Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was one of the outstanding Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century. A renowned American theologian and interpreter of tradition, author of such important books asMan Is Not Alone, God in Search of Man, andThe Prophets, he was a living example of holiness, compassion, and vehement dedication to social justice. This book, the first of two volumes, is the only comprehensive biography of Heschel.Based on interviews with Heschel's friends and family, archival documents, and Heschel's previously unknown writings in Yiddish, German, and Hebrew, the book traces Heschel's life from his birth in Warsaw in 1907 to his emigration to the United States in 1940. Edward Kaplan and Samuel Dresner describe how Heschel came of age in a Hasidic community and reached maturity in secular Jewish Vilna and cosmopolitan Berlin, speaking out as a religious philosopher during the advent of Nazism. They relate how he became a teacher in Berlin, in Martin Buber's education program in Frankfurt (where his lifelong debate with Buber originated), in Warsaw, and in London, while the several Jewish cultures he had absorbed were being destroyed. They show that he was already intellectually and spiritually mature when he emigrated to the United States, fully prepared for his dual roles as interpreter of Jewish piety and social activist.
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