The NCJW Utah Section was established in 1940 by Corinne Sweet, a descendent of the Sweet Candy Company family. Esther Landa, national NCJW president from 1975-1979, was among the first to join and says, “Whatever Corinne did, we followed. We affectionately called her the Madam.” During World War II, the local Jewish community cooked and served Sabbath and holiday meals for Jewish soldiers stationed at Hill Air Force Base. In the late 1940s, the Utah Section was interested in legislative action and helped settle wartime refugees in Salt Lake City. For many years, the NCJW had a domestic agenda, concerned with issues still relevant today- women and children’s health, women’s rights and education. The local section was known as the Council.
After the 1967 War in Israel, the NCJW Board sent a mission to Israel. Esther Landa, then a board member, was among those to go. A subsequent visit by the Israeli Minister of Education to the U.S. led to the HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters); program; Hillary Clinton later adapted it for Arkansas. Esther introduced the Head Start program to Utah. The NCJW worked unsuccessfully to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
NCJW programs now include social events such as a ski day at Alta and book club, and service activities such as the Chanukah luncheon, Passover Seder and Tikkun Olam Project for the homeless, elderly and refugees. NCJW partners with Planned Parenthood on health issues and advocates before both the Utah legislature and Congress. NCJW Utah Section is always looking for ways to expand our mission to promote Jewish values, service, and culture.