National Council of Jewish Women Deeply Concerned by Judicial Overhaul Plans in Israel

CONTACT: Jake Green,

National Council of Jewish Women Deeply Concerned by Judicial Overhaul Plans in Israel, Which Threaten Rights of Women, Arabs, LGBTQ+ People, Other Minorities

NATIONAL – As protests intensify for the fifth week in Israel, including by women’s groups, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed deep concern over proposals of the new Israeli government to undermine Israeli democracy and restrict the rights of women, Palestinians, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other minorities. NCJW CEO Sheila Katz issued the following statement:

“A fair and qualified judiciary is a crucial element of a healthy democracy where women, children, and families can thrive. But proposals from the new Israeli government seek to override the powers of Israel’s Supreme Court to review governmental actions and Knesset legislation and increase governmental influence over judicial appointments. Such an overhaul, paired with extremist proposals of members of the coalition government to restrict the rights of broad sectors of Israeli society — such as women, Arabs and the LGBTQ+ community — threatens the dignity, equity and justice of everyone in the region.

“The Israeli Supreme Court plays a major role in upholding the fundamental rights of all Israelis and has a long history of blocking legislation that conflicts with the Basic Laws of Israel. Judicial review in Israel secured the right of religious women to establish a mikve (ritual bath) in a secular town, protected African asylum seekers from indefinite detention and safeguarded childcare subsidies for Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) families. Without a strong, independent and impartial judiciary, women, children and families across the spectrum of Israeli society are likely to suffer dire consequences.

“NCJW hopes Israel will continue to maintain its thriving democracy and stands in solidarity with our partners on the ground who are organizing to stand up for the rights of all who would be affected by these so-called ‘reforms’. Israeli feminist groups held the first women’s protest against the judicial overhaul and other policy proposals that would harm gender equity on Sunday, February 5, in Tel Aviv, adding a distinct gender focus to the protest efforts of hundreds of thousands of Israelis over the past five weeks. NCJW urges the Israeli government to heed their call and safeguard the legal rights of Israeli women, children and families.”


National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), is the oldest Jewish feminist civil rights organization working for equity and justice for women, children and families in the United States and Israel. Through the efforts of our 210,000 grassroots advocates and 50 local sections, NCJW combines education, direct service and advocacy to affect lasting social change at the local, state and national levels. We approach our work through the intersections of gender, economic and racial justice to center those most impacted in a uniquely Jewish way. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

National Council of Jewish Women Raises Unprecedented $1 Million From the Jewish Community to Help Patients Access Abortion Care

The donations made to the Jewish Fund for Abortion Access, primarily by thousands of small-dollar donors, are going to help patients in the U.S. access care 

NATIONAL – Today, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) announced that its Jewish Fund for Abortion Access surpassed a million dollars in donated funds, which directly help thousands of patients navigate an increasingly complex abortion care landscape after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. These funds help patients who need immediate resources to cross state lines, stay at hotels, and pay for abortion care in partnership with the National Abortion Federation (NAF). The Fund, which NCJW planned in anticipation of the Court’s decision, is the first time that the 130-year-old organization has ever fundraised in support of a coordinated, movement-wide effort domestically. The million dollars the Fund has raised came primarily from thousands of small-dollar donations from individuals moved to help after the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer.

“This is a moral emergency. People in this country can’t access basic healthcare, including abortion, and we won’t stand idly by as more and more stumbling blocks are laid in front of patients” said Sheila Katz, CEO of National Council of Jewish Women. “We launched the Jewish Fund for Abortion Access to connect those most impacted by abortion bans with the emergency resources they need to receive reproductive healthcare. Jews believe in kavod habriot, the dignity of every human being, and full access to abortion is essential to uphold that dignity for all women and people who can become pregnant. We are so proud to see thousands of our community members donating what they can to support access to essential health care in a communally Jewish way. The Fund is a vehicle for people to turn their Jewish values of prioritizing health, pursuing justice, and showing up to take action into real-life, tangible impact.”

