In Memoriam: Light Two Candles

Henry Howard a fearless feminist, rockstar reproductive rights advocate and a dear friend shared his poem Light Two Candles at our April 2019 #MeToo event from his most recent book. He offered his book for sale, and in true Henry fashion, he donated the proceeds to our NOW chapter.

We are forever thankful, and we’ll miss you.

Light Two Candles

As Hannukah sends forth its light
To roll back the darkness in our lives,
Light two candles to drive away the shadows
In men’s and women’s lives.

Light one candle for the courage of women,
Who have lit their own way forward to the future.
Light one candle for the men in their lives
Who have shared the long and winding road,
Not leading the way, but walking as partners side by side.

Light one candle for every woman,
In the silence of sexual harassment or abuse,
Who is silent no more,
And whose steadfast voice
Shakes her chains of bondage loose.

Light one candle for every man
Who refuses to hide in an ivory tower,
And use gender or position
To make women cower.

Light one candle for every woman
Who speaks truth to power,
To call forth the power of Sisterhood.
And light one candle for every man
Who gives up his false power
To free both sexes—if he only would.

Light two candles side by side
For the bravest of both sexes who walk together,
Talk together, understand together,
And with one voice, as women and men,
Shout down the darkness with two little words:

~ Henry Howard

Not Always

My Mom nearly died with her first baby
Misplaced deep in Mom’s insides
Mom’s life was saved with an abortion
And that choice was very hard

Mom’s parents never forgave her
My Dad was rarely by Mom’s side

That taught me, choices aren’t always easy
Though they’re not always hard
And their cost is high
But it’s none of our business

Too many people judging
Cruel in their hearts

Mom lived a sad life
Mom, too many people judged you
None of them understanding
Love that we all need

And she lost her first child
That just had to be

All of us Mom’s five children
Tried our best to bring back Mom’s heart’s spring
But she taught me that choices aren’t always easy
Though they’re not always hard
And their cost is high

To bring a smile to Mom’s tired heart
You know with time Mom’s smiles were easy

But in the end, it was tired and too hard
Some claimed she could have refused that abortion
Mom and we all would never live if she died
I know that choices aren’t always easy
Though they’re not always hard

Mom made the best choice she could
And Mom’s cost was high
It nearly cost all our lives
And Mom’s memory now sits awkward in my heart.

Millions of Americans are Victims of Domestic Violence

Millions of Americans are Victims of Domestic Violence at the Hands of a Partner.

Domestic violence and substance abuse share similar characteristics, according to a 2005 psychiatry journal article. Both forms of abuse involve loss of control, ongoing negative behaviors despite awareness of the consequences, excessive waste of time, blame shifting, denial, intensification of problem and promise of behavioral changes.

Women make up 85 percent of domestic abuse victims, and three out of four batterers are male, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Because of cultural norms, society holds intoxicated women accountable for being victims of domestic abuse, according to studies. The stigma surrounding women who use substances also desensitizes the gravity of sexual abuse against them.

The Cycle of Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse may act as a catalyst for domestic violence.

According to ASAM, 40 to 60 percent of domestic abuse cases involve substance abuse. More than 20 percent of male abusers admit to engaging in substance use before their involvement in domestic violence. Physical abuse is 11 times more likely to occur on days when the perpetrator engaged in alcohol or drug abuse.

According to the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence of New York, 92 percent of male batterers use substances the day they assault their female partners, and 30 to 40 percent of male batterers consume alcohol while assaulting their partners.

Alcohol is associated with domestic violence in men, but there isn’t enough evidence to prove that alcohol causes the violence. Researchers have argued that heavy drinking might be an excuse for violent behaviors. A majority of people who use substances do not engage in domestic violence; however, a large number of batterers abuse substances.

Domestic abuse among spouses may result in the development of substance use disorders, per ASAM. Abusive men tend to pressure their female partners to use drugs and alcohol. In fact, women in abusive relationships have more incidences of substance abuse than women in non-abusive relationships. Similarly, expectant mothers in abusive relationships are more likely to use substances of abuse before and during pregnancy than pregnant women who aren’t exposed to violence.

Women who are in abusive relationships are also less likely to seek help for substance use disorders. In some cases, the batterers may threaten to hurt or kill their partners if they seek medical help.

