The Council of Jewish Women of Uruguay was founded in 1966 by two visionary women, Clarita Pelenur and Dora Prusky with the support and help of Dr. Rosita de Herczeg. They immediately affiliated to the International Council of Jewish Women.
From the very beginning, the objectives aimed to train and organize voluntary work as well as fostering community awareness in the area of education, childhood, the elderly, health and welfare, human rights and environmental protection and to increase our relations with other institutions, both Jewish and non Jewish.
We are working to improve status of women, making no political or religious discrimination; we fully adhere to the general objectives of the International Council of Jewish Women.
The first project was at the State National Children’s Hospital, “Pereyra Rossell” in the Department Family Planning. In 1970 we co-founded the “Ladies in Pink”, a Volunteer Service in the biggest State Hospital in Uruguay, and the first volunteer service in Hospitals in the country. The Ladies in Pink grew from the 9 members who started the service to being now about 350 volunteers, and the idea has been implemented in three more State Hospitals. We feel proud that this service has been a model of inspiration for other volunteer groups in the country.
We were also instrumental in forming another volunteer service in the State Psychiatric Hospital. Our volunteers worked in the pharmaceuticals bank in another State Hospital, Pedro Visca, and at the centre for laryngectomized patients. We also support the Jewish Home for the Elderly celebrating the residents’ birthdays every month and organizing entertainment events.
Every year we donate sheets and towels to Jewish families in need and in Rosh Hashana food baskets. We collect and donate medicines for our community pharmacy as well as clothes for State Hospitals and for the Social Service of the Jewish Community. During the winter vacation we take children from needy non Jewish families to the movies and then for a snack. Toys are donated to children with cancer in one of our State Hospitals.
Our latest project in the Jewish Home for the Elderly is Doar, which means ‘mail’ in Hebrew. Our volunteers go once every fortnight to the home, and help the residents get in touch by email with their children and other relatives who live abroad. It has proved to be an excellent project to make this people feel much closer to those they love and might be so far away.
We run a community closet called Meili which they stock with donated coats for the needy, and a community group for handicapped Jewish people, to whom they donate clothes, toys, and electrical appliances.
Two new projects started in 2018 were Abrigo con Amor, meaning Sheltered with Love, which involves knitting scarves to be donated to needy people such as street cleaners, and supporting research into cancer by Dr. Cecilia Castillo and Prof. Frydman from the Tel Hashomer Hospital of Israel, who are analyzing different markers found in Ashkenazi people in Uruguay.
The group Dor Hemshej runs the Shalom Bayit program, to create awareness and prevent domestic violence. We also have a project to support public schools in the area which bear the name of the State of Israel or of important Jewish personalities. We are involved in many activities for these schools, taking groups of children to the Holocaust Museum, and sponsoring their Israeli dancing lessons, and making various donations to improve the quality of their education.