Ezra Furman performs at the Empire Control Room in Austin, Texas, March 16, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Tim Mosenfelder-Getty Images)
Ezra Furman performs at the Empire Control Room in Austin, Texas, March 16, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Tim Mosenfelder-Getty Images)

Ezra Furman’s new song is inspired by her experience ‘as a Jew and as a trans woman’

Ezra Furman’s latest song title, “Book Of Our Names,” might sound familiar — that’s because the indie rocker’s newest song is inspired by the Hebrew title for the Bible’s Book of Exodus.

Furman said the track, released Monday, is “a protest song intended for use by any movement for collective survival and freedom.” In a statement, she said she sings it “as a Jew and as a trans woman.”

“This song is about what it feels like to live together under an empire that doesn’t value your lives,” said Furman, a one-time resident of Oakland who revealed last year that she had become a mother and a rabbinical student.

In the verses, Furman sings, “I want there to be a book of our names. … I want it to tell of our exile here / In a cruel machinery, our bodies between the gears / And our world back home just the ghost of a prayer / And I want us to read it aloud.”

Furman, 35, has released five full well-received solo rock albums while observing Shabbat and has written previous songs with Jewish themes and references. In 2016 — before coming out as trans — she released a song titled “The Refugee,” about her Jewish grandfather who fled the Nazis.

After releasing her latest album in 2019, Furman contributed music to the Netflix hit series “Sex Education.”

She and her partner, who she doesn’t talk about publicly for privacy reasons, are used to “queerphobia in an open way and in a structural way,” she told JTA. But she’s hopeful that attitudes are shifting.

“I see glimmers of a future where it’s just not an issue for anyone you encounter and you never have to explain yourself,” she said. “I want nobody to have to explain their gender or sexuality or family structure.”

Gabe Friedman
Gabe Friedman

Gabe Friedman is deputy managing editor at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

JTA

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