Since its inception in 1986, Tikkun has been a powerful moral voice speaking truth to power and challenging injustice both here and in Israel. We have done so through various mediums, in the magazine, at our conferences, and in ads we have taken in major publications, as well as by participating in and joining protests and petitions, among others. To learn more about our activist arm, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, please click here.
Tikkun was one of the first magazines (and the first Jewish magazine) to publish articles from the New Israeli Historians revealing the role the Israeli army played in causing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel. And as recently as the spring of 2017, we had an entire issue dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Occupation with a wide-array voices from Israel, Palestine and the U.S.
In addition to challenging Israeli governments treatment of Palestinians and the Occupation, we have also challenged our own government here in the U.S. in articles, at our conferences, and in ads we have taken in major newspapers.
Tikkun olam––healing and repairing the world––cannot be done in isolation. To this end, over Tikkun’s 32-year history we’ve hosted conferences and public gatherings in every part of the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Israel — some of which drew thousands of people — to put forth a vision for a world based on love and justice. Our first conference was in 1991 in Jerusalem. We brought together the secular and religious branches of the peace movement, the Ashkenazic-dominated parts of that movement along with many Sephardim/Mizrachim who had felt excluded. This was the first time many of these groups sat down together to discuss issues of importance to them and to their efforts for peace. U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, a columnist for Tikkun, spoke at the event as did Yeshayahu Leibowitz, A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz, and poets Yehuda Amichai and Dalia Ravikovitch. It was a rich event with debates and wisdom from the many speakers and participants.
We held our first conferences in the U.S. in Berkeley in 2005 and in Washington, D.C. in 2006. Many of our current supporters attended these first Tikkun conferences that attracted approximately 3000 people. Speakers at these events included Medea Benjamin, Peter Gabel, Rev. J Alfred Smith, Sr., Riane Eisler, and Rabbi Michael Lerner, amongst many others. Local Tikkun community (later to be known as Network of Spiritual Progressive) chapters were born out of these conferences.
In honor of Tikkun’s 25th anniversary, in 2011 we held a conference at UC Berkeley, attended by hundreds of people. Justice Richard Goldstone, author of the UN report on Israel’s invasion of Gaza, delivered one of the best speeches of the night, alongside speeches, stories, and poems from Naomi Newman, C. K. Williams, Marcia Prager, and Raul Grijalva. Click here to watch lively videos from the event.
Again in 2016, we hosted another conference––this time in honor of Tikkun’s 30th anniversary––for liberals and progressives to strategize and explore what direction the Left should take after the results of the November 2016 elections. The conference focused specifically on strategy because, although liberal and progressive activists and intellectuals have worked hard to mainstream progressive ideas that have been historically marginalized by the media, they have failed to articulate a long-term strategy to heal and repair the world. At the conference, Tikkun recognized a number of individuals whose lives are embodiments of Tikkun’s message of global healing and transformation: Oliver Stone, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Clayborne Carson, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Aaron Davidman, and Fania Davis, among others.
In addition to conferences that help people feel part of something larger than themselves and which uplift spirits and commitment, we also recognize the importance of consciousness raising and public accountability through the use of the media. As such, we’ve placed a number of full-page ads in The New York Times consisting of statements endorsed by thousands of people urging politicians and readers to adopt our strategy for a world of love and justice.
In June 1987, Tikkun ran an ad in The New York Times calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The ad urged the American Jewish community to publicly endorse a plan for international peace.
In 1989, Tikkun placed its first full-page ad in The New York Times calling on Yitzhak Shamir, then prime minister of Israel, to resolve the conflict with Palestine by negotiating with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) without ruling out the possibility that the outcome of negotiations might be the creation of a Palestinian state. The ad was signed by important writers and thinkers such as Philip Roth, Betty Friedan, and Arthur Miller.
In December 2003, Tikkun ran another full-page ad in The New York Times calling for peace in Israel and Palestine through support of the Geneva Accord, an agreement specifying a territorial solution that would bring Israel back to its pre-1967 borders with minor border modifications
In May 2007, Tikkun placed a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for an ethical end to the Iraq War. The strategy for ending the war was three-pronged: (1) we urged Congress to pass a resolution rejecting the strategy of domination and embracing a strategy of generosity; (2) we called for the replacement of U.S. and British forces in Iraq with an international peace force acceptable to the Iraqi people; (3) and we insisted on building Iraq by launching the Global Marshall Plan.
In March 2012, we placed a full-page ad in The New York Times calling on President Obama to make dramatic advances in negotiating the universal elimination of nuclear weapons––specifically in relation to Iran––by disarming our nuclear weapons and preventing other countries from obtaining such weapons. The ad was signed by clergy, opinion shapers, social change activists, spiritual progressives from every religious community, and citizens like you––everyone agreed: No war. No preemptive first strikes on Iran.
In March 2015, we placed another full-page ad in The New York Times calling on peaceful resolution to the conflict with Iran. The ad read: “While many of us hope to see the people of Iran non-violently work to transform Iranian society to foster democracy and human rights, we know that war with Iran will only strengthen the repressive hold of the Islamic fundamentalists and decrease the security of Americans and Jews around the world. So we oppose the efforts of some in Congress and the Netanyahu faction in Israel who together seek to derail negotiations with Iran.” The ad was signed by over 2,400 individuals.
Together these approaches, articles, activism, conferences, and ad, play an important role in transforming consciousness and of helping people experience that they are part of a larger social movement and community that believes that love and justice can triumph over hatred and fear. In this historical moment, uplifting and bringing together voices that promote the importance of seeing the humanity of all people, recognizing the psychological and spiritual suffering people experience living in a morally bankrupt society, and put forth a vision of the world we want is more important than ever.