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Shalom Center


Abstract

The Shalom Center draws on the wisdom and practices of the Jewish tradition to promote social and ecological healing, peace, justice, and community-building through a variety of projects and programs. Appealing to Jewish teachings about maintaining a rhythmic balance between work and rest, the Shalom Center runs programs such as the "Free Time/Free People" initiative, which draws together professionals, religious and secular leaders, and community organizers to counter "overwork" in the United States society. The Shalom Center has undertaken three major efforts over the last five years: building support in the Jewish and multireligious communities to end the Iraq war; bringing together Jews, Muslims, and Christians in shared Abrahamic celebrations and social action;  and working for healing of the relationship between the human community and the earth, especially in regard to the climate crisis of global scorching.  In regard to this last effort:  The Shalom Center has organized a Beyond Oil campaign, including the Green Menorah Covenant to end America's addiction to over-use of oil and aim by 2020 to reach the "Hanukkah Standard" of using one-eighth the amount of oil now used; celebrates Jewish holidays and life-cycle turning points (such as Tu B’Shvat, Sukkot, and Pesach) in ways that promote ecological healing; and encourages creative liturgical and prayer forms that emphasize interconnectedness with the earth. The Center also promotes ecologically responsible consumerism by encouraging "eco-kosher" practice. In addition to raising awareness about the dangers of corporate globalization and the need for a democratic and ecologically-sustainable alternatives, the Center has worked for peace between Israel and Palestine. The Shalom Center has also created two anthologies on Judaism and the Environment: Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology (Jewish Publication Society, 1999) and Torah of the Earth (Jewish Lights, 2000). The Center keeps members informed and connected to its work through a weekly email from its Director, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, and through constantly updated postings on its Website at http://shalomcenter.org/. Rabbi Waskow has also written a book on the past, present, and future of everyday Jewish practice in the light of ecological concerns entitled, Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life (Morrow, 1995).

Religion

Judaism

Geographic Location

United States of America

Duration of Project

1983–Present

History

The Shalom Center was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Arthur Waskow and then-president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), Ira Silverman. The Center functioned first as part of RRC and then as an independent institution until 1993 when it merged with P’nai Or Religious Fellowship to create ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. In 2005 it once again became an independent 501c3 institution.

Mission Statement

"The Shalom Center is a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life, drawing on Jewish and other spiritual traditions to seek peace, pursue justice, heal the earth, and build community."

Partner Organizations

Arnow Family Funds
The Alan B. Slifka Foundation
The Dorot Foundation
Hazon
The Nathan Cummings Foundation
The New World Foundation
The Rita Poretsky Foundation
The Righteous Persons Foundation
The Shefa Fund
The Walter and Elise Haas Fund

Long-Term Goals

To join in weaving a web of world community that makes war far less likely and healing of the earth far more likely.

Bibliography

Beside the books listed above: The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, by Sr. Joan Chittister OMB, Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisti, & Rabbi Arthur Waskow (Beacon, 2006).

Additional Research Resources

visit: http://shalomcenter.org/

Contact Information

The Shalom Center
6711 Lincoln Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Ph:  215.844.8494
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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