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We Need Your Help, This New Transformative Year

Here we are – a new Jewish year opening up for us. We can make it a year of great transformation in American society and in the planetary community of all life. The Shalom Center seeks your help in awakening the Spirit for that transformation.

OR -- It can be the year when the West Coast wildfires worsen, many more Covid sufferers die, so do young Blacks at the hands of police sworn to serve and protect them as well as all the rest of us.

Transformation will not be easy. The forces of Domination, Subjugation, even Cruelty, are at their worst when they see their power dissolving. Martin Luther King understood that the “deadly triplets” of racism, militarism, and materialism were threatening the entire future of America and Earth. We have added sexism, the oppression of women and of the GLBTQIA communities. Fifty years later, these four have clenched their fists together. 

And we who are trying to see the world (not just biology) through ecological eyes, through eyes that respect the great array of all life forms and honor all cultures of Spirit and inclusive democracy – we are also coming together.

For the Jewish People, this year can be – must be – extraordinary. There is an accounting of a seven-year cycle that has been kept for about 2500 years. In that accounting, one year from now, there begins what the Bible calls “Shabbat Shabbaton” --  a year of Sabbath to the exponential power of Sabbath. It is also called “shmita,” release.  Release of Earth from being overworked, release of human beings from being oppressed. 

For centuries, this tradition has been barely mentioned. But now!! – we must awaken it in action. So this coming year is the year we must work toward making those changes real.

At The Shalom Center, we are celebrating the cycle of the festivals as the sacred framework for our work. The festivals are the offspring of a love affair between the Jewish People and Earth. Now Mother Earth is badly wounded, and many human beings suffer from poverty, racism, war and war-like policing. Earth and Humanity need the healing help of their children the festivals.

  • This year, “Share Sukkot: Green and Grow the Vote.”
  • Make Hanukkah the festival of conserving energy by creating solar energy co-ops.
  • On Tu B’Shvat, RebirthDay of the Trees, we can act to reforest Earth.
  • On Pesach, we can face the Carbon Pharaohs of our day who bring plagues upon the people and the planet.
  • On Tisha B’Av, we can mourn the destruction of Temple Earth.

And so on. Indeed, we want to explore how to train Spirit-rooted activists of several traditions, not only Judaism, how to draw on their own symbols, festivals, and practices to heal Earth.

To undergird that broader effort, I wrote Dancing in God's Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion. It envisions how Judaism, Christianity, and other religious and spiritual traditions and communities could draw on and go beyond their existing teachings to create more life-giving and more truthful religious life in the future.

It is being published by Orbis Books in early October. If you want to have me and one of your local leaders weave a conversation with members of your congregation or book club, please drop me a note at Awaskow@theshalomcenter.org with “Book Conversation” in the subject line.

For all this, we seek your crucial help. In your own communities, can you help to focus the festivals this way? And can you support The Shalom Center in creating and sharing the new prayers, new actions, new ways of gathering that will help us free human beings from oppression and heal our Earth from the heat brought on by burning fossil fuels?

All this costs money. Money for teachers, money to send new prayers and practices across the continent, money to gather people in virtual meetings to learn and then to teach.

We ask you to click on the “Contribute” banner just below my signature to send the money that we will need, to make this happen. If it is possible for you, we ask you to send a minimum of $72, and if you can, reach up to $720. Why these numbers? Because the number “18” in Jewish mystical lore means “chai, life.” We seek to create new life in the mystical Four Worlds -- Spirit, Creative Intellect, Interpersonal Emotion and Ethics, and Physical Action. 18x4 = 72, and all its multiples: $144, $576, $720.

Is this just mystical, a mystery? When we transform the world, the mystery of Love becomes the practice of Justice and Eco-sanity. It becomes nourishing food, medical care, public health, decent affordable housing, solar energy, the end of racism in our police forces and the whole “criminal Justice” system.  The mystical and the practical become ONE. We ask you to join us in this transformation.

As always, I bless you with Shalom, salaam, paz, peace, namaste!

And now I add, shanah tovah, shinui tov – a good year through transformation for the good!  --  Arthur

Transformative Rebirth of The Shalom Center

The Shalom Center was born to play defense. Now it is time to play Transformation.

We were founded in 1983, specifically to speak a Jewish voice against the Reagan-Kosygin renewal of the nuclear arms race. Through the’ 90s until now, we have struggled against the poisonous disregard of various US governments and corporations for healing the wounded Earth. And since early 2017 we have been strengthening struggle against the would-be fascist government of Donald Trump.

All this time it has become clearer and clearer that we are struggling against one of the oldest and deepest tendencies of American culture and society – – the tendency to Dominate, Subjugate, encoded in racism against the Indigenous Peoples and the Black community. We have been struggling to support and redefine the other great impulse – – toward inclusive democracy, love for each other, and love for Earth.

