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Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: The Remarkable Insights of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Sunday, August 15, 2021 7 Elul 5781

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

This event is offered on Zoom only.  Register for the Zoom link by clicking here.

Dr. Susannah Heschel will join us on Zoom to discuss her father's deep commitment to human rights, his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and his vision of a Jewish spirituality that combines the inner life with social and political commitment. 

Selma: an iconic site in American history and an iconic moment in Jewish history. “I felt my legs were praying.” With those words describing his experience of the Selma march of 1965, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, professor of Jewish ethics and mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary, transformed a political march into a moment of profound religiosity.

What shaped Abraham Joshua Heschel, as a scholar, activist, rabbi and human being? Why did he view the Selma march in religious terms? Rabbi Heschel exemplified the very best of Judaism and yet also speaks to people of a range of faiths, all around the world.

This lecture will introduce aspects of Rabbi Heschel’s public and private life as well as some of his key teachings.


Susannah Heschel is the Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor and chair of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Her scholarship focuses on the history of Jewish and Protestant religious thought in Germany during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

She is the author of Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus and The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany as well as edited volumes, including Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism and Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust. Together with Umar Ryad, she has co-edited, The Muslim Reception of European Orientalism. She has also edited two volumes of her father’s writings, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, and Essential Writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel, and she has published numerous articles about his work.

Currently she is writing a book with Sarah Imhoff on Jewish Studies and the Woman Question. Dr. Heschel has been a visiting professor at several prestigious universities and has also been awarded a number of important fellowships and research grants from the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Rockefeller fellowship at the National Humanities Center, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

In 2013, she became a Guggenheim Fellow. She has received four honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Canada, and Germany, and this fall she will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Lucerne, Switzerland.

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