WHO IS RABBI MICHAEL LERNER?
Rabbi Lerner began his search for meaning in life at a young age and found a mentor and guide in Abraham Joshua Heschel, meeting him at the age of 12 and studying with him for over decades. Cornel West, professor of African American Studies at Harvard U. and author of Race Matters wrote: “Lerner is one of the most significant prophetic public intellectuals and spiritual leaders of our generation. Secular intellectuals and those who yearn for a major change in the direction of American society can learn a lot from reading his books.” Rabbi Lerner’s legacy of political activism was launched in 1964 when he attended UC Berkeley. He walked past students sitting in protest, listened to their speeches, and joined their efforts quickly becoming a leader in the student movement. The failures of the social change movements of the 60s and 70s inspired him to study psychology to gain a deeper understanding of the psychodynamics of American society. Intellectual wisdom and curiosity as well as spiritual depth have always been the foundation of his work and efforts, giving rise to many articles, books, and ultimately, Tikkun magazine.
Political Activist and Leader
In 1964, Lerner, while pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at U.C. Berkeley, was a member of the executive committee of the Free Speech Movement. He helped organize two major teach-ins: the first about the War in Vietnam, and the second to raise awareness among white people about racism and to support the newly-emerged Black Power movement. Read more . . .
After completing his second Ph.D. (in clinical and social psychology at the Wright Institute, Berkeley), Lerner founded the Institute for Labor and Mental Health, and became principal investigator of a major NIMH research project on stress at work and family life. In the course of that work, he and his colleagues uncovered the spiritual crisis in American society. Read more . . .
Spiritual Teacher and Innovator
Mentored by Abraham Joshua Heschel at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Lerner became controversial for his unwavering support of Palestinians and his insistence on seeing the humanity of both peoples in the Holy Land. Read more . . .
Editor, Intellectual, Author
To help educate progressives around the world about the spiritual and
psychological needs that the Left often ignored and the Right addressed in a distorted fashion, Lerner founded Tikkun Magazine in 1986 and has authored many books, and lectured on college campuses around the U.S. including Harvard, Columbia, U. of Chicago, U. of Michigan, UCLA, U. of Washington, and dozens more. Read more . . .
Tikkun’s Core Vision
We aim to expand public discourse beyond narrow reforms so as to honestly engage with and tackle the environmental, ethical, and spiritual crisis facing our world and envision and develop strategies to achieve a loving and just world in which people overcome utilitarian consciousness, treat one another as embodiments of the sacred, and respond to the universe with awe, wonder, and radical amazement. To learn more about what this entails and how to get there, click here.
Muhammad Ali Video
In 2016, Rabbi Lerner received a call from Muhammad Ali’s family asking that he speak at Ali’s funeral. Prior to his death, Muhammad Ali orchestrated his funeral, including where it would be held and who he wanted to speak. Rabbi Lerner was included on this list because of his political courage and actions. Listen to his speech that “blew the roof off the stadium” and inspired and gave hope to millions of people around the world.