Merry Christmas, Rabbi!
December 25, 2007 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by this article, I thought Christmas would be the perfect (huh?) day to introduce the late poet, author, spiritual leader, thinker, and civil rights activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
posted by bassjump (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have anything particular to say about Heschel, just that his story is an interesting one and this is a 1000 x better religion-related post than most others on MetaFilter, and I feel that people should read the article and comment on it. That is all.
posted by escabeche at 1:19 PM on December 25, 2007

This article got my curiosity piqued, but I wish it was longer. Seems to me like it was too short to give an adequate overview of such an interesting life. I would say 10 pages longer would just about right. The length of a magazine cover story.
posted by gregb1007 at 2:44 PM on December 25, 2007

I tried to write even a few sentences that would express how profoundly the thought and writings of AJH have informed and inspired my own religious vision, but even that was difficult to pin down. The depth of his character, his calling for social reforms, and his sensitivity to the divine calling consistently reminds me of the biblical prophets, a reaction I have to no one else.
posted by milestogo at 2:54 PM on December 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

... "The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference," a conviction that he translated into a political commitment: "In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible." ...

Exactly. This needs to be engraved on public buildings, i think.

He was great, and his work goes on (it never ends, really).
posted by amberglow at 3:00 PM on December 25, 2007

an overview on our work for Civil Rights, from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on December 25, 2007

The photograph of Abraham Joshua Heschel walking arm in arm with Martin Luther King, Jr., in the front row of marchers at Selma has become an icon of American Jewish life, and of Black-Jewish relations. Reprinted in Jewish textbooks, synagogue bulletins, and studies of ecumenical relations, the picture has come to symbolize the great moment of symbiosis of the two communities, Black and Jewish, which today seems shattered.

"Shattered" seems to suggest that with infinite patience the pieces could be glued back together. Good luck that.
posted by three blind mice at 3:22 PM on December 25, 2007

gregb1007, I agree that the article was unsatisfying. That's actually what started my search for more links and info.

I first encountered Heschel's thinking through my politically active rabbi, who often quotes Heschel in his sermons. Even as a kid, I was amazed to realize that religion not only could be compatible with social and political activism, but that it actually demanded that we fight for social justice.
posted by bassjump at 5:59 AM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

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