The Soul of Activism: A Spirituality for Social Change

Shmuly Yanklowitz. Changemakers, $14.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-78904-060-9
In this instructive guide, Rabbi Yanklowitz (Pirkei Avot), founder of Arizona Jews for Justice, offers an interfaith primer on spiritual activism. Lessons are organized into four thematic sections: the self, others, truth, and spirituality. In a homily-esque style, Yanklowitz reflects on a specific quality of spiritual activism in each chapter. For example, in “Dignity” he focuses on the importance of honoring the worth of every being, drawing examples from his work in Thailand and Ghana, as well as from quotations from the writings of Charles Dickens and Parker Palmer; suggested exercises encourage the reader to focus on the “divine light” within themselves, as well as the divine light within others. While Yanklowitz’s exploration of interfaith strategies for dialogue is welcome (as when he proposes topics for common ground religious topics), his prescriptive advice remains frustratingly brief and vague. With each chapter only a few pages long, treatment of each quality is superficial. Similarly, Yanklowitz argues that believers must “bring all our unique streams of faith together into one stream: for the sake of justice” yet fails to grapple with the reality that there is no universally accepted understanding of what justice means in practice. While this might work well to guide group study, on its own, Yanklowitz’s handbook fails to provide substantive insight into faith-based social justice work. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 10/23/2019
Release date: 12/01/2019
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 128 pages - 978-1-78904-061-6
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