Annual Inspiration Dinner Honoring Rabbi Michael Lerner

International Association of Sufism’s Annual Inspiration Dinner

Thursday, November 21, 2019 7:00 pm
Honoring Rabbi Michael Lerner

Master of Ceremonies: Michael Krasny, Host of KQED Forum

Video Tribute provided by Cornel West, American Philosopher

Rabbi Michael Lerner

The International Association of Sufism’s 19th Annual Inspiration Dinner celebrated the honoree Rabbi Michael Lerner’s life and career of service to the community and a values-based vision of humanity.

Addressing Rabbi Lerner’s many accomplishments were the IAS’s co-founders, Dr. Nahid Angha and Dr. Ali Kianfar, the emcee and KQED Forum radio host, Dr. Michael Krasny, Harvard Divinity School Professor Cornel West, past Annual Inspiration Dinner Honoree, Reverend Matthew Fox, former New College of San Francisco President, Peter Gabel, and the physician and writer Dr. Martha Sonnenberg.

Each speaker spoke of an aspect of Rabbi Lerner’s character and achievements. Dr. Kianfar focused on three of Rabbi Lerner’s outstanding qualities: sincerity, honesty, and dignity, which he described as rooted to the heart, “gifts of God to those whose integrity leads them to step toward peace.” Dr. Michael Krasny spoke about both Rabbi Lerner’s devotion to promoting peace and the energy and focus with which he has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to get things done. In a pre-recorded video tribute, Cornel West gave an assessment of Rabbi Lerner’s significance to our time, calling him an “inimitable, a one-and-only kind of figure” dedicated to the “spreading of steadfast love, the spreading of love and kindness to the orphan, the widow, to the

Dr. Nahid Angha and Rabbi Lerner

oppressed and exploited.” Reverend Fox then shared how Rabbi Lerner had come to his support at a time when he was being treated unjustly by the Catholic Church, noting, “he doesn’t just write about justice and talk about it and all the rest, but he practices it.” Peter Gabel celebrated Rabbi Lerner’s the legacy of Rabbi Lerner’s journal, Tikkun, and his leadership in teaching society how to build “a healing and transformative politics.” Last, Dr. Sonnenberg spoke about her more than half-century friendship with Rabbi Lerner and thanked him for deepening her spiritual and political awareness.

Rabbi Lerner spoke about his life’s work and mission and the need for social change movements to speak openly about their desire for a politics based on love and caring. Rabbi Lerner encouraged the audience not to listen to those who insist political goals must be practical and offered several examples where the impractical proved world changing.

The 2019 Annual Inspiration Dinner celebrated the life’s work of Rabbi Lerner with appreciation for his sincere and inspiring services to our community.


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