Brit Tzedek, COEJL, LimmudNY, Edinburgh Peace Festival, 12/25/2004
We recommend four upcoming conferences and two evening talks where Shalom Center values will be explored. This posting puts these events in the context of our history.
Since our founding in 1983, The Shalom Center has seen a great part of our role as being pioneer and midwife in urging and acting on new approaches to tikkun olam the repair of the world.
In those early days we focused entirely on shaping a Jewish approach to preventing nuclear holocaust, and then later in the 80s and 90s on the shaping of Eco-Judaism.
From 1995 to 2000, we made possible the writing and editing of three crucial books on Eco-Judaism: Arthur Waskow's Down-to-Earth Judaism; Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu BShvat Anthology; and Torah of the Earth.
The work we and Shomrei Adamah did in this period seeded interest in an eco-Jewish life-path that helped made possible the creation and growth of COEJL: the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
From February 27 to March 1, COEJL will hold its Mark and Sharon Bloome Jewish Environmental Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. We encourage people to attend and hope the results will be a deepening of Jewish work in this area. For information check —
From 1996 to 2003, The Shalom Center put a great deal of energy into addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We provided energy, creativity, outreach, and support to help in the founding of three organizations that have devoted their efforts to peacemaking and human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Brit Tzedek vShalom, The Tikkun Community, and Rabbis for Human Rights/North America.
Each of these has succeeded in establishing a strong base in its chosen constituency.
Brit Tzedek vShalom (the Jewish Alliance for Justice & Peace) will bring Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, architects of the Geneva Initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, and many other leading scholars, politicians, and activists for peace to its third national conference, "From Gaza to Negotiations: The Role of American Jews," Saturday through Monday, February 19-21, 2005, in New York City. Read more about the conference at -http://btvshalom.org/conference/2005/
We hope that attendance will be strong and the results another step forward in creating an effective peacemaking effort among American Jews.
Beginning in 2002, we pioneered in mobilizing Jewish opposition to the onrushing Iraq War when no other Jewish organization was dealing with it. (And even now, while the majority of the American people and a heavy majority of the Jewish community have concluded the war was a terrible mistake, Tikkun magazine and the Arbeterring/ Workmens Circle are the only national Jewish groups besides The Shalom Center that are opposed to the war.)
While we continue this work, we are also undertaking new pioneering in two areas: shaping an Abrahamic connection for joint work on issues of peacemaking, protection of the earth, and human rights; and Beyond Oil, to address one of the most dangerous institutions and habits of our world: its addiction to oil, and its subjugation to global oil corporations as the Drug Lords of oiloholic addiction.
Through the whole history of The Shalom Center, we have also pioneered in drawing on and transforming Jewish prayer forms and celebrations of festivals and life-cycle events to address the healing of the world. We have tried to embody the teaching of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel that Prayer is useless unless it is subversive. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement.
See the sections of our Website on Torah, prayer, the festivals, and the turnings of the life-cycle; two books of Rabbi Waskow's — Seasons of Our Joy and Godwrestling Round 2; and a book he and Rabbi Phyllis Berman wrote — A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven.
During the next two months, Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Phyllis Berman will be teaching, speaking, and leading services, meditations, and workshops in two major gatherings:
During Martin Luther King Birthday weekend, from January 14 to 17, in the Hudson Valley at the first conference of LimmudNY. For information see http://www.limmudny.org/
And in Edinburgh, Scotland, from Thursday 14 February to Sunday 6 March 2005, at the Second Annual Edinburgh International Festival and Conference on Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace.
The Edinburgh Festival will bring together artists, scholars, grassroots spiritual activists, and speakers from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the Sufi, Druze, Baha'i, Ismaili, Zoroastrian and other lesser known spiritual traditions. For more information see —
In addition, on the evening of Friday, January 14 , at Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie NY and the evening of January 19 at Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY (near Albany), Rabbi Waskow will be speaking on Rabbi Heschel, Dr. King, and the meaning of nonviolence in Jewish tradition.