The MC for the Humanity award evening sponsored by the International Association of Sufism was Michael Krasny who is a brilliant interviewer whose radio program Forum on KPFA in the Bay Area has for a long time been recognized as one of the most outstanding interview programs in the country. That he volunteered to lead the evening was itself a deep tribute to Michael Lerner.
A deeply moving and articulate video tribute was offered by Cornel West, the African American philosopher now at Harvard Divinity School who has been an ally with Lerner for many decades.
West shared his admiration and gratitude for Lerner and his prophetic work over the years including of course his leadership with Tikkun Magazine, Lerner’s intellectual, political, cultural and spiritual journal that he founded thirty four years ago and that is currently moving into an exclusive on-line magazine. It has been a lightning rod for intelligent analysis and critical thinking for activists and others for all those years. The elegance of West’s words and depth of his smile and obvious gratitude for his brother Michael shown through splendidly.
I was honored to sit at the round table with Michael and his wife Cat Zavis, executive director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and other close allies over the years—and to sit at his left hand! Cat remarked that it was rare to be to the left of Michael Lerner! I was pleased to share ideas with Michael throughout the evening. On my left was a Martha Sonnenberg, a doctor, who had known Michael for 54 years (!) beginning with her meeting him as a student at UC Berkeley in the wild sixties when she was nineteen years old.
Michael Lerner has been a champion of justice-making throughout his life. And of peace between Jews and Palestinians. And, like every prophet, he has paid a steep price including within his own Jewish community.
In his journal Tikkun, whose title means “Healing the World,” and in his books over many years he has promoted well thought out and concrete ideas for making peace in Israel that would honor both sides. He has received death threats and even attacks on his home for standing up and doing so. But he has kept on keeping on as prophets do.
Lerner’s most recent book, Revolutionary Love, offers a “political manifesto to heal and transform the world.” It lives up to its name famously.
I am grateful for the many occasions over the years when I was invited to publish in Tikkun magazine which, grounded in Jewish wisdom, is also open to interfaith teachings that inspire common ground for justice making and healing.
To subscribe to Tikkun, click HERE
Banner Image: Headshot of Rabbi Michael Lerner originally used in article discussing his speech about Palestinian rights, at Muhammad Ali’s funeral. For article click HERE
Queries for Contemplation
Meditate on the term Tikkun, healing the world. Consider how that one word summarizes the Via Negativa—getting in touch with the suffering of the world—not running from it, not going into denial and/or distraction, but facing it. Let the suffering of the world speak to you, reveal itself to you.
And then comes the healing, that is the other side of Tikkun. Meditate on that too. What are you being called to do, called to heal?