He was accused of being too political. Others said he was too spiritual. Certainly he melded the ancient wisdom of the prophets with a modern sensibility to become the symbol of Jewish social action in America during the turbulent 1960s.
When Abraham Joshua Heschel barely escaped Nazi Europe in 1940, the 33-year-old scholar began teaching at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. There he found himself disregarded as a chasidic traditionalist out of step with the Reform movement’s modern, non-observant world.