Tanenbaum.org https://tanenbaum.org Combating Religious Prejudice Tue, 18 Feb 2020 22:24:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://tanenbaum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/cropped-FaviconLogo-1-32x32.png Tanenbaum.org https://tanenbaum.org 32 32 Do you know a Peacemaker in Action? https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/02/peacemaker-nomination/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 22:05:40 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17520

Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action Dr. Sarah Ahmed (Iraq) and James Lual Atak (Sudan)

Change is inevitable.

Transformation, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution all require hard work.

Tanenbaum invites you to help us honor these hard workers whom we call Peacemakers in Action. The Peacemakers in Action award honors two religious actors central to peacebuilding efforts around the world. Emerging from the creative power of all religions, they are the individuals who make peace possible.

Nominate the next Peacemaker in Action today!

Tanenbaum’s Peacemaker in Action award acknowledges religiously motivated individuals who put their lives at risk to advance peace in areas of armed conflict around the world.

Who are Peacemakers in Action?

Peacemakers are peace activists. They positively impact local, national, and international communities. They work behind the scenes to prevent violence, mediate hostilities, negotiate ceasefires, conduct citizen diplomacy, transform conflict, and promote reconciliation. These individuals create sustainable people-to-people peace through civil society initiatives, education, music, traditional ritual, and more.

What are the criteria?

To be selected, the following five criteria must be evident in the candidates’ nomination materials:

  1. Religious Motivation. Their peacemaking work has been fueled by their religious and/or
    spiritual beliefs.
  2. Armed Conflict. They work or have worked in an area of armed conflict.
  3. At Risk. Their lives and/or liberty have been at risk as they pursued peace.
  4. Locally Based. They are closely connected to the conflict situation at the local level. Most awardees are indigenous to the communities they serve, but some have left their original homes and spent many years embedded in a new environment.
  5. Relatively Unknown. Despite their impact, they have not received significant international attention or support at the time of selection.

What do the awardees receive?

Awardees will be named Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action and given a cash prize to strengthen their work. Tanenbaum will create greater recognition of the Peacemaker by promoting their work to the public and producing a case study of their experiences, techniques, and strategies to help educate other peacebuilding practitioners.

New awardees will also automatically become part of the extraordinary group of their peers in Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network. Upon joining, awardees will be expected to participate in Network activities such as calls, collaborative projects, and working retreats, where they will have the chance to learn from their fellow Peacemakers and work together to benefit each other’s communities.

Who should be nominated?

Nominate any candidate(s) who meets the criteria. We also accept self-nominations.

Tanenbaum actively seeks to identify women Peacemakers in Action. While religious peacemakers of all stripes are often categorically excluded from peace processes, many women face the added challenge of working in deeply patriarchal societies. Around the world, women testify that their critical work is frequently undermined and worse, prohibited. Distinguishing them makes it harder to sideline their work. Today, Tanenbaum looks to recognize women in conflict zones across the globe.

We are now accepting applications for the 2020 Peacemaker in Action Award.
Please click here to fill out the online nomination form.

Alternatively, you may
 download the nomination form (also available in French and Spanish) and email the completed form or any questions to conflictres@tanenbaum.org.

We also offer Google Form options:

Google Form in English

Google Form in Spanish

Google Form in French

Thank you for submitting your nominations!

What do anti-Semitism and anti-Immigrant hate have in common? https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/02/sojourners/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 22:57:55 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17498


Anti-Semitic hate crimes are rising in NYC and worldwide at alarming rates. And there’s a similar surge in anti-immigrant sentiment. So we wanted to know, what do these two hate movements have in common?

At the request of Jim Rice, editor of Sojourners magazine, I wrote a piece attempting to answer exactly that question. He’s made it available for the next few days…so take a look if you can.

Please let me know what you think,

Joyce S. Dubensky

The Festival of Colors: Holi is Almost Here! https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/02/holi/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 18:10:53 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17494

Dear Friends,

The Hindu festival of Holi is coming up in a few short weeks. Holi is often called the festival of colors, because “playing Holi” means flinging colors. This year, Holi will take place on March 9th and 10th and, depending on where it’s being celebrated, may last one or two days.

Due to your location, workforce, or clientele, you may experience the impact of Holi on the workplace more so than some. To be prepared, and for more information about the holiday and potential workplace implications, take a look at our new Holi Fact Sheet!

