Life-history of Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Photo of Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 2013

<span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong>Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph.D., founded and is director of The Shalom Center and is the author or editor of about twenty-eight books on US public policy and on religious thought and practice. &nbsp;He has also taken a vigorous part in public advocacy and nonviolent protest and has been arrested about 27 times -- the most recent on his 88th birthday -- in protests on behalf of peace, civil rights, full equality for women and gay people, freedom for Soviet Jewry, and healing for the wounded earth.</strong></span>

The Shalom Center: 

Jewish and Interfaith Topics: 

The Shalom Center Board of Directors, August 6, 2016

THE SHALOM CENTER Board, March 21, 2016 Arlene Goldbard, President and Chair New Mexico; organizational consultant; Expert & author on cultural development and community-based arts Former member, ALEPH board arlene@arlenegoldbard.com Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Chair Emeritus 1016 W Upsal St., Philadelphia, PA 19119 Director of Social Justice Organizing Program, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Coll. Long-time former director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; Former executive vice-president, Jewish Funds for Justice.

Contact us!

The Shalom Center's street address is 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia PA 19119. Phone: 215/844-8494
For most general inquiries, please write Office@theshalomcenter.org
If you need to get in touch directly with Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center, write Awaskow@theshalomcenter.org

The Shalom Center: A Brief History, 1983 to 2008

The Shalom Center was founded in 1983 as a division of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, then a member of the RRC faculty, who became its director, and Ira Silverman, alav hashalom, then president of RRC.

Its original mission was to address the raging nuclear arms race from a Jewish perspective. It addressed this question as the danger of a planetary ecological disaster (the "Flood of Fire," in Jewish tradition) rather than an ordinary war-peace question.

Beginning in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the diminution of the nuclear arms race, The Shalom Center refocused on other planetary ecological dangers. Waskow developed both a theology and practice of eco-Judaism and wrote several books on those questions, while The Shalom Center went forward with these issues.

Arthur Waskow: Abbreviated Biography

Arthur Ocean Waskow was born in Baltimore on October 12, 1933 -- the real Columbus Day, a delight when he was young and much more problematic now. (He wasn’t named “Ocean” then; he and Phyllis Berman both took it as their middle name when they were married. And to his eighth-day Hebrew birth name, Avraham Yitzchak — Abraham Isaac — he added Yishmael, Ishmael, when he was 41.)

Waskow named to "Forward 50"

Dear Friends,

I am tickled and pleased to report that the Forward (the nearest there is to a national Jewish weekly in the US) this past week (November 11, 2005) listed me as one of the "Forward 50" (50 American Jews who are moving the community and the world forward, I guess; at least I hope).

Their summary of my life (close enough, but not wholly accurate; I did not co-found SDS) is as follows:

Shalom, Arthur

Forward 50
November 11, 2005


Arthur Waskow

Teachers-in-Residence from The Shalom Center

Rabbis Phyllis O. Berman & Arthur O. Waskow
One way in which The Shalom Center does its work (and supports the work financially as well) is by arranging Shabbatonim, Teacher-in-Residence engagements, etc., for Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow, founder (1983) and director of The Shalom Center and author of 22 books on Jewish thought and practice and on public policy, and his wife Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman, for 12 years the director of the summer institute at the Elat Chayyim Center for Healing & Renewal; founder and until her retirement in December 2015 for 36 years director of the Riverside Language program; story-writer, story-teller, midrash-maker, liturgist, and Spiritual Director in the movement for Jewish renewal; author or co-author of Becoming Whole Again, Freedom Journeys, Tales of Tikkun, and A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven. Usually the two lead Shabbatonim together for synagogues, campus Jewish groups, etc. Typically, they might.
  • As part of a Friday-evening service, do story-telling of new Jewish midrashic tales, which they have written.
  • On Shabbat morning, Arthur might lead a Torah-study discussion and Phyllis then lead a chanting service in Jewish-renewal style.


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