Gloria Steinem, the icon of the women’s movement, will visit Philadelphia to join Rabbi Arthur Waskow, social justice and faith-based activist, for a gala celebration benefiting the Northwest Philly based Shalom Center on Sunday, Nov. 3.
“This is What 80 Looks Like” honors Ms. Steinem and Rabbi Waskow as both celebrate 80th birthdays. It involves two events, a dinner at 5 p.m. and a program at 7 p.m., at Mishkan Shalom, 4101 Freeland Avenue in Roxborough. The public is invited to attend either or both of these ticketed events.
The two are coming together to share their lives and vision of activism. They will discuss their accomplishments, and offer personal stories from the tireless pursuit of social justice, in a conversation that climaxes the evening program. The evening includes musical performances, special guests, and delicious desserts.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, co-founder of Ms. Magazine and a well-known author, will introduce Ms. Steinem.
The celebration gains its theme from a comment by Ms. Steinem upon her 40th birthday, and on the recently renewed mutual admiration of the honorees rooted in a chance encounter more than four decades ago.
When Gloria Steinem turned 40, a reporter commented, “You don’t look 40.” She replied, “This is what 40 looks like! We’ve been lying for so long, who would know?”
Gloria Steinem and Arthur Waskow met at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. She was handing out literature about California farm workers and he was a delegate. Gloria recalls feeling disheartened on the verge of giving up. Arthur turned to her and said, “You must keep going! What you are doing, it’s really important!”
“I’ve never seen him since,” Steinem told Oprah during a 2012 TV interview. “But I have remembered, when I’m feeling the times are dark.”
Hearing that for Ms. Steinem it was a transformative moment led Rabbi Waskow to reconnect with her. “What I learned was -- You never know! You give a heart-felt hand to someone, and -- It’s like sowing seed and moving on. The seed takes root and sprouts and grows and -- amazing! -- years later there is a life-giving tree.”
Arlene Goldbard, Chair of the Mt. Airy-based Shalom Center, commented: “Both Gloria Steinem and Rabbi Waskow are incredibly active and have never given up their struggles. Across all generations, we can learn from them what it means to be an elder who’s an activist, and an activist who can draw on the experience of many years.”
Both of the honorees have devoted their lives to pursuing justice, equality and peace. A leader of the women’s movement for almost 50 years, Gloria Steinem will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year for her lifetime of accomplishments as a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist.
Named by Newsweek in 2007 as one of the fifty most influential American rabbis, Rabbi Arthur Waskow has been a prophetic voice in Jewish, multi-religious, and American life. A teacher and prolific author of more than 20 books, Waskow is known for his ability to interweave Jewish history and theology with contemporary issues.
The Shalom Center, founded by Rabbi Waskow in 1983, brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, healing the earth, and celebrating community. It develops deeper connections among Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachings and communities, and it creates rituals, prayers and celebrations that synthesize social justice with spiritual themes.
The Shalom Center’s current programs include addressing the global climate crisis and the power configurations behind that crisis, and peacemaking in the Middle East. Funds raised from the Nov. 3 program will help to support these ongoing activities.
The evening program, in addition to the moderated conversation, will include musical performances by MIRAJ, a cappella Jewish women’s group, and Anna Crusis Women’s Choir, the country’s longest running feminist choir. Desserts and socializing will end the evening.
Tickets for the Honor Event alone are $50, or $25 for students or disemployed (those who are jobless or underemployed). Dinner tickets are $180 (until Oct. 1), with advance registration required. Reservations are recommended for the evening program.
Forty community and faith groups in Philadelphia are supporting the Shalom Center by co-sponsoring this program. More information, registration and tickets can be purchased at: by clicking here
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