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Abraham Joshua Heschel 1907-1972

A descendant of two Hassidic dynasties and one of the leading Jewish theologians of the twentieth century, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in Warsaw, Poland. After a thorough Jewish education, Heschel received his doctorate from the University of Berlin. Three years later he became Martin Buber's successor at the Judisches Lehrhaus in Frankfurt, but was deported by the Nazis to Poland the following year. Heschel managed to immigrate to the United States in 1940 to teach at the Hebrew Union College. In 1946, Heschel became a professor of Jewish ethics and mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and began to publish influential works on Jewish observance and ethics, including the seminal book, God in Search of Man (1976). Heschel also became a central Jewish voice in the civil rights movement, developing a close relationship with Martin Luther King, and spoke out vehemently against the Vietnam War.