Jan 18, 2009

JTS: MLK & Abraham Joshua Heschel

JTS's presentation from http://www.jtsa.edu/x11157.xml

Since 1986, Americans have celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring one of America's most revered civic leaders.

The Jewish Theological Seminary stood together in mourning upon learning of the death of Dr. King. Two prominent individuals at JTS spoke about the impact Dr. King had on the JTS community and the world at large. Their remarks are available online for the first time.

Seymour Siegel, former JTS professor of Ethics and Rabbinic Thought, spoke at a memorial for Dr. King at JTS on April 5, 1968. His speech can be found here.

On April 7, 1968, Louis Finkelstein, chancellor of JTS from 1940–1972, spoke on NBC television, mourning the loss of Dr. King. This powerful text can be viewed here.

Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr.

"Heschel was professor of Jewish Ethics and Mysticism at The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary from 1946 to 1972. Once he became involved in the civil rights movement, Heschel was a potent force among the JTS student body and the American people; that is when he began to be known on the American scene and speak for the Jewish world." — Rabbi Joel Roth

Read a D'var Torah on Dr. Heschel and Dr. King by JTS Vice Chancellor, Rabbi Michael Greenbaum.

Chancellor Arnold Eisen discusses Dr. Heschel's thoughts and legacy in a compelling and thought-provoking interview with host Krista Tippett on Speaking of Faith, originally aired June 5, 2008, on American Public Media.

Iconic Images

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." — Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. links arms with other civil rights leaders, including Abraham Joshua Heschel (second from the right), as they begin the march to the state capitol in Montgomery from Selma, Alabama, on March 21, 1965. The demonstrators are marching for voter registration rights for African Americans. Courtesy of AP Images

"We are not makers of history. We are made by history." — Dr. King

Chancellor Louis Finkelstein (r) and Professor Joseph Wohl (l) present Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. an honorary degree from JTS in 1964; Dr. Heschel was Dr. King's sponsor. Courtesy of the Ratner Center, JTS.

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically . . . Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education." — Dr. King

Dr. Heschel with JTS rabbinic students in 1972

Quotes by Abraham Joshua Heschel

"God is to be found in many hearts all over the world. Not limited to one nation or one people, to one religion."

"Racism is an evil of tremendous power."

"Racism is man's gravest threat to man—the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason."

"Most of us, Negro and white, have not yet completed the crossing out of the Red Sea. There is still a long way to go. In fact, it was easier for the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea than for the civil rights legislation to pass the floor of the United States Senate."

See Dr. Heschel's compelling and groundbreaking interview on NBC. Order Abraham Joshua Heschel Remembered via the order form

Chag Sukkot Sameach, dear friends.