Abraham Joshua Heschel: Social Activist & Proponent of Interfaith Dialogue

“If you want to know God, sharpen your sense of the human.”

—Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)

Earlier this year, Susannah Heschel, professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth, published Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings (Orbis 2011), a collection of works by the volume’s namesake—her father.  The elder Heschel—born in Poland into a Hasidic family with a long connection to the rabbinate—escaped Warsaw for the U.S. only weeks before the Third Reich invaded in 1939.

Through his subsequent career, Heschel advocated interfaith understanding and was active in many of the leading social issues of his day—marching with Martin Luther King Jr.; protesting the Vietnam War; observing Vatican II in an official capacity; and challenging the Catholic Church to amend its occasional strains of anti-Semitism, both past and present.  The publisher’s abstract follows the jump.

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