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Nancy K. Kaufman
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Nancy K. Kaufman is the chief executive officer of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

Kaufman has had a distinguished career as a public servant, advocate, and non-profit leader. Prior to joining NCJW, Kaufman served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Boston for twenty years, where she led the social justice, Israel advocacy, and governmental affairs agendas for Boston’s Jewish Federation and its agencies and Jewish communal organizations. She has also held a variety of positions related to health and human services delivery in state and local government and in the nonprofit sector, including being founding executive director of a community action agency and working for the Dukakis administration as deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Social Policy, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, and deputy commissioner of the Welfare Department for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Kaufman is a graduate of Brandeis University and received an MSW in community organization and social planning from the Boston College School of Social Work, as well as a mid-career Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is also a recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Northeastern University. Among other honors, she received an award for Greatest Contribution to Social Policy from the National Association of Social Workers in 1980, the Alumni Achievement Award from Brandeis University in 2002, and the Woman of Valor Award in 2007 from the Jewish Funds for Justice.

Entries by Nancy K. Kaufman

The Fourth Quarter

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2015 | 2:10 PM

President Obama is known to be a basketball fan and has referred to the last two years of his eight-year term as the fourth quarter. The analogy doesn't work too well because in the game of Washington politics, the teams change rosters every two years. What stays constant, however, is...

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Save Women's Lives - End the Helms Overreach

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 11:32 AM

Americans who pay attention to the reports of rape as a tool of war in ongoing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East react with understandable horror. We recoil as well to reports of gang rapes in India and the high incidence of rape in South Africa, even as we...

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Liberty, Justice, and Inclusion for All

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 2:42 PM

February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month, intended to help the Jewish community intensify its ongoing efforts to include persons with disabilities fully in Jewish communal life. That means ensuring that our social agencies embrace persons with disability with suitable programs and assistance, that our schools accommodate children with disabilities, including...

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Answering the Call: Pursuing Justice

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 11:21 AM

Celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday pays due respect to someone who "answered the call" and dedicated his life to extending the American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice for African Americans and countless other individuals who are too often overlooked....

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Reproductive Justice -- Mainstreaming a Radical Vision

(3) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 1:54 PM

It is easy for defenders of women's rights to feel we have been on a long forced march since Roe v. Wade, trying to preserve our gains against increasing attack year by year. Unlike other civil rights advances, the right of women to control their bodies has received very little...

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Promote the Vote, Protect the Vote

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 1:42 PM

In the 2000 presidential election, scenes of long lines, reports of malfunctioning voting equipment, and complaints that those turned away had no recourse together spurred a bipartisan coalition to pass the 2002 Help America Vote Act. Voting rights advocates, members of Congress, and the president came together in response to...

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How States Can Help End Trafficking

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 3:44 PM

The idea of trafficking in humans calls up images of the slave trade in the 17th and 18th century, of immigrants lured into forced labor and prostitution during the great wave of immigration and the early twentieth century and of mobsters violating the Mann Act, which forbids taking persons across...

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Welcoming Children to Our Land

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 4:33 PM

We are instructed in the Hebrew bible, the Torah, to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Those teachings are being put to the test with the recent influx to our country of more than 40,000 mostly Central American children seeking refuge from violence and poverty. As...

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Abortion Coverage and the Affordable Care Act

(4) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 12:17 PM

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) accomplished many wonderful things for women. It eliminated gender bias in insurance, required preventive screening without co-pays, and made family planning services part of a standard health insurance package. It did not, however, change the status quo that stigmatizes and marginalizes abortion, given that it...

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It's Time to Upgrade the Family and Medical Leave Act

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 1:28 PM

When the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law, there was much rejoicing. After all, it took more than nine years for those of us pushing for passage to prevail. A landmark bill, the FMLA provides up to three months of job-protected leave to workers taking...

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Driving the Point Home: Judges Matter

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 11:58 AM

As the Supreme Court winds up its term and issues what will likely be several controversial decisions, we are again reminded of the importance of our third branch of government. Too many Americans don't fully grasp how their daily lives can be impacted by the Supreme Court, to say nothing...

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Passover, Liberation, and Modern Day Slavery

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 1:11 PM

This week, Jews across the globe are celebrating the holiday of Passover. As we gathered with friends and family around the seder table, we recalled the bitterness of our slavery in Egypt and celebrated our liberation and subsequent freedom. But, through the retelling of our history as slaves, we are...

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Health Care - Making Progress

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 3:12 PM

You rarely see headlines such as "Federal Food Aid Saves Millions," or "Unemployment Insurance Rescues Homeowners" or "Social Security Ends Poverty for the Aging." Government programs that work don't make news. So when you hear news about the Affordable Care Act, it is usually about the glitches, the dislocations or...

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Championing Coverage

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 10:16 AM

Let's say you've always supported having a national health plan that extends coverage to as many people as possible. Or, maybe you have health coverage at work and so haven't paid all that much attention to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Maybe you desperately need coverage, but...

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The State of the Union Is the State of America's Women

(2) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 1:56 PM

If recent messaging from the White House is any indication, inequality may well be a key theme in the State of the Union speech this week. This much-anticipated speech is the only event in the political calendar that gives the president an opportunity to lay out his priorities for the...

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Left Behind

(4) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 4:39 PM

With all eyes on the roll-out of the online exchanges (also called marketplaces) set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), too little attention has been given to those who could get coverage through Medicaid expansion, if only states would adopt it. As it stands now, an estimated

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Sequester Shenanigans

(5) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 8:37 AM

The federal budget for fiscal year 2013 expires September 30, and a new one is nowhere in sight. The arbitrary and capricious cuts of the sequester begun in March are slated to continue for ten years unless Congress acts. The national debt ceiling must be raised in mid-October, and a...

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Restoring the Right to Vote

(1) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 1:04 PM

There's a funny thing about anniversaries -- just as we look back with nostalgia on the way things were, too, do we inevitably reflect on how things have changed in the intervening years. So it is as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and...

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Don't Cut Social Security Benefits!

(2) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 2:47 PM

The best anti-poverty program we have ever had just turned 78, and many in Congress as well as the president want to cut its essential benefits. At a time when millions were near starvation during the depths of the Depression, the U.S. adopted the system of social insurance we know...

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Lifting the Lamp: A Plea for Just Immigration Reform

(11) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 1:56 PM

Emma Lazarus' famous words of 1883, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free .... I lift my lamp beside the golden door," came to symbolize a vision of a nation welcoming the destitute and persecuted. But it represented only one strain of...

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