Martin, Everett, and Me
I am writing this essay on the fortieth anniversary of my father’s death, so my immediate thought about Martin Luther King, Jr. this morning is of those four precious small children left fatherless on April 4, 1968.
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Rabbi Everett Gendler Reflects on His (and Our) Jewish Life in the Berkshires
“The Berkshires has long been a place where people have built domiciles that announce, ‘We made it.’ But even in a region abounding in dream homes, the residence of Rabbi Everett Gendler and his wife Mary stands out by saying ‘We made it’ in an entirely different way. The house is sited near Monument Mountain on a stunning property that sprawls from the road past a hayfield, down to a creek and then nearly to the top of a forested hillside beyond – ‘paradise,’ says Rabbi Gendler, a characterization that is impossible to argue against.”
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How the 87-Year-Old Founder of Jewish Environmentalism Helped Me Grow
“I didn’t didn’t want to interview Rabbi Everett Gendler. In November, my editor sent me a note about Gendler’s new book Judaism for Universalists, a collection of the progressive rabbi’s writings on his experience and interpretation of Judaism, and suggested I write about him. I looked Gendler up, and was impressed. He’d been an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, was the father of the now-thriving Jewish environmentalism movement in the United States, had spent the last two decades helping organize nonviolent resistance in Tibet in collaboration with the Dalai Lama, and had, most intriguingly, been a consistent thorn in the side of the Jewish establishment.”
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Two ‘giants’ of the civil rights movement to speak at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire
On Friday June 20 at 7:30 PM Al Vorspan and Rabbi Everett Gendler will speak at Shabbat services about their participation in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and their commitment to “Tikkun Olam” (healing the world).
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Martin Luther King in the Catskills, 1968
“On March 25, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the keynote address at the annual Rabbinical Assembly Convention at the renowned Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake in the Sullivan County Catskills.  Ten days later he was dead.”
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A Lexicon of Spiritual Leaders In the IFOR Peace Movement (Rabbi Gendler bio is on page 137)
“Everett Gendler (born August 8, 1928) is an American rabbi, known for his involvement in progressive causes, including the American civil rights movement, Jewish nonviolence, and the egalitarian Jewish Havurah movement. From 1978-1995, he served as the first Jewish Chaplain at Phillips Academy, Andover. He has been described as the “father of Jewish environmentalism”
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King’s legacy of faith, USA Today
“I could not know that the evening’s speaker would be murdered 10 days later. I could not realize how his words would affect my rabbinate for the next 40 years, or how sharply his message would contrast with today’s most prominent voices that speak for religion.”
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My Favorite Rabbis: Everett Gendler, Shalom Rav
“Most people probably don’t realize this, but rabbis need rabbis too. And there are a lot of great rabbis out there. Over the years I’ve been personally inspired by many of them: remarkable, talented leaders whose work challenges me, drives me and constantly reminds me why I do what I do.”
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Rabbi Gendler on Rosh Hashanah, Velveteen Rabbi
“Rabbi Everett Gendler was among the first rabbis to talk seriously about ecology and its relationship to Judaism, and was (according to Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb) the first rabbi to create a solar-powered ner tamid (eternal light.) He contributed to the volumes The Greening of Faith and Ecology and the Jewish Spirit; the folks at Isabella Freedman call him “the grandfather of Jewish agriculture (sic).” He contributed to The First Jewish Catalog (and its successor volumes), and wrote many of the margin commentaries in The Jewish Holidays.”
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I have a dream. Martin Luther King, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Everett Gendler and me, The Energizer Rabbi
“This weekend we mark two things, the birthday of Martin Luther King jr and the yahrzeit of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Forever linked in a famous photo, these two men linked arm and arm to make the world a better place. They shared a common vision born out of their different yet similar backgrounds. Heschel, a European Jew who escaped Poland prior to the Holocaust and became one of the most prominent rabbis of the 20th century, knew oppression first hand. These two men from different geographies, color, creed, theological background were joined in a spiritual kinship whose legacy addresses our own times.”
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Rabbi is Jailed for Segregation Protest in South
“The New Rabbi at The Princeton Jewish Center, Everett Gendler of 21 Forrester Drive, was jailed on Tuesday at an anti-segregation demonstration in front of City Hall in Albany, GA.”
