Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Heschel, a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, authored a number of widely read books on Jewish philosophy and was a leader in the civil rights movement.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Heschel, a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, authored a number of widely admission books on Jewish philosophy and was a leader in the civil rights movement.
Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in Warsaw in 1907 as the youngest of six kids of Moshe Mordechai Heschel and Reizel Perlow Heschel. He was descended from preeminent European rabbis on both sides of his family. His paternal great-great-grandfather and namesake was Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt in present-day Poland. His mom was plus a descendant of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel and further Hasidic dynasties. His siblings were Sarah, Dvora Miriam, Esther Sima, Gittel, and Jacob. Their daddy Moshe died of influenza in 1916 once Abraham was nine.
After a customary yeshiva education and studying for Orthodox rabbinical ordination (semicha), Heschel pursued his doctorate at the University of Berlin and rabbinic ordination at the non-denominational Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums. There he studied below some of the finest Jewish educators of the time: Chanoch Albeck, Ismar Elbogen, Julius Guttmann, Alexander Guttmann, and Leo Baeck. His mentor in Berlin was David Koigen. Heschel later taught Talmud at the Hochschule. He united a Yiddish poetry group, Jung Vilna, and in 1933, published a volume of Yiddish poems, Der Shem Hamefoyrosh: Mentsch, dedicated to his father.
In late October 1938, when Heschel was breathing in a rented room in the house of a Jewish associates in Frankfurt, he was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Poland. He spent ten months lecturing on Jewish philosophy and Torah at Warsaw’s Institute for Jewish Studies. Six weeks before the German belligerence of Poland, Heschel left Warsaw for London past the help of Julian Morgenstern, president of Hebrew Union College, who had been effective to get your hands on visas for Jewish scholars in Europe and Alexander Guttmann, later his join in Cincinnati, who in secret re-wrote his ordination certificate to meet American visa requirements.
Heschel’s sister Esther was killed in a German bombing. His mother was murdered by the Nazis, and two supplementary sisters, Gittel and Devorah, died in Nazi concentration camps. He never returned to Germany, Austria or Poland. He next wrote, “If I should be credited with Poland or Germany, every stone, every tree would remind me of contempt, hatred, murder, of kids killed, of mothers burned alive, of human beings asphyxiated.”
Heschel arrived in New York City in March 1940. He served upon the capability of Hebrew Union College (HUC), the main seminary of Reform Judaism, in Cincinnati for five years. In 1946, he took a face at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in New York City, the main seminary of Conservative Judaism. He served as professor of Jewish ethics and Mysticism until his death in 1972. At the times of his death, Heschel lived near JTS at 425 Riverside Drive in Manhattan.