Abraham Joshua Heschel
By: Susannah Heschel
"If you want to know God, sharpen your sense of the human." - Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was one of the great religious teachers and moral prophets of our time. Born in Warsaw to a long line of Hasidic rabbis, he chose instead to study philosophy in Germany. Expelled back to Warsaw, he escaped just weeks before the Nazi invasion and settled in the United States. Through a series of books he contributed greatly to the spiritual renewal of Judaism. But he exerted an equal influence on Christians, so much that he was called another "apostle to the gentiles."
A passionate champion of interfaith dialogue, he served as an official observer at Vatican II and was influential in challenging the Catholic Church to overcome the legacy of anti-Semitism. He raised a prophetic challenge to the social issues of his day, marching with Martin Luther King and protesting the Vietnam war. His writings here on prayer, God, prophecy, the human condition, and the spiritual life vividly communicate his instinct for the "holy dimension of all existence."
Susannah Heschel, the daughter of Abraham Heschel, is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. Her many books include The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton, 2008) and Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (Chicago, 1998). She is the editor of Moral Grandeur & Spiritual Audacity: Essays of Abraham Joshua Heschel (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1997).