Tikkun Community

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Tikkun Community

Tikkun Community is a network organization of people of many faiths aiming "for social justice and political freedom in the context of new structures of work, caring communities, and democratic social and economic arrangements."[1]

The Tikkun Community is listed as affiliated with the United for Peace and Justice.[2]

International coordinators

The following are listed as coordinators for the Tikkun Community, as of March 15, 2010.[3]

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina, Raleigh-Durham (Triangle Tikkun): Rhoda Silver
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont

Tikkun Magazine

Tikkun Magazine is a magazine composed of articles on social theory, religion/spirituality, social change, contemporary American and global politics and economics, ecology, culture, psychology, and Israel/Palestine. The publishers wish to advance the pursuit of tikkun olam (social justice and the repair of the world). The magazine supports "a progressive spirituality."[4]

Magazine staff

The following are listed as members of the Tikkun Magazine staff, as of March 23, 2010:[5]


The Early History of Tikkun and Its Founder Michael Lerner

The Tikkun Community did not arise out of thin air, but came from the New Left movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially those that involved former SDS organizer/leader Michael Lerner, who was one of the violent Seattle Liberation Front. New Left members who were not happy with the way SDS was heading, splitting into the terrorist action group, the Weather Underground Organization, Weathermen for short, and the equally violent Maoist faction known as RYM II which was controlled by the Progressive Labor Party PLP.

As young radicals left SDS, they gravitated to a new group, the New American Movement NAM, created by former SDSers and members of the Communist Party USA. They would later takeover the older "Democratic Socialists" movement of Norman Thomas and his successor Michael Harrington, the latter the founder of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee DSOC. This organization later became the hardcore marxist Democratic Socialists of America DSA.

Lerner wrote a book in 1973 entitled "The New Socialist Revolution: An Introduction to Its Theory and Strategy" which was reviewed in the March 11, 1973 editon of the New York Review of Books by Michael Harrington, described as "editor of the Newsletter of the Democratic Left, a new publication. Harrington politely but succinctly critiqued and criticized Lerner's book as failing to look at the variety of marxist theories and philosophies available for disillusioned member of the New Left. A few key paragraphs of that review will suffice to explain what a veteran marxist such as Harrington thought of a rising member of the New Left.

"I would like to give Michael Lerner's book an enthusiastic review. Unfortunately, I can't. "The New Socialist Revolution" is an earnest and serious attempt to relate theory to the practical work of transforming this society, but it fails because it is too narrowly argued, and above all because it does not contrary evidence."

"Lerner is a young veteran of the New Left, turning 30 this year, who has been tried, sentences and dropped from a teaching post for his activism. (He is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College.) His book is a kind of survey of the left strategies, and on a good number of issues he does challenge some of the easy cliches that abounded in the movement during the sixties. He is, for example, quite rightfully critical of Tom Hayden's thesis that it is possible to establish a liberated zone for radicals in a Shangri-la like Berkeley. He rejects the terrorism which the Weathermen tragically adopted, not so much out of militancy as in a frenzy of despair and confusion. And, writing in mid-1972, Lerner understood that a McGovern victory would have been progressive."

"The basic flaw of "The New Socialist Revolution" is methodological. All of the data and arguments cited come from leftists with whom Lerner agrees. As a result, he does not deal with the rather significant body of theorists who do not share his own particular interpretation of Marx..."

"Lerner, on the contrary, stays within the conceptual confines of the left as fairly narrowly defined. He quotes Harry Magdoff (KW: an identified Soviet spy during WW2), Gabriel Kolko (KW: A Canadian marxist and supporter of Hanoi) and David Horowitz (KW: a red-diaper baby who later defected from the Left and set up several organizations and projects to fight them - www.frontpagemagazine.com and its "DiscoverTheNetwork" database, among them) on the subject of imperialism but does not acknowledge that their view of the issue is not even the only one on the left (Barrington Moore's "Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery" contains a sober and I think devastating, analysis of Lerner's sources, and in "Toward a Democratic Left" and "Socialism" I developed a similar critique)."

Reconstituting The Progressive Tradition of American Jewish Intellectuals, Tikkun Conference, Dec. 18-20, 1988

a large, fold-out brochure of a "National Conference" themed as "Reconstituting the Progressive Tradition of American Jewish Intellectuals" promoted this event scheduled for December 18-20, 1988, in New York City. The entire brochure will be reproduced here with some editing out of duplications and registration information.

