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Hearing the Call: Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Waskow turns 75 this month. In honor of that milestone, we sat down over Skype to talk. I first met Arthur in 2002 when I attended a week-long class on tikkun olam which he was teaching at the old Elat Chayyim retreat center in Accord, New York. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a terrific introduction to his life and work. Arthur’s made a career of highlighting Judaism’s prophetic tradition and its call for social justice. That call transformed him, a staunchly secular civil rights and anti-war activist, into one of the Left’s most outspoken rabbis. Social justice has always been central; his doctoral dissertation focused on the 1919 race riots. In his early political career he co-wrote a bill to create a National Peace Agency, and served as senior staff at the Peace Research Institute (later the Institute for Policy Studies.)

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