While the Jewish social justice movement is growing and thriving today, with a diverse range of organizations tackling issues across the country and beyond, this isn’t the first time that progressive organizing has taken a strong foothold in the Jewish community. Pursue recently sat down with Ezra Berkley Nepon to learn more about New Jewish Agenda, a significant force for Jewish progressives in the 1980s, as Ezra’s book on the history of the organization awaits a Spring 2012 release:
How did you first learn about the New Jewish Agenda, and what inspired you to dig more deeply into its history?
I learned about New Jewish Agenda (NJA) because I was reading a lot of fantastic Jewish feminist writing like Bridges Journal and Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz’s The Issue Is Power. I kept seeing references to NJA and I wondered what this organization was, that had so many inspiring activists and thinkers involved. When I realized that NJA had been active as a national progressive Jewish movement from 1980 to 1992, but there was really no public record of their work, I was even more curious. As I learned about this organization that was courageous in their work as “a Jewish Voice Among Progressives and a Progressive Voice Among Jews,” I felt as though I was finding the progressive Jewish home I had been looking for. I was hungry for NJA’s story, so I went digging in their boxes at the NYU Tamiment Archive to find out more. Read more →
Please join us for the next People of the Book Club!
What: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
When: Wednesday, January 18th, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: AJWS 10th floor conference room, 45 West 36th St.
Who: The discussion will be facilitated by Jamie Zimmerman, AJWS alumna and a third-year medical student at Mt. Sinai. Jamie is also a documentary filmmaker who studied anthropology as an undergraduate at UCLA and has travelled/worked in Peru, Thailand, India, Uganda, Mozambique, Costa Rica, Zambia, the Upper East Side and East Harlem.
Special discount! RSVP for details about a 15% discount on the book at a local bookstore.
RSVP: email@example.com Read more →
The Help by Kathryn Stockett is told from the point of view of three narrators: two black women who work as maids (Aibileen and Minny) and one white woman (Miss Skeeter) living in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Together, the three narrators complete a book entitled Help, containing anonymous first-person accounts from several black maids in Jackson describing what it’s like to work for the white families in town. Stockett writes in three convincing voices, each woman finely drawn and complex in their narration, emotional struggles, and social interactions. Seeing the story from three angles draws the reader immediately into the unbalanced world that Help tries to right.
We are at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement; society, here, is white upper-middle class women’s society, ruled by the town’s queen bee, Hilly Holbrook. The white women’s voices are compromised; they struggle with their husbands, their children, and with each other. Instead of lifting each other up, these women live in a society where the loudest and most pervasive voice dictates the flow and ebb of conversation and rules: what a woman should wear, talk about, who she should talk with. Read more →
It’s a good question, and a tall order: if you had to name one book that changed your life, what would it be? Nancy Schwartz, the woman behind Getting Attention, a nonprofit marketing resource website, recently posed the question to a range of nonprofit professionals and compiled a final list of 129 selections. In the age of bite-size digital content and distracted multi-tasking, it’s inspiring to see how many substantive choices there are not only for expanding your knowledge but also for immersing yourself in depth on a particular topic.
Check out this excellent resource for people working or looking to work in the nonprofit field. From Dr. Seuss’s Oh! The Places You’ll Go! to more practical tomes like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there’s sure to be something that peaks your interest. In the meantime, for another kind of immersive book experience, consider attending the next People of the Book Club meeting on November 9th in NYC. Read more →
It was only 10½ hours after the close of this year’s Hazon Food Conference that I was faced with a new food justice-related challenge. In a moment of optimism several weeks earlier, I had agreed to write a review of Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland for my CSA’s newsletter during the same weekend of the conference. Unsurprisingly, in the battle between well-intentioned optimism and an active conference, the conference won. In between a standing room only discussion on the 2012 Farm Bill, a community-wide beit midrash in which my chevruta and I tackled Maimonides and Mark Bittman, and a session on learning how to brew beer (with samples generously provided and enthusiastically consumed), the review went unwritten.
But a commitment is still a commitment, even if it meant I had to write the review hunched over in a middle seat on a red-eye flight home to Brooklyn. In fact, I reasoned, maybe it was even a good thing that I waited to write the review until after the conference. Tomatoland takes on food (bet you can guess which one) and examines how and why it makes it to our tables. The extensively researched explanations are occasionally horrifying and always enlightening. And the issues of how food arrives to our tables, who is impacted in the process, and why people eat certain kinds of food are the same issues that led many of us to attend the conference initially. Read more →