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Nancy K. Kaufman
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

Obama's New Immigration Policies Must Be Upheld

(23) Comments | Posted April 18, 2016 | 4:00 PM


Once again, immigration policy has taken a front seat in our nation's policy debates. The focus of much misleading and even hateful campaign rhetoric, the fight over changes in immigration policy proposed by President Obama has now landed in the US Supreme...

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Renew Help to Homeless Youth

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2016 | 9:22 PM

Every day across the country, youth run away from home, are kicked out, become orphans, or exit the juvenile justice or child welfare system with nowhere to go. The number of homeless teens in the US has more than doubled since 2007, and today, they number more than 1.6 million....

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Courts Matter, Judges Matter

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 3:06 PM

The recent anniversary of Roe v. Wade reminds us of the enormous legal progress made by women in the U.S. over the last five decades. Along with Brown v. Board of Education, which marked the beginning of the end of racial segregation, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which established marriage equality,...

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Lighting the Way to Health Care

(1) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 11:53 AM

For what seems like the umpteenth time, Congress recently voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. This time, the majority threw in defunding Planned Parenthood for good measure. The horror in Colorado Springs appears to have had little impact on the anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-Obamacare campaign. These two agenda...

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Religious Liberty and Restoring Access to Abortion

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 4:07 PM

Representative Henry Hyde of Chicago made his intentions clear in 1977 when he proposed a ban on funding abortion services with federal money. "I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only...

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The Disgraceful State of Judicial Nominations

(9) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 11:42 AM

The first Monday in October marks the beginning of a new term for the U.S. Supreme Court and a good time to reflect on the state of the nation's judicial branch of government. This year the capacity of the federal court system to keep up with its caseload is seriously...

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Concealed Carry on Colleges Campuses: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

(5) Comments | Posted September 5, 2015 | 11:20 AM

As college students head off to classes, the topic of sexual violence is back in the limelight and efforts to deal with it will once again be front and center. Those of us who matured in an earlier era are appalled to learn that such violence is a significant problem...

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Reflections on the Anniversary of Medicare

(1) Comments | Posted July 31, 2015 | 6:49 PM

The 50th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid on July 30 celebrates programs that have made an incredible difference in the lives of millions, particularly women. While the programs share a birthday, they are different in important ways that make Medicare far more stable and secure than Medicaid....

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Nailing Exploitation

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 2:18 PM

The New York Times exposé of nail salons and their exploitation of immigrant women workers in New York City cannot come as a complete shock. Aspects of it exceed the worst suspicions - not being paid at all for three months' work? Paying a fee (a bribe?) to an employer...

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End Hyde and Make Abortion Accessible to All

(36) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 5:30 PM

In the first three months of 2015, state legislatures have introduced nearly 800 provisions related to reproductive health -- more than 40 percent of which would restrict access to abortion.

This dangerous trend is nothing new. Onerous regulation of abortion clinics, restrictions on abortion procedures, waiting periods,...

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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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