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Spiritual RadicalAbraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972$
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Edward K. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300115406

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300115406.001.0001

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Building Bridges (1956–1959)

Building Bridges (1956–1959)

(p.178) 10 Building Bridges (1956–1959)
Spiritual Radical

Edward K. Kaplan

Yale University Press

This chapter shows how the major role that religion played in public life became central to Heschel's reflections. After his Time magazine profile, Christians as well as Jews began to regard him as an authentic biblical voice for social change. He influenced these constituencies through essays and lecture tours; he also began to take part in national interfaith organizations such as the Religious Education Association (REA), whose annual conventions in Chicago attracted participants from all backgrounds. He adapted his message to his different audiences, but it always focused on how authentic religion might transform every aspect of life. For Jews, Heschel stressed the need to renew spiritual sensitivity. He warned that most efforts to teach Judaism failed because educators did not ask the right questions. Educators, Heschel believed, had to impress upon students that nothing less than spiritual survival was at stake.

Keywords:   religion, public life, biblical voice, social change, Religious Education Association

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