NCJW launched the Jewish Fund for Abortion Access in May 2022 after the leaked Dobbs decision alerted the public of the imminent fall of Roe. Instead of reinventing the wheel, NCJW wanted to direct funding to an established organization that could quickly get funds to patients that needed them the most. NAF runs the National Abortion Hotline, which helps patients from the beginning to the end of the abortion care process, ensures people seeking abortions get the care they deserve through its infrastructure to provide funding, guidance, and travel support for abortion care to patients anywhere in the country, including running the largest abortion hotline in the country.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generous support from NCJW with their Jewish Fund for Abortion Access,” said Melissa Fowler, chief program officer of National Abortion Federation. “Since the Dobbs decision, accessing abortion care has become exponentially more expensive as abortion bans force patients out of their home states for care. We have seen a significant increase in need for funding to cover travel related expenses, including flights, hotel accommodations, and food stipends for those traveling to access care. The Jewish Fund for Abortion Access helps make abortion care accessible to any patient who needs it, regardless of where they live or how much money they have.”

Over 90 percent of the more than 5,000 donations to the Jewish Fund for Abortion Access were $250 or less. A number of donors also organized creative fundraisers, raising thousands of dollars from their congregations and local communities for the cause. These efforts include:

  • In DC, Temple Sinai’s reproductive justice task force encouraged their congregation to donate to the Jewish Fund for Abortion Access, along with local abortion funds in anticipation of the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. The congregation raised $9,700 for the Fund.
  • Mara Jill Herman in New York organized the “Ruth Sent Us: A Benefit For Reproductive Justice” concert in honor of the late Jewish reproductive rights advocate, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, raising $3,000 for NCJW’s Fund. 
  • An LA Friendraiser, which was started during the pandemic by a group of friends working to support causes they believe in, organized an intergenerational effort that raised $36,000 for the Fund – largely from small-dollar gifts from college students that ranged from as little to $18 to as much as $5,000.

To schedule an interview with the National Council of Jewish Women or a donor that contributed to the Fund, contact Jake Green, To speak with the National Abortion Federation, contact


National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), is the oldest Jewish feminist civil rights organization working for equity and justice for women, children, and families in the United States and Israel. Through the efforts of our 210,000 grassroots advocates and 50 local sections, NCJW combines education, direct service, and advocacy to affect lasting social change at the local, state, and national levels. We approach our work through the intersections of gender, economic, and racial justice to center those most impacted in a uniquely Jewish way. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The National Abortion Federation is the nation’s leading professional association of abortion providers. NAF represents hundreds of providers and independent clinics across the country that are on the front lines of helping people access abortion care. NAF helps its members provide abortion care to any patient who needs it by offering security, training, and community support. They also operate the National Abortion Hotline, the largest national, multi-lingual abortion hotline in the U.S. Following the overturning of Roe, the National Abortion Hotline has become a critical tool for people seeking abortion care to get information and financial support. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Our statement on 303 Creative v. Elenis

WASHINGTON — As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case that could allow business owners to claim religious-based exemptions from civil rights and antidiscrimination laws,  National Council of Jewish Women Chief Policy Officer Jody Rabhan released the following statement:

“As Jews in America, we know intimately that the separation of religion and state is essential to our ability to live and thrive. Carving out a broad First Amendment exemption to Colorado’s antidiscrimination law would harm the very people this law was designed to protect. An exception for a business denying services to LGBTQ+ couples opens the door for businesses to refuse services to anyone with whom they disagree. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of discrimination, a videographer could refuse to film a Jewish marriage, a baker could refuse to make a cake for a Black customer, and a florist could refuse to create a bouquet for a single mother — all in the name of religion.

“We believe that religious freedom is a shield to protect our communities, not a sword to harm others. The few voices claiming a religious need to discriminate do not reflect the beliefs of the majority of people of faith in this country — those inspired to love their neighbor, not cast them aside.