Now we are seeing a great wave of that love – – especially in the form of a multiracial Uprising against racism. And we are also seeing the real danger of a violent attempt to negate democracy altogether, coming from a frustrated would-be fascist President.

When you are standing at the edge of a precipice, at the edge of the Red Sea, with an army of Subjugation right behind you, that is not the time for small and “incremental” steps that will simply drop you into the precipice, into drowning in the sea of the unknown. It is the time for the great leap across the precipice toward justice, toward compassion, toward the Beloved Community. So we are making the turn to Transformation.

Meanwhile, we are facing the need for rebirth in more mundane, more internal ways as well. Our remarkable nine-year-veteran Program Coordinator, Viv Hawkins, has decided to pursue a new life-career as a life coach. So we are looking for someone to fulfill that Program Coordinator role.

And even more intimately, my old computer has worn out its career. I have begun to work with a new one -- both a painful and a joyful experience.

Most intimately of all, I am in the midst of working on two books. One of them is Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion. That one is already written, working its birthing process in the womb of its publisher, Orbis Books. It will be born in early October, just in time for Sukkot, the Harvest Festival. It is intended to harvest all the experience, “spiritual” and “political,” of my life – – and like a good harvest, to feed the future.

The other book, How to Liberate Your Passover Seder, is a collection of essays that my beloved Rabbi and life-partner, Phyllis Berman, and I are editing together. That one has about 40 essays, written by people who have actually enlivened and liberated their Seders, public and familial-friendly. The essays have been written, and that book is ready to find a publisher.

The most urgent of all these internal rebirths is our search for a new Program Coordinator. We are looking for someone who has the skills in a wide range of social media and the ability to grow the seeds of new ideas into sprouting, vital plants.  Details are at

https://theshalomcenter.org/content/seeking-program-coordinator-shalom-center-position-description

Please check it out if you seem to fit, or pass this message to your friends who seem to.

Shalom,  salaam, paz, peace, namaste! --  Arthur

Seeking Program Coordinator for The Shalom Center: Position Description

Seeking Program Coordinator for The Shalom Center: Position Description

The Shalom Center sees itself as a prophetic voice for a spiritually rich world-view committed to active work for justice, peace, and the healing of Earth-Human relationships.  We work in the Jewish, multireligious, and American worlds.

We see ourselves as a tugboat helping much larger organizations to change direction; as a seed-sower of new ideas to be carried out by others; and as an idea factory that seeks to get the ideas implemented.

We seek a full-time Program Coordinator who can improve or introduce a set of procedures to the work of The Shalom Center and use these tools and procedures to help its Executive Director --  Rabbi Arthur Waskow -- use his time for the unique work he does. 

There is a need to help Rabbi Waskow, people in his networks with whom he works, and the Board of The Shalom Center do strategic organizational planning to maximize impact and assure that daily work and special projects are done on an agreed schedule and help to advance the issues we engage and the position of the organization.

We are seeking a Program Coordinator who has demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience in the following areas:

  • Jewish and other spiritually rooted values, rituals, and practice.
  • Policies to transform social relationships in regard to subjugation of Earth, racism, sex and gender discrimination, and economic inequality -- all to bring about an inclusive democracy, and a Beloved Community that embraces Earth and human earthlings, based in an Ecological worldview rather than one of Hierarchy and Subjugation.
  • The use of “soul-force” through the vote and vigils, sit-ins and stand-ups, empowerment of the powerless, in achieving social change.  
  • Strong experience in how to use social media platforms. Specifically, we now use but need to augment a Website, FaceBook,  email blasts including a blog, and Twitter.  We barely use Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, podcasts ,and other forms of social media management.
  • Ability to manage an email list of more than 10,000 names and on-line fundraising campaigns, requiring efficient database organization and management. There is a constant flow of emails that need responses or acknowledgment, scheduling, calls and reconciling of contributions, changes of credit cards, changes of address and the general administration of the organization.
  • The ability to work with Rabbi Waskow to help him get the work he wants to accomplish done, while making sure that work is being done on a predictable schedule.
  • The ability to participate and coordinate strategic planning efforts.
  • The ability to monitor and supervise a part time bookkeeper and intern.
  • The ability to assist in fundraising efforts.

The Shalom Center has a limited budget and limitless goals. We will pay a salary of $40,000 with annual cost-of-living increases,  necessary withholding, accrued vacation and sick leave, paid time off for civil and Jewish holydays, and a contribution towards health insurance.

Although a Philadelphia residence for the Program Coordinator would probably be more convenient, we do not believe it is essential,

We are asking for candidates to make a two-year minimum commitment to the position. We also want someone who can start in the position by August 15th at the latest to support a smooth transition with the current staff person who will leave in October.

Please send a letter of interest, a CV and supporting materials you believe will show your unique qualifications to: Awaskow@theshalomcenter.org with “Program Coordinator” in the subject line.

Arthur Waskow: Full Biography and Selected Bibliography

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 2012

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) 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. He edits and writes for its weekly on-line Shalom Report.

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