The Shalom Center Board invites you to celebrate Reb Arthur’s 2nd Bar Mitzvah on October 29, shortly after his 83rd birthday.
Why 83? Reb Arthur and The Shalom Center are invoking an old tradition of Eastern European Jewry. Given that 70 was the officially expected life span, when you turned 83 you were a 13-year-old once again. Time for a second Bar Mitzvah!
As we announced this joyful celebration, we started receiving Mazeltovs from various leaders of movements for peace, justice, and healing of our wounded world. Here are a few:
From Bill McKibben:
Time and again, at some important moment in the key environmental fights, I've looked up from a podium to see Art Waskow in the front row, or tuned into a key webinar to hear him making a cogent point. The point is, he's always there. There's no one who's showed up more often, added his voice more unselfishly, made his time on this earth count. So, mazel tov!
-- Bill McKibben, 350.org
From Ruth Messinger:
What an honor it is to celebrate the second bar mitzvah of the amazing Arthur Waskow. No one is more deserving of this honor. With the energy of a passel of 13 year olds, Arthur continues—on behalf of all of us—to speak truth to power, to focus our energies on building peace, creating a world with reduced strife and the possibility of building community across lines of difference, and to insist that we work together to save our planet from the environmental degradation that is destroying homes, livelihoods and lives of some of the world’s most marginalized people.
I know Arthur would want us to use this occasion—as we did not, most likely, fully use our own coming of age experiences—to dedicate and rededicate ourselves to the work he has mapped out as essential to the future of Jews and the future of the world.
-- Ruth W. Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service
From Rabbi Michael Lerner:
Arthur Waskow has long been one of the most inspiring Jewish thinkers I know. What a joy to have discovered a Jewish spiritual progressive in the early 1970s when he and I were allies in the movement against the war in Vietnam.
Though we were living 3000 miles apart, we continued to share ideas as we moved through an array of social change movements and found ourselves in the Jewish Renewal movement. Not just in it -- also pushing it to address not only inner liberation but also fundamental structural transformation both in the U.S. and in Israel!
Arthur became my spiritual brother -- and like many brothers, we wrestle with each other, and learn from each other in ways that are beautiful and soul nourishing for me. I was blessed to have Arthur and Phyllis join me as co-leaders of High Holiday services at Beyt Tikkun, and to have him speak at numerous national conferences of the Tikkun and NSP community--he was always deep and wise.
Arthur has shared his powerful wisdom with Tikkun readers, demonstrating the spiritual depth that our Jewish Renewal movement has to offer. And at 83 Arthur is just as creative as he was at 40, so I'm looking forward to many years of camaraderie as we attempt to shape and build a Transformative Judaism together.
What do we mean by "Transformative Judaism"? We insist that our greatest task as a Jewish people and as a human race is to save the life-support system of the planet before the rapacious dynamics of the capitalist system and the rest of us as collaborators in consuming the planet's scarce resources bring on the greatest catastrophe of human history -- geocide.
It is an honor to partner in this way with such a mensch, whom I've deeply loved for the past 44 years!!!
-- Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun
Meanwhile, here's Arthur at his first Bar Mitzvah, with his younger brother Howard, of blessed memory.
And here's Arthur now, with his beloved bashert Reb Phyllis, as his second Coming-of-Age appoaches. A lot hairier, funnier, and even more vigorous than he was at 13.
The first time, he says, he learned to chant by rote, but nothing more -- a terrible waste of creative possibility and a turn-off for him from exploring Judaism. This time he intends to speak a true Dvar Torah -- a new way of thinking about what the Torah is teaching.
The event will be a fundraiser for The Shalom Center, supporting its work and inspiring Arthur to keep going — as we always hope, biz hundert und tzvantzig, gezunt und shtark — till 120 in good health and strong spirit!
You can take part by attending the Bar Mitzvah and the celebratory supper party to follow; OR by contributing in Reb Arthur’s honor even if you cannot attend; AND (either physically present or not) by underwriting a page in the Bar Mitzvah Bukher's Booklet featuring your story about Reb Arthur or your own Bat/Bar Mitzvah.
Join us – and Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Rabbi Marcia Prager, Cantor Jack Kessler, Rabbi Shefa Gold, and other notables, friends, and family -- at this twice-in-a-lifetime celebration on October 29.
You need not attend to honor Reb Arthur and contribute to The Shalom Center. To make a contribution, click here and complete the form.
To reserve your seat for supper and support the Bar Mitzvah event and The Shalom Center, click REGISTER NOW and sign up for Reb Arthur’s 2nd Bar Mitzvah Celebration before it fills up. Sorry – no walk-ins!
Among our reasons to honor Arthur is his constant and creative weaving wisdom and activism together. A perfect illustration: This summer, The Shalom Center and Reb Arthur have been involved in a number of conferences, celebrations, teachings, and activist challenges to the Carbon Pharaohs.
He spoke, taught, marched, and/or guided prayer at the Pendle Hill Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia, the Chautauqua Institution near Buffalo, the Community of Living Traditions at the Stony Point retreat center in upstate New York, the Kallah sponsored by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal in Colorado, and in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
And that comes on top of speaking trips where he was invited to Southern California, South Carolina, and the Pacific Northwest in the last few months, as a prophetic voice on the spiritual and moral imperative to heal the Earth from global scorching. PLUS an arrest at the US Capitol alongside the heads of the NAACP, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, & AFL-CIO in a protest demanding Hyperwealth Out & Voting Rights Restored in our elections.
All for "Eco-social justice," as he says!
And now, back to October 29: To celebrate Reb Arthur’s 2d Bar Mitzvah by joining directly in the service and supper, reserving your seat for supper and supporting the Bar Mitzvah event and The Shalom Center, click REGISTER NOW
and sign up for Reb Arthur’s 2nd Bar Mitzvah. Space is limited –-- first come, first served, first celebrated! Sorry, no walk-ins.
If you won’t be able to come to Philadelphia and want to honor Reb Arthur and support his vigorous voice through a contribution to The Shalom Center, click here and complete the form.
Either way, we welcome your reserving space in the Bar Mitzvah Bukher’s Booklet to tell a story about your own encounter with Reb Arthur or to tell a story about your own Bat/ Bar Mitzvah.
Blessings for a joyful sharing of this twice-in-a-lifetime celebration!
Arlene Goldbard, President and Chair of the Board
The Shalom Center