“The day is short, the task is great, the master is insistent. It is not your duty to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it….”
—Pirkei Avot, 2:21
I’ve been writing Tikun Olam, one of the earliest progressive Jewish blogs, since February, 2003. It focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state.
I wrote chapters for the essay collections, A Time to Speak Out (Verso, 2009) and Israel and Palestine: Alternate Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). I currently contribute regularly to Middle East Eye and The New Arab. I publish less frequently at Jacobin Magazine and Al Jazeera. In the past, I’ve contributed to Truthout, Alternet, Haaretz, Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, Comment Is Free, the Seattle Times, and Tikkun Magazine. The NY Times featured my reporting about the Shamai Leibowitz FBI tapes on its front page.
I earned a BA and BHL from Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, an MA in Comparative Literature from UCLA, and studied for a PhD at UC Berkeley. I spent an undergraduate and graduate year studying Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University where my teachers were Dan Pagis, Gershon Shaked and Dan Miron. I co-founded the Bay Area Jewish Music Festival.
Born and raised in the Hudson River Valley, my father’s family’s roots go back to Peekskill, NY in the 1920s. I’ve always had an abiding affection for the River and the Hudson Highlands. In 1969, I crewed for a week on Pete Seeger’s sloop, Clearwater.
I have been interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967 and have worked all my adult life to promote justice and tolerance.
I have an online photo gallery.
I hike the Cascades and have always loved folk and traditional music including world music. My wife, three children and dog live in a Craftsman home (1906) near the western shores of Lake Washington.
Favorite Yiddishisms: “Sleep faster, we need the pillows!” “We Jews are so happy…our enemies should only be so happy!”
Origins of Judaic Phrase, Tikun Olam
Tikun Olam is a Mishnaic term meaning “repair [or mend] the world.” Unlike some religious traditions, Judaism comprehends evil as something inherently human. In traditional terms, performing mitzvot (commandments) will repair the world in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. However, contemporary Jewish traditions view acts of justice and lovingkindness as tikun olam or making the word a better place. The mission of this blog is to create these acts: to search for justice and call out injustice.
Speaking engagements: I am available to give public talks.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not affiliated with Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Tikkun Magazine.
Contact Address: c/o Media Alliance, 2830 20th Street Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94110