Skip To Content
Forward 50 2012

Nancy Kaufman

In the less than two years since she grabbed the reins of the National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Kaufman, 61, has injected energy and purpose into the venerable organization. Her native Boston accent is still strong, but Kaufman is now playing on the national stage, using her network of 90,000 members and supporters to advocate for the progressive causes that have long animated her career.

Before joining NCJW, Kaufman had worked in state government and then ran the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston for two decades, deftly cultivating relationships with other community groups and weaving concerns about social justice into Jewish activism. She’s now applying that approach to NCJW — by partnering, for instance, with Catholics for Choice to push for reproductive rights in the framework of religious liberty. NCJW also mounted a nationwide voter education campaign through many of its 88 chapters, with the aim of encouraging women to “promote the vote, protect the vote.”

Kaufman is now positioning NCJW to become a major platform for training women leaders and championing gender equality in the American Jewish community and in Israel. NCJW was founded in 1893 by Hannah G. Solomon, who famously complained that women volunteers were given nothing to do of substance at the Chicago World’s Fair and decided to do something about it. Kaufman is continuing in Solomon’s feisty tradition, making sure her voice is heard — with a strong chorus behind it.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.