Past Honorees

At Central Synagogue

Peter Yarrow
1999 Musician and Activist

“We’re part of a long train ride.”

Peter Yarrow – singer, songwriter, social and political activist – was born in Manhattan in 1938 to Ukranian immigrant parents. Perhaps most famous for his part in the successful folk music band Peter, Paul & Mary, his musical career took off in 1962 with the group’s first album. He is responsible for penning some of the group’s most memorable songs, including “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Day is Done,” and “Light One Candle.”

Yarrow’s political activism is intertwined with his music career, and began around the same time. He was very active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, coordinating music festivals in for peace as well as the 1969 anti-war March on Washington, which had around half a million participants. His music has always played a crucial part of his advocacy, as in the Peter, Paul & Mary song “No Easy Walk to Freedom”(1986), which concerned the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Yarrow’s other work includes his involvement in the Guggenheim’s “Learning Through Art” program, his support of Holocaust remembrance and education programs, and most recently Operation Respect, a non-profit organization he helped to start that combats bullying and violence in schools. He has received numerous honors for his efforts, including the Allard K. Lowenstein Award in 1982 and the Tikkun Olam Award from the Miami Jewish Federation in 1995.

Yarrow’s other artistic work includes four solo albums, three television specials based on “Puff the Magic Dragon,” and the production of the film You are What You Eat. He has two children, Bethany and Christopher.