The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is 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.
“Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:18). This clarion call to action has resonated with the Jewish people for centuries, and is the guiding imperative of National Council of Jewish Women.
What makes NCJW unique and extraordinarily effective in the universe of social justice organizations? We are about advancing social change through a faith-based Jewish lens, bringing together activists across generations and across the country. We create alliances and provide leadership both within the Jewish community and across all faiths and racial and ethnic groups to give voice to our common causes.
As the first and most progressive Jewish women’s organization in the United States, NCJW is and has always been a leading voice for justice in the United States. Throughout our storied history, we have been dedicated to improving the quality of life for women, children, and families, and to safeguarding individual rights and freedoms both in the U.S. and Israel.
In 1893, Hannah G. Solomon of Chicago was asked to organize the participation of Jewish women in the Chicago World’s Fair. When Solomon and her recruits discovered that participation was not substantive, but would consist of pouring coffee and other hostess duties, they walked out. Solomon then took matters into her own hands, building on the courageous action and volunteer work she had been leading for years. By the end of the World’s Fair, Solomon and the accompanying delegate body of women had founded the National Council of Jewish Women, changing forever the role of Jewish women and the nature of volunteerism.
In every decade since then, NCJW has prioritized the most pressing issues of the moment – from providing for the needs of immigrant women and children in the early 1900s, to more recent struggles combating sex trafficking and promoting equal pay for women, voting rights, advocating for a fair and independent judiciary, immigrant rights and protecting reproductive health, rights and justice.
Today, after more than a century, we are 90,000 strong, with 62 sections in 28 states.