The Shalom Center

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The Shalom Center introduces itself with the line, "A prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life", and gives the following descriptive information:

  1. The Shalom Center seeks to reunify political action and spiritual search. We consistently reframe social action as the expression of spiritual commitment, drawing on the celebration of festivals, life-cycle ceremonies, and daily practice in ways that move and change the wider society.
  2. The Shalom Center focuses on issues and alternatives that other organizations are not addressing—a pioneering, prophetic approach. Sometimes this has meant becoming the “tugboat” that can nudge larger organizational vessels in new directions; sometimes it has meant becoming a “seed-bed,” nurturing ideas that sprout and flower in other fields.
  3. When The Shalom Center addresses a specific issue -- like climate crisis, or the Iraq war, or the systematic combination of disemployment and overwork, or spiritual emptiness -- our approach is deep and systemic, looking beneath the specific issue to the power dynamics that have shaped it.


The Shalom Center was founded in 1983 as a division of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, then a member of the RRC faculty, who became its director, and Ira Silverman, alav hashalom, then president of RRC.

Its original mission was to address the raging nuclear arms race from a Jewish perspective. It addressed this question as the danger of a planetary ecological disaster (the "Flood of Fire," in Jewish tradition) rather than an ordinary war-peace question.