Treatment for Domestic Abuse Cases

Domestic violence should be treated as a co-occurring disorder during substance abuse treatment. To provide effective treatment, health providers should understand the root of the violence and deliver sufficient therapy for the victim.

First aid providers need to ensure that victims are safe and that they have access to authorities and shelters in their community. The victims can then receive co-occurring treatment for substance abuse and domestic violence. Treatment may include detoxing from a substance, counseling sessions and support groups.

Batterers require a specific approach to avoid fueling their anger toward their victim. An effective way to deal with a violent abuser includes providing help immediately after the attack. The batterer typically associates the period after an episode of domestic abuse with guilt and promises of change — a prime time for them to be receptive to treatment.

Treating substance abuse and domestic violence simultaneously typically produces the best results. One study revealed that treating a person’s alcohol disorder decreased their violent tendencies. Before alcohol abuse treatment, 56 percent of male study participants admitted to being violent. Only 25 percent were violent a year after they started treatment.

Health care professionals should understand the implications of substance abuse and domestic violence on the couple’s children and family. The goal of treatment is to provide batterers and victims with the care that they need to resume a healthy and substance-free life.


Zilberman, M.L. & Blume, S.B. (2005, October). Domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse. Retrieved from

Soper, R. G. (2014, October 6). Intimate Partner Violence and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse/Addiction. Retrieved from

Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. (n.d.). Understanding Domestic Abusers. Retrieved from

Dawgert, S. (2009). Substance Use and Sexual Violence. Retrieved from

NCJW|LA with Justice Organizations Lead Rally to Protect Reproduction Rights

The constant call of 2017 has been rally, take action. Michelle Obama told us during her last official White House speech, “Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be empowered.”

On the eve of the inauguration, National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW|LA) and reproductive health and justice organizations will do just that by leading a Rally to Save Roe. They will demonstrate the commitment to uphold the right to abortion established 44 years ago in the historic 1973 Supreme Court Case, Roe vs. Wade.

The event brings together notable speakers and inspiring performances. After the powerful rally, the community of organizations will provide advocacy training to give attendees practical tools to put beliefs into action in their community. Additionally, there will be opportunities and supplies for the public to make signs in preparation for the March for Women in LA on January 21.

Confirmed speakers:

  • State Senator Holly Mitchell
  • LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
  • Juana Rosa Cavero, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
  • Councilmember Lindsey Horvath
  • Hector Villagra, ACLU of Southern California
  • Hillary Selvin, National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles
  • Remy Holwick
  • Marcie Smolin (MC)

Join NCJW|LA 25+ co-sponsoring organizations as they Rally to Save Roe, a rally, and training to defend women’s reproductive rights in America. The rally will begin at 5:30 PM and will be on Fairfax Ave. between Clinton St. and Rosewood Ave.

These are some of our confirmed sponsors.

  • National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles (host)
  • ACLU of Southern California
  • Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
  • Black Women for Wellness (BWW)
  • California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF)
  • California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ)
  • California NOW
  • California Women’s Law Center (CWLC)
  • City of West Hollywood
  • City of West Hollywood, Women’s Advisory Board
  • Congregation Kol Ami
  • Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Hollywood NOW
  • L.A. for Choice
  • Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
  • NARAL Pro-Choice California
  • National Health Law Program (NHeLP)
  • Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA)
  • Planned Parenthood Young Professionals (PPYP)
  • Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC/URJ)
  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC)
  • San Gabriel Valley NOW
  • Temple Israel of Hollywood
  • Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
  • Together We Will Los Angeles (TWWLA)
  • Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP)

For more information check out the Facebook event at:







Letter to My Fierce Fighting Women Warriors

Hi, my fierce fighting women warriors. Like you, I am shocked, saddened, disbelieving, heartbroken, worried…did I say shocked?

Fortunately, I did some reading (HuffPost, Facebook, etc.) love/peace/belief/strength posts; heartfelt messages with friends…and I came to work to find realistic, tough, inspirational words from Pat Reuss, who sends the group email for NOW leaders. I will share these with you in the hope that it gives us strength for the fight ahead. Also, Russell Allan Johnson sent his sympathies and the hope that we can find responsible Republicans to work within the government. Hope springs eternal.

