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Rabbi Kaufman's Understanding The World

Jun 13, 2013

A conversation with Rabbi Arthur Waskow about Jewish Renewal, the Environment, Social Activism and much more.

Since 1969, Waskow has taken a leadership role in the Jewish Renewal movement. In 1971, he helped found the Fabrangen Havurah in Washington, DC. The Torah discussions at Fabrangen inspired Waskow's book Godwrestling (NY: Schocken, 1978).

He founded The Shalom Center in 1983 and serves as its director. In its inception the Shalom Center primarily confronted the threat of nuclear war from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing the story of Noah and the imperative to save the world from "a flood of fire". As the Cold War abated, the Shalom Center turned its focus toward ecology and human rights issues. From 2002 to 2008, it pursued shared action among Jews, Christians, and Muslims; opposition to attacks on American Muslim life and opposition to the US War in Iraq. From 2005 on, it has especially focused on the dangers of "global scorching" and the climate crisis.

Waskow's best-known books include Godwrestling (1978), Seasons of Our Joy (1982), Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life (1995), Down-to-Earth Judaism, andGodwrestling — Round 2: Ancient Wisdom, Future Paths (1996). With Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, and Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisti, he co-authored The Tent of Abraham (2006). With Rabbi Phyllis Berman he has co-authored "Tales of Tikkun: New Jewish Stories to Heal the Wounded World"; "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: The Jewish Life-Spiral as a Spiritual Journey"; and "Freedom Journeys: Tales of Exodus and Wilderness Across Millenia." He was the managing co-editor of Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B'Shvat Anthology, and he edited Torah of the Earth: 4,000 Years of Jewish Thought on Ecology(2 vols, Jewish Lights).