This is what 80 Looks Like: Elders who Are Activists, Activists who are Elders
On Sunday, November 3, Meet & Honor Gloria Steinem & Reb Arthur
When Gloria Steinem turned 40, a reporter said to her,”You don’t look 40.” She replied, “This is what 40 looks like! – we’ve been lying for so long, who would know?” This fall, Rabbi Arthur Waskow will turn 80; Ms. Steinem will turn 80 shortly after. The photos above show what they look like now. (Click on them to expand the photos.)
But at a deeper level, what DO they look like? To give the question a bit of a twist, how do they look at the world, now they are 80?
The Shalom Center invites you to a glorious celebration with them, on Sunday evening, November 3.. We can, across all generations, learn from them what it means to be an Elder who’s still an activist, and what it means to be an activist who can draw on the experience of many years.
You can find fuller information about the celebration, and a guide to registration for it, at
The connection between Ms. Steinem and Reb Arthur is very old – and very new. Here’s how: Ms. Steinem was on Oprah several months ago. Oprah asked her to describe a transformative moment in her life. Here is what Gloria Steinem said:
“I was at the Democratic National Convention of 1968, giving out farm worker’s literature, and the whole scene was so full of rage and violence that I thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’ And Arthur Waskow, a wonderful man, comes up to me and says (here she grasps Oprah’s hand), ‘It’s important, what you are doing. Everything you are doing is important!’ And I’ve never forgotten that.”
Since 1968, Gloria Steinem has transformed our world with her vision, leadership and passion. And she has held, all this time, that her courage to do this work and never give up came, at least in part, from this message our own Reb Arthur gave to her decades ago.
Reb Arthur, too, has spent those decades transforming our world. His particular gift has often been to seed that new vision, jumpstart new leadership, and ignite people’s passion. And he, too, has never given up.
A new generation is arising. A new generation that demands responsibility all the way to the top, sustainable solutions that preserve our earth, and an economy that empowers a real middle class. A generation for whom it is not just lip service to value the rights of women, gay people, ethnic minorities and independently-minded individuals throughout our society.
But the mighty few, who wield vast wealth and top-down power to keep these very issues invisible, want us to complacently accept the status quo. They are counting on our silence and inaction to help them dominate ideas and sway elections in favor of corporate power. These are the Pharaohs of our generation – and we know that Pharaohs bring disaster on their own societies.
What can we do? Just as one person has only one vote, but together we can transform the outcome of an electoral campaign, so too can each of us take a stand so that together we can resist the corporate takeover of America.
Your contribution adds to the ripple effect we are creating that is swelling up and pushing back against the tide of unaccountable, centralized political and economic Power.
Together, we can combat the Pharaohs of our generation, the greedy grab that takes homes and jobs away from the middle class and turns them into “the new poor.”
Together we can move our money from the Carbon Pharaohs of Big Oil, Big Coal, Unnatural Gas that are bringing new plagues of global scorching on our Mother Earth – move our money to invest in financially solid companies that are developing wind and solar power.
Together we can gather in tens of thousands to show the White House and the Congress that we are committed to the Great Turning away from global scorching toward a new planetary Beloved Community.
Together we can resist attempts by male hierarchies in various religious organizations to silence nuns who are serving the poor, to deny women the religious freedom to use contraception, to arrest women who want to pray as equals, to keep gay men and lesbians from expressing their love in marriage, to protect priests and rabbis who are abusing children.
The Shalom Center continues to lead in these struggles, as we have been doing for three decades, and as Reb Arthur has been doing even longer – ever since Gloria Steinem heard those encouraging words and resolved to keep on fighting for change.
Together we can celebrate two lifetimes of speaking truth to power.
We welcome you to meet Gloria Steinem and Reb Arthur, to join together on the evening of Sunday, November 3, to celebrate with them and learn with them how we can inspire each other to heal our wounded world. Click here to get details and register:
Looking forward to joining with you then –
Arlene Goldbard, chair of the Board of The Shalom Center
Rabbi Jeff Roth, co-chair of the “”What 80 Looks Like” celebration
Rabbi Margot Stein, co-chair of the “”What 80 Looks Like” celebration