My feeling is that now more than ever, I am so proud to be president of our chapter, and I promise to do all I can going forward to make NOW, and women’s equality and rights, a reality in our lifetime and to secure its place after that as well! I have never been more galvanized to make a change, to make a difference, and we have momentum on our side. I want us to launch a membership drive for people of all ages to join and create change, and I want to have fundraisers for the many organizations, including NOW, that will need support.

With love and sisterhood, and the knowledge that we can do this, just as our foremothers in the suffragette movement did. ONWARD!


I Voted Early, and This is What Happened to Me

At the Amelia Earhart Library in North Hollywood the line to vote early snaked around the park behind the library. How long would I wait wondered and almost left? Instead of leaving I joined the longest line I ever joined.

I stared at the array of people – grandmothers, bun-sporting hipsters, mothers with children in tow, women, couples patting tired pit bulls, partners delivering coffee to mates, professionals typing away on Macs, same-sex couples, and even a celebrity wondering when her number would be called — it hit me. Committed voters gathered, and the majority of them were women.

The reasons for early voting varied, but for one day that turned into night, we came together. Many of the women said they were voting now to vote for the next women president. They didn’t want to miss it. Some, particularly older voters, never imagined a day when a woman would run for president.

As we waited in line, good Samaritans handout out water and leftover over Halloween candy. At one point, a sign on a tree indicated that the wait was two hours from that point. Some folks stepped out of line when reaching this point, but overall the rate was low.

Once a voter checked in for the early voting in North Hollywood, the voter waited for her number. All waiting voters had been waiting well over three hours and yet no one seemed angry or upset in any way.

The temperature dropped, but the energy in the crowd did not wane. As the poll workers brought out packets ready for anticipating people, numbers were called – just like a lottery. People yelped and cheered as when they heard their number and finally the delay to cast a ballot.

We waited so long. People struck up conversations with those waiting directly next to them. We were friends by proximity. We talked about our jobs, our family, and all other topics just to pass the time. We understood casting our ballot was important, so the delay was of minor importance.

When my number 3648 was called I too felt I had won. With my ballot in hand, I walk to the voting booth take part in the process and if all falls into place make history.

San Gabriel Valley-Whitter – NOW supports domestic violence programs

Our chapter has just donated $200 to each of the following local domestic violence shelters:
WINGS (YMCA San Gabriel Valley)

Home page
Home page

Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter, Whittier
Angels Step Inn, Emergency Shelter, Downey

Su Casa, Long Beach
Good Shepherd Shelter, Los Angeles
Supporting shelters for survivors of domestic violence is part of the chapter’s core mission. Every year the Chapter donated 10% of the profits of its yard sale to WINGS, and it has made significant contributions to the Whittier shelter as well. This year we are happy to extend our support to other shelters that work to end domestic violence.
SGV/Whittier- NOW no longer conducts annual yard sales, but still raises funds by collecting and reselling furniture and gently-used clothing in good condition. Contact Jackie Riley or Darby Mangen if you would like to make a donation.

San Gabriel Valley-Whittier Now Stands with Planned Parenthood

San Gabriel-Whittier Valley NOW (SGVN NOW) has just donated again to Planned Parenthood to help it fight the latest round of attacks against it. On September 18, the House of Representatives voted to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s preventive health care services, including breast cancer screening, for the millions of women across the nation who depend on them. Legislatures in five states have actually defunded Planned Parenthood after a video made by the “Center for Medical Progress” purported to show that the organization is selling fetal tissue for profit.

On September 22, the bill failed to get the 60 votes required to advance. The fight continues.

The “Center for Medical Progress,” an anti-choice group, secretly recorded the video and then “heavily edited and ‘significantly distort[ed] and misrepresent[ed] it,” according to Glenn Simpson, a partner at the research firm Fusion GPS, in a report submitted to the leadership in Congress. The mission of the Center for Medical Progress is to take away essential services, such as mammograms and birth control, and to ban abortion entirely.

SGVW NOW is a long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood; we will keep fighting for women’s health care.

Women’s Rights Museum Could Become Newest National Park

Fourteen female senators seek to designate the landmark Sewall-Belmont House.


WASHINGTON — Women who fought to earn their right to vote set the stage for a century of enfranchisement advocacy in the United States. The 14 Democratic women in the U.S. Senate introduced a bill on Thursday to designate the nation’s foremost museum of women’s suffrage as a national park.

If the bill passes, it would mean increased funding to pay for park rangers, expanded hours and crucial repairs to the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, D.C.

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