THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
“Despair is not a strategy.”
Public servant, advocate, author and non-profit leader. Former CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Boston. Served 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 during the Dukakis administration. 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. Recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Northeastern University. Among other honors, 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.
Interviewed by Judy Waxman, May 2022
Photo 1. From left, Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women; Rabbi Tamara Cohen, chief of innovation at Moving Traditions and Debbie Hoffmann, NCJW’s board president, at the National Mall for the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017. (Photo by Ron Sachs). Photo 2. Nancy Kaufman, former CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women (USA), as the 2019 Dr. Fanny Reading orator. Nancy discussed the issue of Jewish Social Justice in the Era of Trump and presented the challenges of a Jewish feminist activist in the USA context.