Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and The Roots of Activism
Rabbi Michael Marmur
In these sessions, we will explore the ways in which Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) came to articulate a theology of social activism and political engagement from within the sources of traditional Judaism. We will look at some key passages in his writings and identify some of the key strands in this theology, as well as raising some challenges implicit in his approach. The Bible, Rabbinic literature, Maimonides, the Kabbalah and Hasidism – all these and more play a role in the development of his activism. We will consider some of these sources and ask if it is possible or desirable to seek a basis for a liberal political agenda from within an ancient tradition.