Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow has since 1969 been one of the leading creators of theory, practice, and institutions for the movement for Jewish renewal. He founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center, a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life – speaking for peace, eco-social justice, and healing of the Earth. In 1993, with Reb Zalman he co-founded ALEPH.
Among his seminal works in Jewish renewal are The Freedom Seder; Godwrestling ; Seasons of Our Joy; Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life ; Godwrestling — Round Two (recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award in 1996); and A Time for Evey Purpose Under Heaven and Freedom Journeys, both co-authored with Rabbi Phyllis Berman. He has pioneered in the developing theology and practice of Eco-Judaism. He co-edited Trees, Earth, & Torah and edited Torah of the Earth: Exploring 4,000 Years of Ecology in Jewish Thought.
In 1996, Waskow was named by the United Nations a “Wisdom Keeper” among forty religious and intellectual leaders who met in connection with the Habitat II conference in Istanbul. He has been named by The Forward among the “Forward Fifty” of Jewish leaders and as one of the “most inspiring” US rabbis. Newsweek named him one of the fifty most influential rabbis. He has been honored by the Muslim American Freedom Foundation, the Interfaith Neighborhood Movement in Philadelphia, and the Jewish Peace Fellowship, and the Pennsylvania chapter of Interfaith Power & Light. In 2014 he was honored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Voice for Human Rights with its first Lifetime Achievement Award as a Human Rights Hero.
Waskow has also been deeply involved in inter-religious dialogue, study, and action. He initiated The Tent of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah — a gathering for retreats and shared social action of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Together with Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisti, and Rabbi Phyllis Berman, he co-authored and edited The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims He has written for such journals as Sojourners, The American Muslim, Tikkun, Cross-Currents, The Other Side, National Catholic Reporter, and Witness. He is a member of the steering committee of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate and the coordinating committee of the US Council of Elders
He worked from 1959 to 1961 as legislative assistant to a Member of the United States House of Representatives. In 1963 he received a Ph.D in US history from the Univ. of Wisconsin (Madison). He was among the founders and for fourteen years (1963-1977) was a Resident Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a center for independent analysis of governmental policy and activism for social change.
From 1977 to 1982, Waskow was a Fellow of the Public Resource Center in Washington, D.C., where he led a long-term research project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, on economic, environmental, technological, and public-policy aspects of community-based generation and use of renewable energy and energy conservation.
From 1982 to 1989 he was a faculty member of the Reconstuctionist Rabbinical College. He has also taught in the religion departments of Swarthmore Coll, Temple Univ, Vassar Coll., & Drew Univ.