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Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, healing the earth, and celebrating community. He edits and writes for its weekly on-line Shalom Report.
In 1996, Waskow was named by the United Nations a “Wisdom Keeper” among forty religious and intellectual leaders who met in connection with the Habitat II conference in Istanbul. In 2001, he was presented with the Abraham Joshua Heschel Award by the Jewish Peace Fellowship. In 2005, he was named by the Forward, the leading Jewish weekly in America, one of the "Forward Fifty" as a leader of the Jewish community. In 2007, he was named by Newsweek one of the fifty moist influential American rabbis, and was presented with awards and honors by groups as diverse as the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement of Philadelphia and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 30, 2017 The Torah vs. Jared Kushner
What would it mean to bring Torah to bear within or upon one rich, powerful, and unjust Jew --- Jared Kushner?
I want to lift up a perfect example of how Torah values are trampled underfoot even while the semblance of piety is claimed. A story of one man who at this moment holds great power and exemplifies in his own person the "kleptocracy" -- rule by thieves -- that now afflicts us:
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 22, 2015 Charleston Murders vs. Pope, Rabbis, & Ramadan
What a day of profound contradiction! The worst expression of hatred and racism together with the most loving expressions of care and active healing for all humanity and all the life-forms that make up Mother Earth!
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, March 23, 2015 Becoming Elijah
For the Shabbat just before Passover (this year March 28), Jewish tradition assigns the last chapter of the last of the classical prophets -- Malachi, who spoke about 2500 years ago -- to be read. The passage takes on an uncanny significance for our generation:
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 18, 2015 Challenging the Netanyahu-US-Right-wing Alliance
Vice-President Joe Biden and many Members of Congress have already announced they will absent themselves from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress on March 3.
Please call your two Senators and one House Member and ask them to join this boycott of the speech.
SHARE Thursday, November 27, 2014 Thanksgiving, Arlo Guthrie, & My Yarmulke-- A Ritual of Joyful Resistance
Every year at noon on Thanksgiving, WXPN Radio in Philadelphia plays Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," about a Thanksgiving dinner in Stockbridge Mass. in 1967; about obtuse cops; and about nonviolent resistance to a brutal war.
And every year, this seemingly non-Jewish set of rituals stirs in me the memory of a moment long ago when my first puzzled, uncertain explorations of the "Jewish thing" took on new power for me.
SHARE Wednesday, November 27, 2013 For 8 days of Hanukkah, my True Love said to me: "Help heal My Earth!"
Hanukkah brings with it again this year three crucial teachings about healing our Mother Earth from the ravages of global scorching.
And Hanukkah is a celebration of rebels taking back a temple that was defiled by a vile authoritarian king, combined with a miracle-- that an energy source lasted a lot longer than expected.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, September 7, 2013 Drop gas masks, not bombs
If our own government pushes us over the edge of that precipice, the real losers will be the American and Syrian people. There, even greater devastation. Here, another wave of failure to meet the real and increasingly urgent civilian needs for schools, bridges, solar and wind energy, firefghters, and much more.
SHARE Thursday, June 20, 2013 My First Arrest, Plus 50 Years
Sunday , July 7, 1963, was the date of my first arrest, among protesters creating a "walk-in" aimed at ending racial segregation at Gwynn Oak amusement park in Baltimore. This coming July 7, 2013 (also a Sunday ) there will be a 50th-anniversary celebration in Baltimore of the desegregation of the park, which followed soon after the arrests.
SHARE Friday, March 22, 2013 Happily Arrested at White House, waving Bitter Herb & Matzah
Yesterday, along with 14 other religious folk, clergy and committed "laity," I was arrested for standing at the White House with signs and songs, reciting the names of more than 100 people killed by one result of the climate crisis -- Superstorm Sandy.
We were calling on the President to act swiftly to heal our Mother Earth from the climate crisis, from the plagues that modern Pharaohs -- Big Oil, Big Coal, Unnatural Gas.
(11 comments) SHARE Friday, November 16, 2012 Gaza-Israel Violence: The Fuller Story
In this report to readers and members of The Shalom Center, I will be filling in that back story with reports from the Israeli and Palestinian press. Then I will include a brief and trenchant comment by Uri Avnery, veteran Israeli peace activist and former member of Knesset who has been committed to a two-state peace settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for four decades.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, October 19, 2012 Arrested for Affirming God's Unity?!
The Email came; I read: "FYI for those who have not heard about the recent arrest of Anat Hoffman [an Israeli woman who has led the effort for women to pray freely at the Western Wall] for chanting the Shema out loud at the Western Well."
SHARE Friday, September 21, 2012 Yom Kippur as Transformation-time: 3 Keys to Unlock our Hearts
On Rosh HaShanah, we read the story of the estrangement between two families of Abraham -- between his wife Sarah and her son Isaac, and his wife Hagar and her son Ishmael.
I believe the completion of the story ( as it appears in Gen. 25: 8-11) should be read aloud in every synagogue on Yom Kippur. It is a story of reconciliation, which is what Yom Kippur is all about.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, June 25, 2012 "No Religion is an Island" -- Challenging Injustice in a Community That's Not "Our Own"
Two weeks ago, I wrote you a Shalom Report letter criticizing the Catholic hierarchy's attacks on the religious freedom of Catholic nuns and American women.
That letter sparked a lot of excitement and debate (possibly because I focused on a religious body's denial of religious freedom to women, rather than the accepted meme of women's health).
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, June 8, 2012 Bishops Attack Religious Freedom; Vatican Attacks Nuns
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican hierarchy are attacking the religious freedom of millions of American women and the religious freedom of American nuns.
As a Rabbi, I am deeply conscious of the transcendent value of religious freedom. I believe that the First Amendment to the US Constitution is indeed one of God's best creations. So I listen with great care to claims it is being violated.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 22, 2012 From Sinai to "The Thunder" at Nag Hammadi
Rabbi Waskow and several other Jewish leaders recently met with 15 Christians to discuss early texts from 0-200 CE that were not included in the New Testament.
One text found in the Nag Hammadi collection, was not in any clear sense Christian, not mentioning Jesus or Christ, or the Apostles. It was titled The Thunder: Perfect Mind
It is an extraordinary piece of writing.
(5 comments) SHARE Monday, May 21, 2012 If the Biblical Ruth came to America Today
In the biblical story, Ruth was a penniless immigrant from a despised pariah people. Yet she was welcomed onto the fields of Boaz, where she gleaned what the regular harvesters had left behind. Boaz made sure that even this despised foreigner had a decent job at decent pay. He forbade his male employees from harassing her.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, April 16, 2012 The "new poor": What can we DO? Clergy & Laity Concerned About Economic Injustice
Over the past few months, I have been sharing with you letters and stories from the "new poor" in America and in our own congregations, and ideas for how our congregations can address their suffering. What can we --- clergy and congregants concerned about the "previously poor" and the "newly poor" in our own congregations and in the nation -- do about it?