Magazine article Tikkun

1986 Tikkun 2006

Magazine article Tikkun

1986 Tikkun 2006

Article excerpt

SOME OF THE MOST exciting articles that have appeared in Tikkun have been reprinted in the Tikkun Read- er: Twentieth Anniversary collec- tion, which is published by Roman and Littlefield this month. We have been very fortunate to have some of the world's premier intellectual and spiritual thinkers write for our magazine, and as there have been so many exceptional pieces in Tikkun, we thought we would present a taster of some of what is not in the collection. Through the collec- tion, and our selections here, we hope to give you a deeper sense of what Tikkun has been about. Joel Schalit, our managing editor, will be coming out with yet another collection focused on our Middle East articles. It was extremely difficult to choose which articles to present here, and we still feel that way too many important pieces have been left out. After all, there is really no substitute for reading the magazine.

-MICHAEL LERNER

1986 | VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1

Founding Editorial Statement

by Michael Lerner

TIKKUN MAGAZINE hopes to provide a voice for those who still dare to hope, for those who are not embarrassed to dream, for those Jews and non- Jews alike who are still moved by the radical spirit of the Prophets and who insist on keeping their message alive.

Keeping the Prophetic tradition alive, as our spiritual mentor Abraham Joshua Heschel pointed out in his book The Prophets, means immersion in the details of daily life. The Greek philosophers spent much of their time talking about abstract concepts of goodness, virtue, and justice. Eastern spirituality led its practitioners to the mountains, forests, and caves for meditation, and directed their energies away from the daily life of ordinary people, often dismissed as "illusion." But to the Prophets, God's message directed attention to daily life, to the marketplace, to the family, and to the state. To the Prophets, each time the powerless were oppressed was a fresh outrage, each time religion was used as a cover for economic immorality was a new affront to God.

The commitment to change the world, to demand justice and love in a world that has given up on these ideals, is not some pious sentiment clouding one's eyes to a hard-nosed look at reality. On the contrary, the rejection of moral neutrality, the committed stance on behalf of the oppressed, makes possible a deeper understanding of the dynamics of culture and society. It is precisely in the process of acting to transform the world that the world reveals its deeper structures and meanings. Yet we shall insist that any social transformation requires a systematic and deep intellectual inquiry-we may get inspiration from the Torah, but we shall also engage in critical thinking that requires intellectual integrity, innovation, and sustained analysis. Tikkun hopes to provide a forum for that kind of intellectual work.

But we are not uncritically committed to liberalism. When liberal values are used as a cover for materialism and individualism, we say clearly that these are not our values. We stand for tolerance, but not for ethical relativism, which is sometimes seen as either the primary justification for or the logical consequence of a commitment to tolerance. We stand for freedom- but not for giving unlimited freedom to corporations so they can exploit the people and resources of the planet. Nor do we necessarily take at face value the claim of Western societies to be the living embodiments of the liberal ideals that they so proudly proclaim. If radically alternative policies to those held by the dominant parties are systematically excluded from serious public consideration, if anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid forces must use civil disobedience to have their views even noticed (and even then, not given a serious public airing), if U.S. military interventions can be financed despite the opposition of a majority of Americans, if freedom of the press actually amounts to freedom only for those with vast economic resources to buy media time or space, if economic power concentrated in the hands of the few pre-shapes the options so that the range of serious political choices becomes dramatically narrowed, then we can get a different kind of unfreedoman unfreedom that celebrates itself as the paradigm of liberal ideals. …

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