Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded 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.
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 as one of the “most inspiring” American rabbis. In June 2017, he received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he’d served on the faculty in the 1980s.
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.
Since 1969, Waskow has been one of the leading creators of theory, practice, and institutions for the movement for Jewish renewal. In 1978, Waskow founded Menorah: Sparks of Jewish Renewal, a journal of Jewish renewal. In 1993, he cofounded ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
He was born in Baltimore in 1933. He took a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University (1954) and a doctorate in United States history from the University of Wisconsin (1963). His dissertation was on “The Race Riots of 1919.”
He was among the founders and for fourteen years (1963-1977) was a Resident Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a pioneering center for independent analysis of governmental policy and social change.
March 23rd, 2021 | Season 1 | 56 mins 56 secs
At 87, Rabbi Arthur Waskow still proudly calls himself a radical. His most revolutionary act may have taken place 52 years ago, when he wrote, published and organized the original Freedom Seder. Celebrated, debated and criticized, the Freedom Seder upended the contemporary seder by incorporating contemporary, non-Jewish liberation struggles. We talk about the origins of the Freedom Seder and what it means today. We explore Waskow’s life of activism, including his personal interactions with Rev. Martin Luther King Junior. And Waskow shares what keeps him turning out books and, at increasing risk to himself, taking to the streets and facing arrest. He also offers some practical advice on how to make a Zoom seder more compelling and how to take first steps as an activist. And we ask the burning question (no pun intended): is civilization as we know it headed for collapse?