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New Jewish Agenda, Los Angeles Chapter Records, 1979-1991
MSS 033  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: New Jewish Agenda, Los Angeles Chapter Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1979-1991
    Collection number: MSS 033
    Creator: New Jewish Agenda, Los Angeles Chapter
    Extent: 5 letter size boxes

    3 2/3 linear feet
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: The New Jewish Agenda (NJA), an activist national Jewish community organization, set out to be a progressive voice within the Jewish community and a Jewish voice within the progressive community. Most active in the decade of the 1980's, the NJA was committed to working at the grassroots level on programs for the Jewish people in the United States, Israel, and other Jewish communities that differed from the dominant policies of the Israeli government and the United States national Jewish establishment. This collection is comprised of the working papers of the Los Angeles chapter and Western Regional office of the NJA, organized in 1979 and lasting through the early years of the 1990's.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated to the Library in 1996 by the Misha & Sonia Yablon Cultural Center


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], New Jewish Agenda, Los Angeles Chapter Records, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.

    Organizational History

    The Los Angeles Chapter of the New Jewish Agenda (NJA), was formed on June 21, 1981, with the same purposes, by laws and organizational structure as the national Agenda. The national NJA had been founded in December, 1980 and had central offices in New York and Washington DC. The aspiration of the NJA was to build a new synthesis of Jewish identity derived from a variety of religious, cultural and secular backgrounds, committed to building a socially just and peaceful world from the community and grassroots level. The NJA set out to be a progressive voice within the Jewish community and a Jewish voice within the progressive community. With the belief that authentic Jewish life demanded serious and consistent attention to Tikun Olam (the just ordering of human society and the world) the NJA and its chapters sought to apply those Jewish values to a variety of issues including: American Jewish communal life, mutual responsibility between Israel and diaspora communities, Israeli society and Middle East peace, American domestic and foreign policy, the role of women and men in Jewish life, Jewish family life, the relations between Jews and other communities.
    The NJA's strength was based on its local chapters and their organizing efforts. Through a mixture of local initiative and national coordination, the NJA demonstrated a tremendous capacity for organizing outreach, education, and action campaigns in the American Jewish community. The involvement by a large number of young academics may have contributed to the effectiveness of the organization. As a result, the NJA had a widespread network of activists and chapters with successful experience in conducting a range of specific projects concerning dissent in the Jewish community, the Israeli peace movement, Middle East peace education and Jewish-Arab reconciliation. The records of the Los Angeles Chapter of the NJA stop in the early 1990's and there is no evidence of continued action by the national organization after that period.

    Scope and Content

    Materials in the collection include: correspondence, minutes, founding documents, publications of the national and Los Angeles NJA, reports, some accounting records, notes, clippings and a few photographs. There is a significant amount of material consisting of copied articles and informational brochures relating to contemporary events and progressive politics and organizations.
    The records reflect the work of NJA Los Angeles Chapter staff and activists to develop and strengthen the organization's policies and the resulting activities, principally from 1984 to 1987. In addition there are media responses and/or critiques of the activities of the NJA. Also in the collection are records of the Western Regional office of the NJA for the years it was active. There are some records included of Los Angeles activists participating in national organizational events, but these are not be construed to be a complete picture of the national organization.


    The collection is divided into three series: 1.ORGANIZATION - documents of the NJA, Los Angeles Chapter, Western Regional Committee and national organization; 2. FUNDRAISING - documents of the Los Angeles Chapters applications for grants and funding; 3. PROJECTS - documents relating to specific projects the Los Angeles Chapter developed or in which it participated.