Writing / Published Works

Rabbi Isaac of Acre and His Followers: Early Kabbalists under Sufi Influence

Sufi journal Vol. 73
Sufi Magazine, London, England, Summer, 2007

No mystical teaching so defines the soul of Jewish mysticism, as does the Kabbalah. This medieval spiritual path is as central to Judaism as is Sufism to the practice of Islam. What is virtually unknown, however, is how indebted is the Kabbalah to Sufism - and how the two systems are in fact intertwined at their roots.

The Sufi Influence on Spanish Jews

American Culture/Popular Culture conference, Boston, MA, April 5, 2007

Perhaps my first and most important task this morning is to explain how something that happened more than 1000 years ago, six time zones across the Big Pond and between two peoples that are small minorities of our contemporary American citizenry, is germane to 21st century American popular culture.

Towards an Understanding of the Jewish/Sufi

Ratner Museum
Speech to the Jewish Community Relations Council, Ratner Museum, May 2, 2007

The narrative of history always represents the specific political and cultural biases of those who have power, and who want the past to fit into their vision of the present.

When Jews wore Turbans: A Surprising History of Jewish/Muslim Mutual Respect

Heliport Gallery
Symposium, Heliport Gallery, Silver Spring, MD, March 8, 2007

An activist artist friend of mine in San Francisco, Richard Kamler, said to me recently: "We all know what war looks like; there's no reason to create any more art that picks at the scab of that wound.  But what does


look like?  How can we, as artists, present the imagination of peaceful coexistence?"

The Call for a Moral Ombudsman

Reflections Magazine, Hibbard, MN, April 2006

I am calling for the creation of a non-profit organization whose constituency would be


Americans. This institute would ignore political affiliation or economic clout when evaluating events in the political field. Issuing its decisions in policy papers, op-ed articles, press releases, scorecards on the votes of public servants and reaching out in other manners, this non-profit watchdog would create an agreed upon


center from which to judge the legislation and the public actions of our elected leaders.

Dear Julie

Circling the Spectrum
Image Warehouse, Athens, TX, December, 2004

Dear Julie,

I was not kidding yesterday when I said that talking to people “on the Left” about politics made me want to vomit. I swear to God, if I hear one more person use the word “revolucion” with that starry eye in their voice, I will upchuck on the floor.

"Supreme" "Court," My Ass

Pedestal Magazine, Raleigh, NC, October 2004

Look, I know what you’re going to say, but just hear me out.

Solomon Ibn Gabirol: A Jewish/Sufi

Sophia, Summer 2004
Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies, Oakton, VA, Summer, 2004

Perhaps no single medieval thinker so represented the interweaving of the three Abrahamic faiths, as did Solomon Ibn Gabirol (1020-1058).

Abraham Abulafia: A Key Out of the Palestinian/Israeli Labryinth

Dystinct Art Magazine, New York, January, 2004

History is meaningful only as long as it informs our current understanding of the world.  Unfortunately, all too often, the "history" that influences the political and social spectrums is negative; ancient wrongs and age-old oppression, selectively highlighted, that informs our view of the current relations between peoples.

Moses Maimonides and the Sufis of Islam

Sufi journal Vol. 64
Sufi Magazine, London, England, Winter, 2004-05

History is one of the first casualties of war.  Not all history, of course - facts that stoke enmity and help exacerbate tensions between combatants are "uncovered" by political leaders and media outlets and used to justify hostilities.  It is only the chronicles of better days between warring peoples that are deemed unnecessary, perhaps vaguely unpatriotic.  The curren

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