West Philadelphia independent small press, Thread Makes Blanket has announced that its next project will be its first full-length book entitled Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: A History of New Jewish Agenda by local writer, performer, and organizer Ezra Berkley Nepon. Justice is a historical work that documents the history and legacy of New Jewish Agenda, a national grassroots democratic organization prominent from 1980 to 1992, that organized a progressive Jewish voice for the political issues of their time, including peace and justice in the Middle East and Central America, Worldwide Nuclear Disarmament, economic justice in the U.S., and a powerful Jewish Feminist Taskforce that included work on LGBT issues and the emergence of the AIDS pandemic. Furthermore, the movement that NJA created united activists from a wide range of religious and secular communities.
Nepon, who is also the author of the 2010 play Between Two Worlds: Who Loved You Before You Were Mine and who recently spent three years in NYC working for transgender rights with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, says of the book, “My passion for telling this story is informed by my own commitments to feminism, anti-racism, Palestinian solidarity, and queer liberation. I researched this history by digging through archive boxes at NYU’s Tamiment Archives, interviewing seven former members, reading every relevant book I could get my hands on, and asking every Jewish activist I met what they remembered about NJA. In 2006, I turned that research into a website to make the information publicly available. Now, I’m asking for your help to publish a book that can be passed from hand-to-hand to share this crucial people’s history of progressive Jewish activism.”
With just 11 days left in its IndieGogo campaign, Nepon and Thread Makes Blanket have just under $1,000 left to raise. If you’re interested in radical Jewish history, People’s History, or history of social movements, consider supporting the project. The book features original cover art by Abigail Miller, and backers may also choose to receive a Celebrate People’s History poster in collaboration with Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.
For more information or to support the project, click here.
– Emma Eisenberg