Celebrating 50 years of growth with the Detroit Jewish Community
THE JEWISH NEWS
8 AV 5752/AUGUST 7, 1992
Agenda Members Plan
On Keeping The Faith
NJA will carry on, even without its national headquarters.
ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM ASSISTANT EDITOR
Yet in June the national NJA of-
hen the phone rings at the national
New Jewish Agenda office, some- fice shut its doors. ?Mays some-
thing • of an outsider among
body from Ann Arbor always an-
mainstream Jewish or-
It's part of a plan by NJA chap- ganizations — Agenda members
ters nationwide to keep the orga- have been vocal, often vociferous
nization alive in the midst of news in their condemnation of Israel's
policies toward the Palestinians
just weeks ago that their national
— NJA cited monetary woes as the
office in New York City had closed.
Ann Arbor NJA has made a phone reason for closing shop in New
available; Philadelphia is provid- York.
"We fell the financial victim to
ing a post office box.
times," said Ira Grupper, na-
With Israel now headed by
tional co-chair of NJA. "A lot of the
Labor's Yitzhak Rabin, who has
expressed an interest in trading organizations that had given to
land for peace, it should have been progressive causes like ours are
a banner year for NJA. Es- now giving instead to soup
tablished in 1980, the group was
In place of its national office
the first Jewish organization to
call for a two-state solution to the staff, NJA has established a sev-
en-member volunteer steering
Arab-Israeli conflict and to advo-
committee, including Rebecca
cate dialogue with the Palestine
Kanner of Ann Arbor, to handle
A self-styled "progressive voice administrative, financial, political
in the Jewish community and a and programmatic decisions for
Jewish voice among progressives," Agenda.
"It's the same organization," Ms.
NJA has 50 chapters in the United
Kanner said. "We'll just be relying
States and Canada.
collar and put
your feet up
here is some
more on volunteers."
"What we're doing is going
through a restructuring," added
Michael Appel, a member of the
Ann Arbor NJA steering commit-
tee. "And I think we can make this
change into something very posi-
About 100 members belong to
the Metro Detroit NJA, with an-
other 100 in Ann Arbor.
The decision to close the na-
tional office was made last April
and later discussed at a conven-
tion that drew NJA members from
throughout the country. At that
point, Agenda leaders "decided to
mainstream ourselves as an in-
ternational organization, but scale
back on what we do programmat-
ically," said Mr. Grupper, who lives
in Louisville, Ky.
Before its dosure, national NJA
had been involved in a myriad of
issues, ranging from fighting
racism and poverty in the United
States, to gay issues to the envi-
ronment and global disarmament.
It often hosted talks by pro-PLO
speakers and joined in demon-
strations against the Israeli gov-
Because of these activities, NJA
frequently came into conflict with
the mainstream Jewish commu-
nity. In 1984, in response to then-
Secretary of State Elliot Abrams'
ins And Losses
The voters had final say in
JEWISH AGENDA/page 30
Helping The IPO
An ex-Detroiter is invited to do
rrangements for Israel's
Young Israel's league attracts
t scores of players.
Contents on page 5