National Council of Jewish Women's (NCJW) Political Activism: Local, National, and Global
Political Activism and an Outspoken Organization
Throughout its history, the Tampa Section of the National Council of Jewish Women was always politically active. Whether it be national or international issues the organization made sure their opinions and stances on certain topics were heard. Some of the most common topics that NCJW advocated for included immigration, Israel, and women’s reproductive rights.
The issue of immigration was at the forefront during World War II for NCJW. In newsletters such as The Bulletin-a newsletter created by the organization for members-the refugees trying to flee Europe were consistently spoken about to bring awareness. Members who had recently immigrated to the United States and found homes in the Tampa Bay area were encouraged to continue the citizenship process so that they could make their living conditions permanent. On top of that, these immigrants and members of NCJW were encouraged to help one another as a way to form solidarity during those hard times. When immigration measures were being considered by the government, NCJW advocated for less measures due to the mass amounts of people in need in Europe. Members from around the country, including Tampa were sent to a conference to advocate on behalf of their position on immigration, which ultimately supported by other well-known organizations such as the Red Cross. After World War II and once conditions in Europe improved, NCJW continued to advocate in favor of immigration, specifically those who were Jewish. This was due to the fact that Jewish families in the Soviet Union had either been separated and family members now lived in the United States or it was due to the fact that it was known that Jews were not treated well. In an effort to reunite these families and help those in need escape from harsh treatment, NCJW continued to advocate for them on their behalf.
The Tampa Section of NCJW, like the rest of the organization also was in support of the newly created state of Israel. They were consistently outspoken about the issues surrounding Israel and its Arab neighbors and advocated for U.S. involvement. Letters to congressmen, sent by the organization were occasionally printed in the organizations newsletters as a way to show their involvement in politics but also as a way to encourage members to be active within local and national issues.
On a more national and local level even, NCJW was actively involved in politics when it came down to the discussion of women’s reproductive rights. As supporters for such rights, the Tampa Section showed great dissatisfaction with the Florida government on numerous occasions. Letters were sent to representatives regarding pro-choice issues and were published in the organization’s newsletters. Editors of The Bulletin: Tampa Section, continuously advocated for members to either register to vote or vote in upcoming elections. Aware that the issues pertaining to women’s reproductive rights might be muddled because of the politics surrounding it, lectures for the Tampa Section were held periodically by female representatives in the Florida government, who then helped answer common questions and educate members of the Tampa Section of NCJW.
So, whether it be national or international issues, the National Council of Jewish Women in Tampa made an attempt to make their voices heard. They advocated for less strict immigration policies so that those in need in Europe could receive help and escape their hardships. They were advocates for the newly created state of Israel, making sure to write to congressmen in times they believed the government could help. They were also proponents for women’s reproductive rights, making sure to educate members of the Tampa Section and actively writing to representatives in the Florida government.