Member since 2010

TheShalomCenter

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center https://theshalomcenter.org In 2014 he was honored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights with their first Lifetime Achievement Award as a “Human Rights Hero.” In 2015 he was named by The Forward one of the “most inspiring” American rabbis. Beginning in 1969 with writing the original Freedom Seder and continuing with his seminal work as editor of New Menorah magazine and author of Godwrestling (1978) and Seasons of Our Joy (1982), he has been a leader of the movement for Jewish political and spiritual renewal. Waskow pioneered in the development of Eco-Judaism in theology, liturgy, daily practice, and activism -- • through his books Seasons of Our Joy; Godwrestling – Round 2; Down-to-Earth Judaism; Trees, Earth, & Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology; and Torah of the Earth: 4,000 Years of Ecology in Jewish Thought; • as author of a pioneering essay on “Jewish Environmental Ethics: Adam and Adamah,” in Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality (Elliot N. Dorff and Jonathan K. Crane, eds.; Oxford University Press, 2013); • through the Green Menorah organizing project of The Shalom Center; • through the Interfaith Freedom Seder for the Earth and a number of climate-focused public actions drawing on and transforming traditional liturgies for Tu B’Shvat, Passover/ Palm Sunday, Tisha B’Av, Sukkot, and Hanukkah; • as a candidate for the World Zionist Congress on the Green Zionist Alliance slate; • as a participant and speaker in the World Interfaith Summit on the Climate Crisis called by the Archbishop of Sweden in Uppsala in 2008; • as a founding member (2010-2013) of the stewardship committee of the Green Hevra (a network of Jewish environmental organizations); • as a member of the coordinating committee of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate; • and as a practitioner of nonviolent civil disobedience who has been arrested in climate protests in the US Capitol, at the White House, and has undertaken civil disobedience at Philadelphia conclaves of fracking corporate leaders.


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God, Earth, and Earthling: 2 eco-theologies

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow This past Shabbat, in the same mail–delivery to my door,  there arrived both a copy of Rabbi David Seidenberg’s magnum opus Kabbalah & Ecology (published by Cambridge University Press), and the in-print Fall 2015 issue of Tikkun magazine, including an article of mine  on “Prayer as if the Earth Really Matters. ”   My article encodes into liturgy an explicitly unconventional eco-Jewish theology. It joins a ...


Spread over all of us the Sukkah of shalom, salaam, paz, peace!

Can our Sukkot become not only symbols but peacemaking sanctuaries for both "adam" and "adamah"? As we enter the Shmita / Sabbatical Year, we may be asking what its content might be. We can begin, just a few days before Rosh Hashanah, joining the several dozen Jewish organizations that will take part in the People’s Climate March in New York City, Sunday Septembr 21, beginning at 11:30 am. Then on Rosh Hashanah (which ...


Are There Special Foods to Welcome Shmita?

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin has suggested that for the Erev Rosh Hashanah meal which this year, on Wednesday evening September 24, begins the Shmita Year of Shabbat Shabbaton, we have a seder plate, with seven items (marking the seven-ness of Shmita). What might these seven be? Already nominated: bread (like challah for Shabbat, should this be a “woven” bread? round, for the cycles, as is a traditional Rosh Hashanah ...


Tisha B’Av Resources: Lament & Hope for our Holy Temple, Earth

Tisha B'Av Resources: Lamenting for our Holy Temple --- Earth; And Glimpsing the Rebirth of Active Hope Several people have asked me about liturgies for Tisha B’Av (this year, Aug 4-5, just before Hiroshima Day) that focus on dangers to the Earth as the Holy Temple of all cultures and all species, in our generation deeply wounded. And not only on danger, but -- like Eicha itself -- ending with "Chadesh yamenu k'kedem, ...


Can we see all Earth as our Holy Temple of today?

There are two crises in the world today that call especially for Jewish responses: One because it involves the future of a state that calls itself “Jewish,” and of its supporters in America -- their spiritual, intellectual, ethical, and physical futures – at a moment when the relationship between Jews and our Abrahamic cousins of Palestine is filled with violence that threatens to kill more people, breed more hatred, and poison the ...


Dead Young Men: Mississippi, Israel, Palestine

I spent several days last week in Mississippi, -- Mourning the murders of three young men 50 years ago; Celebrating a Mississippi that today is very different; Facing the truth that Earth and human communities –-- especially, still, those of color and of poverty –- are being deeply wounded by the Carbon Pharaohs’ exploitation and oppression; Talking/ working toward a future of joyful ...


Moving Forward with “Move Our Money/ Protect Our Planet”

More than 100 Rabbis, Cantors, and other Jewish spiritual leaders have signed the Rabbinic Call to Move Our Money/Protect Our Planet. (Providentially, not planned by us, the initials spell “MOM/POP.”).! There are now four initiatives we want to take toward giving additional reality to this Call: 1) Sabbatical/ Shmita Year In Leviticus 25, the Torah calls for the human community to let the Earth rest from organized agricu...


