“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

Tikun Olam, founded in 2003, is the foremost blog addressing Israeli national security issues. It regularly publishes reports and documents subject to Israeli military censorship or judicial gag orders.  It also published in 2009, material from top secret transcripts of FBI wiretaps of the Israeli embassy, exposing an influence campaign advocating an attack on Iran.  The source of these materials, Shammai Leibowitz, paid for his commitment to avoiding war against Iran, with two years in a federal prison. The NY Times featured my reporting about the FBI tapes on its front page.

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.

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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.

You can find me at Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Mastodon.

I hike the Cascades and have always loved folk and traditional music including world music. My wife I have lived in Seattle for 25 years.

Favorite Yiddishisms: “Sleep faster, we need the pillows!” “We Jews are so happy…our enemies should only be so happy!”

Origins of  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.

I welcome doing public talks and interviews

Support Tikun Olam: This blog is a project done for love and passion. I gratefully accept donations from those who find value in what I do (see Paypal link above).

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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

7 thoughts on “About – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. Dear Richard,

    Last night July 21st 2012 ELAL flight :Y75 from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong turned back one hour after leaving Ben Gurion airport. The passengers were told after landing that there was a hydraulic problem, when they landed the plane was surrounded by ambulances and security forces. The flight was then delayed and eventually left at 7:04am this morning.

    The weird thing is that not one Israeli media outlet had written anything about this incident which is suspicious, as they usually report on events like these, the only reason I can see for this media silence is a gag order by the courts. This would suggest that it was not a technical problem but a security issue.

    As my daughter was on this flight I would really like to know what really happened. I hope you could be of some help.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Why would you post things that put our troops and our people in danger. No matter what side of this you are on, posting something like Israeli war plans is just unthinking and unacceptable. You can’t possibly imagine the implications of a thing like war plans, if its true — And if it is not you may have played into the hands of people who want others to believe this is true.
    I appreciate, as a (40 year) working Journalist who gets paid for it, our 1st amendment rights, our responsibility to report the news and our responsibility to be loyal to our countries and protect secrets when that need arises. I am an American too, but that means the secrets of our Allies are just as important. You don’t know if you are putting American troops in danger.
    I respect your blog and just ask that you consider my comment.

    1. Richard,
      Adding to my post above I have one question. What if those plans were not the Israeli plans but rather the United States’ plans? And no matter if they were leaked by your source in apparently in Israel or by a Pentagon official. You could be subject to criminal prosecution by the United States.
      And experienced reporter knows that no one tells a reporter (or in this case blogger) anything they don’t want them to know for some reason which may or may not be apparent to the writer. The writer is supposed to make a judgement call as to various things; newsworthiness; the credibility of the first source; and the underlying reasons for the gift of information.
      Thirdly documents are great. How did you verify their veracity?
      Then professionals understand the basic rules of journalism:
      Let’s start with the two source rule. It is nice to get a leak of magnitude. But then it is important to verify the story with another source. It takes two [credible] sources to turn a rumor into a story. It takes two sources.
      Let’s continue to the other side of the story – If someone with a perspective gives you information, then you owe it to your readers to contact the other side – someone with the opposite perspective for their version and input to the story.

  3. You write “I consider myself a supporter of Israel”. A supporter of Israel listens to what the Palestinian leadership says, mostly in Arabic but some in English and Hebrew. They will never give up what they call ‘the right of return’ and if they sign a peace treaty with Israel it will be, as they say, part of the ‘phases plan’ meaning that they will achieve Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 border and continue their effort to eliminate Israel – all the way to the sea.
    A supporter of Israel should do exactly that – support Israel, not support the people who, offered the land illegally occupied by Jordan in 1948, refused it.
    There is a peace agreement with Egypt. Now that a regime has changed to Islamic – they want to make changes to the agreement. Egypt’s president Sadat was murdered for signing a peace treaty with Israel.
    It is easy to sit in the US and criticize the Israeli government that has to secure its’ peoples security day and night.
    Liberalism is a nice exercise. If it works – fine. If it does not – well, it is Israelis who will pay the price not the person sitting by a lakeside in new York state.

    1. kalte Lokshen YOU ARE 10000000000000000% RIGHT. its really safe for him by the lake as he endlessly demonizes netanyahu and publishes Israel secret documents.

  4. Dear Richard,

    Carry on the good work. Those who spread fear do so because they have no other argument to make. The truth is we can’t carry on endlessly in a status quo of of hatred, fear and destruction between Israelis and Palestinians. If we aim high we at least give ourselves a chance of achieving something better. Not trying simply because we fear the consequences, is a cop out – the excuses of those who really don’t believe in the faith/people/state they claim to protect.

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