Cover Page:

"Tikkun: A bimonthly Jewish Critique of Politics, Culture and Society" "You are invited to attend a National Conference" - "Reconstituting the Progressive Tradition of American Jewish Intellectuals" - TIKKUN's First National Conference Speakers include: (The list will be reproduced later in the text of this brochure)

December 18-20, 1988, New York City, The Penta Hotel


Registration Page:

"The Importance of the Conference" "The biggest success the conservatives of the Jewish world have achieved in the 1980s has been convincing the liberal/progressive Jewish majority in the U.S. that it is actually a minority! In 1980, these Jewish conservatives predicted that the 38% of American Jews who voted for Reagan would grow in the Reagan years into a majority. Yet, in 1984, when the overwhelming majority of American voters gave Reagan a resounding victory, the Jewish vote for Reagan declined to 34% - and Jews were the only ethnic group besides blacks to overwhelmingly reject the conservatism of the Reagan revolution."

"Yet the image has persisted that the Jewish world is overwhelmingly conservative, and that liberal and progressive Jews are really "out of step>' That image has been greatly abetted by neoconservative magazines like "Commentary" and by many of the institutions of organized Jewish life that are dominated by conservative leadership. The mainstream media frequently turns to these conservative leaders whenever a "Jewish issue" is discussed - reenforcing the collective perception that the conservatives speak for the Jewish world."

"Nowhere has this been more evident than in the response to Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza. While Tikkun has articulated the position of the majority of American Jews - supportive of Israel and Zionism but critical of the occupation and the repressive policies of the Shamir government - the American Jewish establishment, through its control of the institutions of the organized Jewish community and its access to the media, was able to foster the impression that Jews were lining up behind Shamir and his hard-line policies."

"Tikkun was formed as a liberal/progressive alternative to Commentary and the voices of Jewish conservatism. Its remarkable growth - in just two and a half years we have become one of the largest circulation intellectual magazines in the U.S. - indicates the breadth of excitement about a new kind of voice for American Jews. Our conference is aimed at strengthening public awareness beyond our readership of this important liberal/progressive tendency in the Jewish world."

"The goal of the conference is to bring together Jewish intellectuals, artists, literary people, teachers, activists, and interested others in order to seriously reflect on where we are in the aftermath of the 1988 elections in the US and Israel. We will not have lengthy academic papers - but a vigorous debate and dialogue. Our intent is to share some of the most important intellectual and creative work happening within the developing communities of Jewish intellectuals and to celebrate the re-emergence of the progressive tradition. IF YOU CAN'T COME TO THE CONFERENCE...please subscribe to Tikkun and join the ongoing discussions that are shaping this new community."

Tikku, 5100 Leonna Street, Oakland, CA 94619 (415) 482-0805


Full Page Description of the Conference

"You are invited to attend a National Conference "Reconstituting the Progressive Tradition of American Jewish Intellectuals"

"From the 1920s through the 1950s American Jewish intellectuals helped forge a strong liberal and progressive tradition in American culture and intellectual life. There was, of course, no single political line or universally shared perspective, and disagreements were often intense. Yet this writers, artists, teachers, and activists played a significant role in defining a thriving public intellectual life which had a profound impact on the larger American society."

"In the 1960s and 70s much of that tradition disappeared or went underground. A revulsion at the horrors of Stalinism, the pressures generated by the Cold War and McCarthyism, the defeat of the left within the labor movement, and the emergence of social movements in the 1960s that were insensitive or even hostile to Jewish concerns all contributed to move some Jewish intellectuals to the right. Others withdrew into more specialized intellectual lives within the narrow confines of academic disciplines."

"Without the ferment and excitement that these progressives brought to Jewish life, younger idealistic Jews began to perceive the organized Jewish community as conservative, materialist, conformist and anti-intellectual. Many Jewish intellectuals found little to attract them in this kind of Jewish world."

"In the 1980s many previously disaffected intellectuals have begun to realize that there is too much of value in the history and spiritual legacy of the Jewish people to cede it to the conservatives and the conformists. The dramatic growth of "Tikkun", started in 1986 as the liberal alternative to "Commentary" magazine and to the voices of Jewish conservatism, has shown that there is a strong constituency for a renewed progressive Jewish tradition."

"The revived liberal/progressive tradition of American Jewish intellectuals is not exclusively concerned with "Jewish issues" nor with "politics" in the narrow sense. It addresses history and culture, philosophy and literature, music and the arts. This community includes secular Jews, internationalists, and many who do not int heir normal intellectual or political activity place a major emphasis on their Jewish. But, unlike the past when many liberal intellectuals demonstrated a knee-jerk hostility to anyone with a religious perspective, this community includes those who have rediscovered within the Jewish tradition depths of insight that have universal significance."

'"We invite you to join us at the first gathering of progressive Jewish intellectuals in many decades. The excitement and historic importance of this event will be accentuated by the inevitable clash of perspectives, as we attempt to analyze the tasks ahead for Jewish intellectuals in light of recent developments in the U.S. and in Israel."

