Tikkun Wins Best Magazine of the Year Award

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Tikkun Wins Best Magazine of the Year Award from the mainstream media’s Religion Newswriters Association

This year’s meeting of the Religion Newswriters Association was held in Philadelphia and its major focus was on how best to cover the Pope’s forthcoming visit. Panels filled with members of the Catholic Church hierarchy, many of them people who strongly disagree with the Pope’s progressive politics, were chosen to give the mainstream media people who attended this gathering a way to think about the pope’s visit. Their problem was obvious: as leaders of the Catholic Church they are not supposed to oppose the Pope, but they also don’t want his message too widely spread to the world, and particularly not to the Catholic world. Their solution was the same that many (not all) of the mainstream media often use when dealing with US elections—rarely report on what the candidates are advocating, focus instead on the personalities of the candidates and their standing in the latest polls.
Translating that strategy into the Pope’s visit, many of the Church leaders urged the media to focus on what a nice guy the Pope is, how caring he is for the poor and down-trodden through personal visits to them, and to avoid politics altogether, including his recent encyclical which linked both global poverty and the accelerating destruction of the environment to the destructive materialism and selfishness and competitiveness that are rooted in the daily dynamics of global capitalism. “Not the point,” they insisted. “The Pope has no politics—he is a religious thinker and leader, he is not Left or Right, his only commitment is to Jesus.” Apparently none of these archbishops and bishops and priests seemed to know that Jesus had a revolutionary politics that was very much about ending the suffering of people on this planet, and it was precisely that message that had made it so easy to spread the religion that St. Paul created in Jesus’ name.
So how in the world did this conference award Tikkun magazine with the Best Magazine of the Year Award for the second time in a row from the RNA Religious Newswriters Association? (Technical term of the award: Magazine Overall Excellence: 1st Place Winner: Tikkun Magazine). Well the short answer is that it wasn’t the religious Catholics who gave the award, but the mainstream religion newswriters, and they had once again recognized Tikkun as the most outstanding magazine that covers religion issues (this in comparison with the major magazines in the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu worlds as well as secular magazines which cover religion stories).There are many religious Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus who do appreciate, subscribe to, and write for Tikkun, but the RNA is not primarily for religious newswriters but for religion newswriters. And while some of them appreciate our role as the major voice of progressive Jews who affirm both Israel AND Palestine, and who bought the full page N.Y. Times ad “No Mr. Netanyahu, You do NOT Speak for American Jews and NO, Most Americans do Not Want a War With Iran” when Netanyahu spoke to the U.S. Congress, it was not that, or even our consistent praise of Pope Francis as our premier example of what we mean by ‘Spiritual progressive” that moved the award givers most. In my conversations with them, it was the high quality of writing and deep thinking in articles in the past year like:
*Peter Gabel on The Spiritual Dimension of Social Justice: Transforming the Legal Arena
*Helena Norberg-Hodge on Strengthening Local Economies as a Path to Peace
*Joy Ladin on the Genesis of Gender
*Ana Levy Lyons on Lessons from the Shadow Side of Football
*Joseph Lombard on Love for the Prophet Muhammed
*Philip Terman on Chana Bloch and the Poetry of a Jewish Humanist
*Stephen Zunes on Alternatives to war
*Rabbi Rami Shapiro on A Scientific View of God
*Martha Sonnenberg, M.D. A Critique of Invasive  End-of-Life Care
*Matt Meyer on Revolutionary Nonviolence
*David Korten on Adapting Ancient Ethical Principles to Modern Times
*Pamela Brown on Reimagining Jubilee: A Political Horizon for Our Times
*Shane Claiborne on Jubilee on Wals Street: Taking the Bull By the Horns
*Genevieve Vaughan on Transcending Market Logic: Envisioning a Global Gift Economy
*Nancy Holmstrom on Debt Forgiveness: Who Owes Whom for What?
*Joel Magnuson on Building an International Bank For Right Livelihood
* Joy Ladin on an LGBTQ Reading of Torah
*Paul Breslin on Reading the Poetry of CK Williams
*Tom Shakepeare on Deepening Disability Justice: Beyond the Level Playing Field
*Tzvi Marx on Disability in Jewish Thought
* Lydia Brown: The Crisis of Disability is Violence
* Ana Levy Lyons on Building the Religious Counter-Culture
*Vandana Shiva on Limiting Corporate Power and Cultivating Interdependence: A strategic plan for the environment
*Whitney Bauman on Facing the Death of Nature: Environmental Memorials to Counter Despair
*Julia Watts Belser on Disaster and Disability: Social Inequality and the Uneven Effects of Climate Change
*David Loy on a Bodhisattva’s Approach to Climate Activism
*Matthew Fox’s Love Is Stronger than Stewardship: A cosmic Christ Path to Planetary Survival
*Rianne C. Ten Veen’s Looking to the Quran in an age of Climate Disaster
*Dharma andAhimsa: A hinduTake on Environmental Stewardship
*David Danoff on What Makes a Poem Jewish?
So we are proud of Tikkun’s awards and deeply appreciative of those who have made tax-deductible donations to Tikkun to keep alive one of the few print magazines that is both progressive and open to spiritual insights from the great religious traditions, seriously Jewish but also interfaith,  pro-Israel but equally pro the rights of the Palestinian people, seriously seeking to overcome the ethos and institutions of global capitalism yet compassionate toward those who are afraid to take that step, and unrelentingly prophetic and hence refusing to accept the contemporary highest commandment of bourgeois rationality: “be realistic” which defacto means “accommodate to an oppressive and planet-destroying reality because there is no possible alternative.” And perhaps that great refusal on our part awakens in some journalists the idealism that originally led them into their profession, an idealism too many of them abandoned as they learned to “be realistic.” We are hoping that it was that part of their souls that we at Tikkun speak to,  and it was that which made possible winning this award for the past two years in a row. It is that part of the soul and conscious or unconscious reality of most people on the planet which makes us continue to believe in the possibility of “tikkun olam”—the healing and transformation of the world, and it is to that task that we invite others to join with us, to read Tikkun, and to join our interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives (the vision for which is presented at www.spiritualprogressives.org/covenant. The print magazine is NOT available online except to subscribers–though our online magazine is very wonderful, it is not the online version but the print magazine which won the award this year and last.
Now if only we had more people hearing our message, learning also from the Pope’s encyclical, and acting together to care for the refugees, end the vast inequalities on our planet (see our proposed Global Marshall Plan at www.tikkun.org/gmp ) and working to save the life-support system of our planet (see our proposed ESRA—Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution www.tikkun.org/esra) !!!  As long as Tikkun magazine continues, there will be a voice for transformation, healing, compassion and love in a world in which too much journalism is filled with cynicism, depressive acceptance of the status quo, and an arrogant attitude toward those who refuse to accept the current terms of political realism. Meanwhile, blessings to all who made this award possible and to all who seek to promote a world of peace, social and economic justice, environmental sanity, and generosity.
To discuss this information, contact:
Rabbi Michael Lerner  rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com
Editor, Tikkun Magazine   www.tikkun.org  510 644 1200  email: RabbiLerner.tikkun@gmail.com
Chair,  The Network of Spiritual Progressives  www.spiritualprogressives.org
Rabbi,  Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in S.F. and Berkeley, Ca.  www.beyttikkun.org
Author:   Jewish Renewal: A path to healing and transformation; Embracing Israel/Palestine; The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right; Spirit Matters; The Politics of Meaning; with Cornel West: Jews and Blacks–Let the Healing Begin; The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left; Surplus Powerlessness: The Psychodynamics of Daily Life and Work; and more.