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What is Rabbi’s Role at Convention?, Forward
“When Rabbi Everett Gendler was released from jail in Albany, Ga., in 1962 he and the 11 other rabbis jailed with him for “public prayer without a license” each found a Western Union telegram waiting. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, sent to them a message with a verse from Isaiah 5:16 “And the Lord of Hosts is exalted by judgment, the Holy God proved holy by justice.” Rabbi Gendler said in a phone interview with the Forward that “it is clear that what he was saying is that this stance and this witnessing is what religion is about.”
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Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb’s letter to the commissioners at the United Church of Canada Conference, Jewish Voice for Peace
“My rabbi and teacher, Rabbi Everett Gendler, convinced the great human rights advocate Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to walk with Martin Luther King. I stand in their legacy of nonviolent direct action. When the African American community called upon us to support the Montgomery bus boycott, I stood with them. When the Mexican American community called upon us to support the grape boycott, I stood with them.”
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Reform Rabbis Debate Virtues of a Veggie Diet, Jweekly
“Richard Levy remembers well a conversation he had with a fellow student in his first year of rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The two rabbis-to-be were discussing Jewish dietary restrictions, and felt that Reform Jews should eat pork on principle.”
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Rabbi States Ways of Life Cause Southern Prejudice, The Daily Princetonian
“The repression in society of certain good- human qualities, like sensuality, may be a cause of the prejudice the Southern white has for the Negro, argued Rabbi Everett E. Gendler in an informal lecture last night. Claiming that evil caused by conditions rather than residing in human nature, Mr. Gendler explained ways of life in the South which may cause bigotry. Free expression of the compassionate association a white man often has with a Negro is denied the Southerner in his society, Mr. Gendler observed.”
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Rabbi Everett Gendler’s Story, Berkshire Health Systems
“He marched alongside and was arrested with Martin Luther King Jr. in Albany, Georgia, in 1962, one of dozens of rabbis and other clerics who joined the emerging American civil rights movement, determined to confront firmly yet peacefully the centuries of oppression born of black slavery. He was there in Selma, too, and in Birmingham, “when the police dogs and fire hoses were out.” His role in encouraging fellow Jews to join the chorus was seen as a pivotal turning point in a monumental cause.”
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During ‘The Feast of Lights’ be Mindful of Conservation, COEJL
“Think Hanukkah. Think light. Think energy. Today we can bring new meanings to the celebration of Hanukkah related to our use of energy, conservation, and our moral responsibility to protect the environment and all its inhabitants. When better to think about energy and light than during winter when the darkest days of the year are upon us?”
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20 Rabbis Head for Birmingham
“May 7—Twenty Conservative rabbis left tonight for Birmingham, Ala., in a ‘testimony in behalf of the human rights and dignity’ of Negroes in that city. Their decision was made late this afternoon after Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum, provost of the jewish Theological Seminary, principal institution of Conservative Judaism, posed the question of how spiritual leaders ‘could be concerned only with Nazi cruelty when acts of injustice to fellow human beings were taking place in our country.’”
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Conversation with Martin Luther King
“On the evening of March 25, 1968, ten days before he was killed, Dr. Martin Luther King, zikhrono livrakhah, appeared at the sixty-eighth annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly. He responded to questions which had been submitted in advance to Rabbi Everett Gendler, who chaired the meeting”
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Long Happy Life of Rabbi Gendler
“In 1995, after more than 20 years of teaching and spiritual leadership, Rabbi Everett Gendler stepped down from his dual posts of rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Lowell, and Jewish Chaplain and instructor of philosophy and religious studies at Phillips Academy in Andover. Though now officially “retired,” his work continues to educate and inspire people from Massachusetts to members of the Tibetan community in exile in India.”
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What Would Noah Do?
On a ferociously cold evening in November 1978, Rabbi Everett Gendler climbed atop the icy roof of Temple Emanuel in Lowell, Mass., and installed solar panels to fuel the synagogue’s ner tamid (eternal light).
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Honors and Awards

Rabbi Everett Gendler received the T’ruah Human Rights Hero Award
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Rabbi Everett Gendler Receives Presidents’ Medallion from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
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