His Memory Always a Blessing

by Mark Chmiel

From Rabbi Michael Lerner:

Daniel Berrigan was one of the most inspiring figures of the anti-war and social justice movements of the past fifty years. He died on Saturday, April 30, 2016, and will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him. I was first introduced to him by my mentor Abraham Joshua Heschel in 1968 when he and Heschel and Martin Luther King had become prominent voices in the Clergy and Laity Against the War in Vietnam. He told me that he had been inspired by the civil disobedience and militant demonstrations that were sweeping the country in 1966-68, many of them led by Students for a Democratic Society (at the time I was chair of the University of California Berkeley chapter). Over the course of the ensuing 48 years I was inspired by his activism and grateful for his support for Tikkun magazine. Heschel told me how very important Dan was for him–particularly in the dark days after Nixon had been elected and escalated the bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Those of us who were activists were particularly heartened by his willingness to publicly challenge the chicken-heartedness and moral obtuseness of religious leaders in the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish world who privately understood that the Vietnam war was immoral but who would not publicly condemn it and instead condemned the nonviolent activism of the anti-war movement because we were disobeying the law, burning our draft cards, disrupting the campus recruitment into the CIA and the ROTC, and blocking entrance into army recruitment centers and the Pentagon!

We at Tikkun magazine, the voice of Jewish progressives, liberals, radicals and anti-capitalist non-violent revolutionaries, will deeply mourn the loss of our brother Daniel Berrigan. His memory will always be a blessing (zeycher tzadik liv’racha).

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