Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Wrestling With Heschel

Shai Held takes on the iconic rabbi’s theology and spirituality in new biography.

Culture Editor
Story Includes Video: 

When Rabbi Shai Held was a college freshman, the late Professor Isadore Twersky told his seminar class, in a moment of candor, that Maimonides had been his life companion. Rabbi Held recalls that he found the comment strange, but now, decades later, he understands. For Rabbi Held, it is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel with whom he has spent considerable time, whether reading his works, wrestling with his ideas, or teaching about him — and finding his words overwhelmingly beautiful, challenging or even infuriating.

Rabbi Shai Held says his biography of Heschel is “sympathetic and critical.”  Courtesy of Indiana University Press

Pluralism In A Post-Pluralistic World

Special to the Jewish Week


The Conservative Movement is in crisis.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism estimates that from 1985 to 2009, 175 affiliated congregations have dispersed or merged with other denominations. The movement’s branch of day schools, the Solomon Schechter schools, has had the sharpest enrollment decline out of any denominational schools with a 3.8 percent decrease from 2010 to 2011, and since 1998, 20 Conservative day schools have shut down nationwide.

The Challenge of Offering Moral Rebuke in the Workplace

Jewish Week Online Columnist

At work, we consistently offer positive reinforcement and constructive feedback to others to improve the quality of our collective efforts. From a Jewish perspective, we are not only concerned with the efficacy of our work but also the ethics of the workplace. In addition to personal accountability, all Jewish workers have a sacred duty to be a moral presence as well.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek.

The American Jewish Vote: Not All About Israel

Jewish Week Online Columnist

Whether or not a candidate for public office supports the state of Israel is important to American Jews, but it is not the only issue we care about.

Indeed, in 2012 it is highly likely that all major Presidential candidates will be pro-Israel, so American Jewish voters can concentrate on voting for the candidate who best embodies the principles of the Torah and the American republic.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Not Getting To The Mountaintop

Richard Dreyfuss finds parallels between himself and Abraham Joshua Heschel
as he plays the rabbi in downscaled show.

Special To The Jewish Week

 On the surface, no two people seem farther apart than the movie star from Beverly Hills and the famous German refugee rabbi. But Richard Dreyfuss, now appearing as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in Colin Greer’s “Imagining Heschel” at the Cherry Lane Theater, feels a profound kinship with the character he plays.

Dreyfuss as Heschel: Was Vatican mission a failure?
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