council also provided assistance to the New Bedford Mental Health Clinic, Sol-E-Mar Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, and Hebrew University Secondary School in Israel, among others. According to the current president, Rachel Levinson, “there isn’t anything we haven’t done.”