In peace,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

Photo: Steven Garner

Leadership Transition Underway at Tanenbaum https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/02/leadership-transition/ Wed, 05 Feb 2020 18:42:20 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17482

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters of Tanenbaum,

Joyce Dubensky, Tanenbaum’s CEO for the past 18 years, has decided it is time to transition the organization’s leadership and to step down from her executive responsibilities effective June 1st. We are grateful to Joyce for her years of service, the new heights to which she has taken Tanenbaum, and excited that she will remain with us as CEO Emerita, Senior Strategic Advisor.

We are also very excited to announce that Rev. Mark Fowler will assume Tanenbaum’s leadership on June 1st. As most of you know, Mark has been at Tanenbaum for over 12 years and works closely with Joyce, including over the past few years as her partner in leading Tanenbaum. The Board has long recognized Mark’s gifts including his strategic approach to our work, and we are delighted that he will continue Tanenbaum’s tradition of providing innovative, practical and long-term solutions to religious bigotry in the years to come as our new CEO.

In the months ahead, we will all have many opportunities to express our appreciation to Joyce—including honoring her at our Gala—and also to show our support of Mark as he assumes his new duties. In the meanwhile, we are thankful for the smooth and professional transition that Joyce and Mark are leading.

As we continue to combat religious bigotry, we look forward to working with you,



Justin Foa                      Dr. Georgette F. Bennett
Board Chair                    President and Founder

P.S. At the Gala, we’re honoring Joyce with Tanenbaum’s Visionary Award for all her contributions and are launching a Visionary Fund to build on her work. We hope you’ll join us on May 27th at the Gala, and consider a donation in Joyce’s honor.

Tanenbaum on ABC-TV with Sandra Bookman https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/01/abc-with-sandra-bookman/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 20:31:26 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17450 Friends –

ABC’s Here and Now with host Sandra Bookman sat down with us on MLK weekend to discuss rising hate crimes and anti-Semitism, and how Tanenbaum work to combat it.

If you didn’t catch the interview live, you can watch it here!



Joyce and Mark

Confront Hate on Holocaust Remembrance Day https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/01/holocaust-remembrance-day/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 21:26:23 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17407

In a 2005 resolution, the U.N. designated January 27 as Holocaust Remembrance Day—and condemned without reserve all manifestations of religious violence.  Today, our remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust is unavoidably followed by more recent memories—of Jersey City, of Halle, of Pittsburgh—but also a convicting desire to combat their source.  In a recent evening of our “Courageous Conversations” series, we applied a variety of perspectives—religion, media, ideology, politics—to reach the same conclusive response: a key way to confront anti-Semitism is to start with a conversation.

A bigotry as pervasive as anti-Semitism requires a multi-layered analysis to grasp—and even then, its roots go much deeper than many realize. But the panelists for our Confronting Hate event provided helpful insights to begin this process of understanding.

Georgette Bennett, our President and Founder, opened with a moving speech on the new biography of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum[1] and how Marc’s work fighting hate is relevant to this critical moment in history.

For example, Georgette described Marc’s emphasis on the link between verbal violence and physical violence. She also denounced silence in the face of atrocity as implicit permission for these kinds of hate crimes, and challenged the audience to imitate Marc’s practice of engaging with people holding opposite viewpoints in open—and respectful—conversation. She noted, Marc was slow to call someone an “anti-Semite” but quick to condemn “anti-Semitism.”

A stimulating panel discussion followed. Judy Banki, an expert in Jewish-Catholic relations, discussed her work with Rabbi Tanenbaum including Nostra Aetate at Vatican Council II. TM Garret shared his personal story as a former white supremacist, and Muslim investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed explained how the far-right white supremacist movement affects politics around the world.

Judy spoke of her encounters with Catholic anti-Semitism, both personally and professionally, from pre-Vatican II to now.  She explained how it was present in textbooks, films and even prayers, and how Nostre Aetate helped start a process of changes. She detailed how this has changed, how it has not—and the work it took to get here.

TM’s powerful sharing revealed how he progressed from hateful jokes, to hate speech, to white supremacy, and into full-blown anti-Semitism. He made the distinction between leaving a hate group and leaving hate—how his bigotry did not end fully for over a decade after resigning as a leader of a KKK group and leaving the white supremacy community behind. It was only then, that he was finally able to confront his anti-Semitism.

Nafeez discussed how he investigated the shift in far-right movements on both sides of the Atlantic from their traditional anti-Semitism to their adoption of Islamophobic positions as well. He explained that far-right political groups often make a point of publicly denouncing anti-Semitism and Nazism (i.e., publicly disassociating from their historical, anti-Semitic roots), but then continue to support neo-Nazi groups and anti-Semitic stereotypes. Nafeez thus concludes that contemporary prejudice against racial and religious minorities, no matter what is said on the surface, is still deeply rooted in anti-Semitism.