Speakers include:

and many others

Sessions On:

  • Rethinking Israel and Zionism
  • American Politics After the 1988 Election
  • Ending the Cold War
  • The Conflict Between Blacks and Jews
  • Radical Alternatives to the Culture of Self-Interest
  • Modernism, Post-Modernism and Progressive Possibilities in Contemporary Culture
  • Judaism and Liberation Theology
  • Responding to Bennett & Bloom: Ethical Relativism & Cultural Pluralism in American Education
  • Anti-Semitism on the Left
  • Rethinking American Jewish Literature
  • The Decline of the Jewish Neo-Cons
  • Feminist Critiques of Jewish and Secular Culture
  • Conflicts in Remaining True to Progressive Values & the Jewish World

Monday Evening Banquet To Honor

The agenda with specific workshops and panels was found on another page, as follows:

"The Tikkun Conference Agenda" Sunday, December 18

  • Registration
  • Roundtable of Palestinians and American Jews
  • Learning Sessions With our Respected Teachers
  • Opening Plenary Session: Michael Walzer, Marge Piercy, Michael Lerner, Arthur Green, Nan Fink and Peter Gabel - Topic:

"Issues of Politics and Culture Facing the Contemporary Jewish Intellectual"

  • Concurrent Sessions:
  • 1. The Rise and Fall of the Neo-conservatives
  • 2. American Politics After the 1988 Elections - Strategies for the Coming Years
  • 3. The Progressive Possibilities in Contemporary Art, Music, Film and Theater
  • 4. The Social & Political Meaning of American Jewish Literature
  • 5. AIPAC, The Conservative Jewish Establishment and the Challenge from the Left
  • Concurrent Sessions:
  • 1. Judaism, Spirituality and Radical Politics: The Conflict and Possible Alliance Between Religion and Progressive Intellectuals
  • 2. Responding to bloom, Bennett & the Conservative Agenda for Education: Issues in Moral Relativism and the Tensions Between Religion and Progressive Intellectuals
  • 3. Zionism in Light of the Intifadah

Monday, December 19

  • Small Group Discussions
  • Concurrent Sessions
  • 1. Mass Culture, Post-Modernism & the Struggle for a Liberatory Culture
  • 2. Liberalism & its Critics
  • 3. How to End the Cold War
  • Anti-Semitism in the Left & the Dynamics of Internalized Oppression
  • Israel Plenary: The Role of Liberal/Progressive Jews in Light of Recent Developments in Israel & in the PLO
  • Small Group Discussions
  • Banquet: Ceremony to Honor the Contributions of Some Who Kept the Flame During the Darker Days. Honorees who will address the Banquet: Irving Howe, Grace Paley, Alfred Kazin. Plus Music & Poetry.

Tuesday, December 20

  • Concurrent Sessions
  • 1. The Conflict Between Blacks and Jews: Strategies for Healing the Rifts
  • 2. Feminist Critiques of Jewish & Secular Culture
  • 3. A Political Agenda for the 90s
  • Small Groups & Poetry Reading
  • Concurrent Sessions
  • 1. Conflicts in Remaining True to Progressive Values & the Jewish World
  • 2. The Role pf Progressive Values and Judaism in Cultural Creativity
  • 3. Jewish Perspectives on the Ecological Crisis
  • 4. Yuppie-ism & Segmented Professionalism: Radical Alternatives to the Culture of Self-Interest
  • Concluding Plenary and Strategy Session

Special sessions to create a network of progressive Jewish students - Time announced (sic) A revised conference agenda will be available at the Registration area

(End of brochure)

(KW: The list of speakers ran the gamut from Liberal to Marxist and positions in-between. Absent was the usual Communist Party USA CPUSA crowd, none from the WWP or SWP, and literally no black revolutionaries unless you count Cornel West among them. One ormer CPUSA member was Howard Fast was among the speakers, but he had broken with the Party decades ago. A small core of SDS and IPS leaders were there (Lerner, Gitlin, Booth and Waskow) and some from the Social-Democrat (later DSA) factions. Of interest is the presence of "Barney Frank", assuming that this is the same man who was a member of the U.S. Congress from Massachusetts (D-MA).

However, it should be noted that the word "Progressive" and "Progressive Thought/Values" meant "socialism" of the marxist-type for many, while some may have favored a British (more marxist) or Swedish (less marxist) type of socialism. For the hardcore leftists at the affair, you will find their records at KW by hitting their names and seeing their affiliations with the Democratic Socialists of America, Progressive Democrats of America, and Progressives for Obama Socialist Scholars Conference SSC, among other organizations/parties.)

External links

References