May 20 – 22, 2016
About Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Since 1969, Rabbi Arthur Waskow has been one of the creators and leaders of Jewish renewal and of several important interfaith projects addressing issues of peace, justice, and healing of the earth. He founded The Shalom Center in 1983 and has been its director since then.
His Freedom Seder (1969) for the first time in Jewish history honored at Passover the liberation of other peoples as well as that of the Jewish people. It seeded a generation of many different Passover seders by many different authors that addressed the issues of our time. His book Seasons of Our Joy has become a classic guide to the history, practice, and spiritual meaning of the festival cycle. Godwrestling and Godwrestling — Round 2 reconnected the community with Torah-study in new forms and with new content.
He and his wife Rabbi Phyllis Berman have brought new spiritual depth to celebration of the Jewish life-spiral as co-authors of A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven and have reinterpreted the stories of Exodus and Wilderness in Freedom Journeys.
For the last seven years, The Shalom Center’s work and Rabbi Waskow’s have focused on healing the climate crisis.
He is a member of the steering committee of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate and has taken part in prayerful multireligious public protests and vigils, including several instances of civil disobedience.
In 1995 Waskow was named by the United Nations one of forty Wisdom-Keepers from around the world in connection with the Habitat II conference. In 2014 he was honored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights with its first Lifetime Achievement Award as a Human Rights Hero. In 2015, the Forward named him one of the “most inspiring” rabbis.
About Rabbi Phyllis Berman
Rabbi Phyllis Berman founded (1979) and for 36 years was Director of the Riverside Language Program — a unique and renowned intensive school (located in New York City) for teaching English language and American culture to newly arrived adult immigrants and refugees from all around the world. She co-authored a book of stories of the lives of immigrants, Getting into It, several articles on the impact of American public policy on immigrants and refugees, and a history of RLP and reflections on the meaning of “immigration,” called Becoming Whole Again. She retired late in 2015, and has begun a new career as a spiritual director.
Berman has also, since the early 1980s, been a leading Jewish-renewal liturgist, prayer leader, story-writer, and story-teller.
From 1994 to 2005, Berman was Director of the Summer Program of the Elat Chayyim Center for Healing and Renewal. She is the co-author of 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. She wrote two essays for the book The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Peace and Hope for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
She was chair of the board of the P’nai Or Religious Fellowship from 1985 to 1993, and a member of the board of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal from 1993 to 2002. Her articles on new ceremonies for women and new midrash have appeared in Moment, Worlds of Jewish Prayer, Tikkun, and Good Housekeeping. She was ordained an Eshet Chazon (Woman of Vision) by the Jewish-renewal community in 1991 and Rabbi by the ALEPH ordination program in 2004.
From its founding in 2002 through 2009, she has been the key planner and facilitator for the spiritual retreat group known as The Tent of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah.
Rabbis Waskow and Berman have together taught, spoken, and led Shabbatonim and prayer services for synagogues, retreat centers, campuses, and interfaith conferences throughout the USA and the world — Israel, Beijing, Edinburgh, Geneva, Vienna, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Sweden, and England.