A Conversation with Peter Geffen
Peter Geffen is the Founder of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School and the Director and Founder of KIVUNIM, The Institute of Experiential Learning for Israel and World Jewish Communities Studies. Peter frequently lectures and writes about the social justice teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
This conversation between Peter Geffen and host Larry Josephson provides an in-depth look into his life as a Jewish social activist, imbued with the biblical commandment of Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof -- Justice, Justice, Shall You Pursue. He has been involved in many of the key social justice issues in the past 40 years, from the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60's, to today where he works to increase understanding between Arabs and Jews.
In this interview, Peter brings to life the transformative period of the 60's when President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel inspired him and many young Jews to go down to the South and join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the fight against segregation in all of its ugly forms. (Photo B)
Peter Geffen talks with Larry about the powerful influence of Rabbi Heschel on the Jewish aspect of his social activism and tells the story behind the famous photo of Rabbi Heschel marching with Dr. King in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo C)
Peter also shares his perspective on many issues of today, from the rise of religious fundamentalism to the stagnant American Jewish birthrate, to the conflicts in the Middle East and Darfur Throughout it all, he radiates hope and his conviction that "human beings have the capacity and the commitment to create a world in which people care for each other."
At the time of the interview, in May 2005, Peter Geffen was the Director of The Center for Jewish History.