Spiritual Audacity

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April 29, 2021
7:00pm Eastern Time
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Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was one of the most remarkable and inspiring figures of the American 20th Century. He was a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr and the entire Civil Rights Movement, a leading critic of the Vietnam War, a champion for Soviet Jews and a pioneer in the work of interfaith dialogue.

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Heschel was part of a dynastic royalty of Hasidic rabbis dating back centuries. He narrowly escaped the Holocaust and arrived in New York in 1940. Over the next thirty years he emerged as a one of the most influential voices in the world of religion. His many books, including The Prophets, The Sabbath, and God in Search of Man, are considered religious classics and are widely studied.

Today his picture hangs in countless synagogues across America despite the fact that fifty years ago many disagreed with his public opinions.

The film combines archival photographs and rarely seen footage, as well as interviews with Civil Rights leaders Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Young, Pulitzer-prize winning historian Taylor Branch, public theologian Cornel West, Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Arnold Eisen, daughter Susannah Heschel and others. Also featured is artist Marc Chagall’s depiction of the Hebrew prophets, and Ilya’s Schor’s paintings and woodcuts of Hasidic life.

Video Descriptions


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Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel fled Nazi Germany to became “an authoritative voice not only in the Jewish community but in the religious life of America.” His book, "The Prophets" inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. to invite him to take a roll in the Civil Rights Movement. Heschel was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, an advocate for Soviet Jewry and a pioneer of interfaith dialogue.

69min 40sec


  • MPT Events Team


  • Panelist Avatar
    Martin Doblmeier


    Martin Doblmeier is the founder and president of Journey Films in Alexandria, Virginia. Since 1985 Martin has produced more than 35 feature documentary films, all on topics of religion, faith and spirituality. Many of those films have been nationally released in cooperation with Maryland Public Television. Martin has degrees in religious studies and journalism, as well as three honorary degrees. His films have won many top awards including three regional Emmy Awards. He is a popular public speaker and appears regularly on television, radio and podcasts.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Benjamin Sax


    Benjamin Sax is the Jewish Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies in Baltimore. Ben has published on topics relating to Jewish philosophy, German-Jewish history and culture, Jewish-Christian relations, and interreligious dialogue. Ben's most recent research project, a book entitled The Life of Quotation in Modern Jewish Thought, will be published next year.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Rabbi Jack Moline


    Jack Moline is President of Interfaith Alliance. He is also Rabbi Emeritus of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, where he served in the pulpit for 27 years. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Virginia Theological Seminary. He served as Co-chair of the Virginia Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe after the Charlottesville incident. Rabbi Moline is an author of two books and contributes to many publications, both print and web-based. He is a popular speaker, featured on radio, television and web broadcasts and in synagogues, churches and organizations.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.