70+ Rabbinic Call to Move Our Money to Protect Our Planet

Dear chevra, By April 30, 2014, more than 70 Rabbis and other Jewish spiritual leaders have signed this Call. Now we appeal to all members of the Jewish community to join in this effort. To do so, please click to: <https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=11&reset=1> We — Rabbis, Cantors, and other Jewish spiritual leaders — call upon Jewish households, congregations, seminaries, communal and ...


The Seder’s Innermost Secret — Charoset: Earth & Eros in the Passover Celebration

There it sits on the Seder plate: charoset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine. So the question would seem obvious: "Why is there charoset on the Seder plate?" That's the most secret Question at the Seder – so secret nobody even asks it. And it’s got the most secret answer: none. The Haggadah explains about matzah, the bread so dry it blocks your insides for a week. The ...


A Tu B’Shvat Seder to Heal the Wounded Earth

The New Year – for Rebirthing Trees: [This version of the Haggadah for Tu B’Shvat has been greatly adapted by Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center from a Haggadah shaped by Ellen Bernstein, as published in Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology (Jewish Publ. Soc., 1999, ed. by Elon, Hyman, & Waskow). Bernstein wrote introductory remarks to sections of that Haggadah, many of which have been included or adapted for ...


Do We Need to Rename God?

In the traditional Jewish spiral of Torah reading, we will soon start the Book of Exodus -- the transformational story of successful resistance to slavery. As the British Army band played the song when the American Revolution became victorious, this book is a story of “The World Turned Upside Down.” Maybe the first such story. Maybe even the story that inspired many of the higgledy-piggledy Boston blacksmiths and Pennsylvania ...


Transformative Judaism and our Planetary Crisis

Since human action has endangered the web of life on earth, human action can heal it. And the religious and spiritual communities of our planet have the wisdoms and the tools to do the healing. Judaism is especially relevant because, unlike most world religions, we preserve the teachings of an indigenous people in the biblical tradition –- the spiritual wisdom of shepherds and farmers. And yet as a world people, we can now apply the ...


The Sacred Green Menorah: Deeper Meanings of Hanukkah & Earth

On Shabbat Hanukkah (this year, Nov. 29-30), we read an extraordinary passage from the Prophet Zechariah. Speaking during the Babylonian Captivity, he envisions the future Great Menorah, taking its sacred place in a rebuilt Holy Temple. Zechariah, in visionary, prophetic style, goes beyond the Torah’s description of the original Menorah (literally, a Light-bearer). That Menorah was planned as part of the portable Shrine, the Mishkan, in the ...


Transformative Judaism and our Planetary Crisis

Since human action has endangered the web of life on earth, human action can heal it. And the religious and spiritual communities of our planet have the wisdoms and the tools to do the healing. Judaism is especially relevant because, unlike most world religions, we preserve the teachings of an indigenous people in the biblical tradition –- the spiritual wisdom of shepherds and farmers. And yet as a world people, we can now apply the ...


Sustainable Sukkot: Harvest Wind & Sun, Not Carbon

Traditionally the first action Jews would take after breaking the fast of Yom Kippur was to act for change – to hammer the first nail toward building a sukkah, the fragile hut with a leafy, leaky roof that is the central symbol of Sukkot, the harvest festival. That fragile hut is a calling to live lightly on the Earth, so beginning to build it is a commitment to compassion for all life-forms as well as for all human beings. So in ...


“Keep the Tar Sands where they are; Climate change has gone too far!”

Configure Those words were chanted by more than 200 people in a vigorous protest I took part in on Aug 12, 2013, at the State Department in Washington, DC, against the Tar Sands Pipeline. The action was organized by CREDO Action, the Rain Forest Action Network , and The Other 98%. The Shalom Center and Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC) endorsed the protest, and our readiness to ...


Shmita Today: From Farm to Hypertech

Our society is more and more deeply concerned that intrusive human action toward the Earth is turning into a weapon endangering Humanity itself as well as the earthy web of life. Is this danger new, or is it an extension of a long-felt weakness arising from a strength too far? Torah warns against overworking the earth, as well as overworking ourselves and each other. It provides that not only every seventh day but every seventh year is to be a time ...


Biblical Ecology & Economics for the 21st (or 59th) Century

Rabbi Arthur Waskow * The US and the world are struggling with both economic and ecological crises –- and most people see them as unconnected. In the secular “social justice” world, many organizations ignore ecological issues. In the secular “environmental” world, many organizations ignore issues like unemployment or income inequality. In the religious world, the most audible voices in American Christianity ...


White House Arrests; Bitter Herb, Matzah, & Healing Climate

Yesterday (March 21, 2013), along with 14 other religious folk, clergy and committed "laity," I was arrested for standing at the White House with Bitter Herb and Matzah, signs and songs, reciting the names of more than 100 people who had been killed by one result of the climate crisis: Superstorm Sandy. The action was organized by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, of which The Shalom Center is a vigorously active member. We were calling on the ...


Pray-in for Climate at White House — Tuesday January 15

Call To Action: A Pray-in For the Climate Dear Friends, We are facing a Climate Cliff, and we are calling upon religious and spiritual leaders, other believers and all people of good will to join us to address its danger by participating in “A Pray-in for the Climate” in front of the White House on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. Super-storm Sandy, the drastic droughts in our corn country, record-breaking Arctic ice melt, and ...