“National Council of Jewish Women will continue to work in coalition with diverse religious and nonreligious advocates to advocate on behalf of our democratic principles, upon which this country was founded.”

# # #

Our Statement on the Israeli Election Results

November 3, 2022

Media Contact:
Jake Green,

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Israelis went to the polls for the fifth time in just under four years. With the results almost tallied, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) CEO Sheila Katz issued the following statement:

“National Council of Jewish Women believes in an Israel where all women, children and families should not just be able to exist, but thrive. And we know this will only be the case when policies center dignity, equity and justice for all Israelis — especially those at the margins of society, like women, Arabs and the LGBTQ+ community.

“We support the electoral process in Israel and respect the outcome of its elections. And, we are deeply concerned by the statements and ideologies of the parties that appear to be forming the next coalition government — particularly the anti-LGBTQ+, anti-women and anti-Arab rhetoric from the parties that make up the Religious Zionism Slate, including Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, the Noam party and the Religious Zionism party. NCJW will always stand up for justice, democracy and diplomacy, and we refuse to normalize racism, incitement or discrimination.

“NCJW stands in solidarity with our grassroots feminist partner organizations, leadership cohorts and advocacy coalitions who work tirelessly to advance gender justice and equity on the ground in Israel. We will continue working to advance the rights of women, children and families throughout Israeli society regardless of ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation until an equitable future is realized.”


NCJW Reacts to Independence Day Gun Violence

WASHINGTON — After the weekend’s massacre in Highland Park, IL, and other shooting incidents, National Council of Jewish Women CEO Sheila Katz released the following statement:

Once again, our country is touched by gun violence. We don’t yet know the true motives behind the Independence Day shooting in Highland Park, IL. But every indication is that hate was a driving factor. That hate, combined with easy access to guns, once again results in tragedy.

Yesterday was a day of unimaginable tragedy for a specific community, but as a nation, we seem resigned to allowing this to keep happening. We barely get over the shock of one mass shooting before the next occurs. And, that does not even cover the countless acts of gun violence that happen every day and barely register in our national consciousness. Even yesterday, as we were just beginning to process the Highland Park shooting, another shooting in Philadelphia marred the holiday weekend.

This can’t continue. The recent legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president is a modest step forward, and we hope it will save lives. But it’s not enough. People will continue to die unless we find a radically different approach.

There are steps like universal background checks that have broad public support that Congress can implement now. And we must consider an assault weapon ban that takes a gun that has no place in the general public out of the reach of those seeking to do harm.

May the memories of all the lives lost yesterday within the Jewish community and beyond be a blessing.

Joint Statement from Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Groups on Chad Meredith

Joint Statement from Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Groups on Chad Meredith


NWLC: Olympia Feil, 
NCJW: Jody Rabhan, 
URGE: Kwentoria A. Williams, 
Catholics for Choice: John Becker, 
All* Above All Action Fund
Physicians for Reproductive Health: 

Today, Planned Parenthood Federation Of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Women’s Law Center, National Council Of Jewish Women, All* Above All Action Fund, URGE, Catholics for Choice, and Physicians for Reproductive Health released the following statement on Chad Meredith, whom some news outlets have reported could soon be nominated to a federal judgeship on the Eastern District of Kentucky:

“We are in a national abortion crisis. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, states have already moved to ban and restrict abortion access – including Kentucky. We are in this moment because anti-abortion judges were intentionally nominated at every level to take away our fundamental right to abortion – and given his record, we know Chad Meredith would be no exception.

“Chad Meredith should not be nominated to a lifetime judgeship. This is unacceptable at any time, but especially on the heels of six Supreme Court justices taking away a fundamental right from millions of people.”


National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of 200,000 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. Through a program of education, community service, and advocacy, our advocates across the country create lasting social change on our key issues of the federal courts; reproductive health, rights, and justice, and voter engagement. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.