[1] Confronting Hate: The Untold Story of the Rabbi Who Stood Up for Human Rights, Racial Justice, and Religious Reconciliation is sold by Tanenbaum at a discounted price, to make it available to people who wish to read it.


Watch Tanenbaum on ABC’s Here & Now, this Sunday at Noon https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/01/tanenbaum-on-abc/ Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:14:47 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17393

Friends –

This week, we sat down with Sandra Bookman, host of the ABC show, Here & Now, to discuss Tanenbaum’s years of combating religious bigotry.

The episode airs this Sunday, January 19 on ABC 7 News at noon!

Tune in for a riveting conversation about the increase in religiously motivated hate crimes, and how Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network are combating bigotry around the world.

In friendship,

Joyce S. Dubensky & Mark Fowler
Tanenbaum CEO & Deputy CEO



Remembering the Very Rev. James Morton https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/01/rev-james-morton/ Wed, 08 Jan 2020 18:28:09 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17357

Credit: James Estrin/The New York Times

The other day, I received an official notice from Rev. Chloe Breyer via email, announcing the death of the founder of the Interfaith Center of New York. The Very Rev. James Morton, an icon and interreligious leader of enormous stature, had passed. Her tribute recalled the breadth of his contributions. I paused to think of how I remembered him.

But what struck me later, were two other emails I received. I got an email from Scottie Twine, a former colleague, one of my partners in building Tanenbaum and a dear friend, who wrote to make sure that several of us had taken note of Jim’s passing.

She knew Jim Morton from living on the Upper West Side and from her own social justice and environmental work (he served on the organization she and her husband founded, Upper Westside Recycling). Scottie shared that Jim and his wife Pamela had reached their 65th anniversary just before he passed. She closed her note to me by saying “Jim was a man who followed his heart, and we’re glad to have had him in our lives.”

A second came from Tanenbaum‘s founder and Board President, Georgette Bennett. She had seen Scottie‘s email and shared her own personal memories and special moments that are not to be forgotten.

The public tributes on Jim’s work from the arts to housing to visioning will no doubt continue in the days to come. But I think the greatest tributes are the quiet sharings of friends, who remember Jim Morton, are grateful for his life, and hold him in their hearts.

May his memory be for a blessing,

Joyce Dubensky
Tanenbaum CEO


Lunar New Year is around the corner https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2020/01/lunar-new-year-2020/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 15:30:33 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17348 Dear friends,

Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is coming up on January 25th! The holiday is celebrated by many across Asia and around the world.

Observances of Lunar New Year vary throughout the world, with a common theme of celebrating time together and gathering with family. Employees may require time off and organizations should be aware of the holiday’s business implications.

Learn more from our Lunar New Year Fact Sheet!

In friendship,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum


Our 2020 Resolutions https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/12/2020-resolutions/ Tue, 31 Dec 2019 17:59:58 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17294 Friends—

At Tanenbaum, we’re excited to welcome 2020 with you — by sharing our New Year’s Resolutions from diverse religions, beliefs and traditions.

The following words of wisdom inspire us to create change, one day at a time. We hope they inspire you as well,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

Click to download PDF



To Live the Golden Rule
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
Christianity, Matthew 7:12

To Embrace Religious Differences
Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.
The Bahá’í Faith, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Bishárát

To Act Virtuously
Cultivate virtue in yourself, And it will be true.
Taoism, Tao Te Ching chapter 54

To Respect the Earth 
Ether, air, fire, water, earth, planets, all creatures, directions, trees and plants, rivers and seas, they are all organs of God’s body. Remembering this a devotee respects all species.
Hinduism, Srimad Bhagavatam (2.2.41)

To Treat the Stranger with Kindness
And a stranger shalt thou not wrong, neither shalt thou oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land
of Egypt.
Judaism, Exodus 22:20

To Challenge Fake News
I replied thus: I am Zoroaster, the staunch enemy of liars and falsehood. I shall fight against liars as long as I have strength and shall uphold truth and righteous people whole heartedly.
Zoroastrianism, Yasna 43 (Verse 8)

To Advocate for Justice
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just.
Islam, Sahih International 4:135

To Speak with Honesty and Compassion
Speak only that which will bring you honor.
Sikhism, Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib

To Practice Nonviolence 
One is not called noble who harms living beings. By not harming living beings one is called noble. Buddhism, Dhammapada (Verse 270)

To Make Peace Possible
Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
Confucianism, Confucius