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Moral Outrage, War, and Economics: Heschel and Social Justice (Palo Alto)

This course was offered in Winter/Spring, 2018.

When I marched in Selma, I felt like my legs were praying.
—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Spiritual Leader. Scholar. Philosopher. Social Activist. 80 years ago, a young Abraham Joshua Heschel was appointed by Martin Buber to be the co-director of the Central Organization for Adult Jewish Education and Judishces Lehrhaus. Today, we carry on that legacy. 

In honor of Abraham Joshua Heschel's contributions to Jewish learning and the social justice imperative that defines him, Lehrhaus is excited to offer a three-part course exploring this fundamental aspect of Heschel’s life and Judaism. Part one will cover “Foundations.” Part two is “Heschel as Religious Activist.” And part three, “Moral Outrage, War, and Economics.” Students may take individual parts, or register for the full series at a reduced rate.

During the final trimester of the Heschel program, students will be reading from “Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity.” The four sessions will be an introduction to the prophetic voice of Heschel and his passion for keeping America “a just society.” We will discuss war (including genocide), refugees, the moral dilemma of the Space Age, and Jewish political activism.

For more information, contact abra@lehrhaus.org.


# Sessions
Date & time

Mondays, March 5, 12, 19, 26
7:00 - 8:30 pm

$75 early registration
Session Time Days Location Instructors
Mar 05 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Mon Etz Chayim Rabbi Sheldon Lewis
Mar 12 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Mon Etz Chayim Rabbi Sheldon Lewis
Mar 19 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Mon Etz Chayim Rabbi Sheldon Lewis
Mar 26 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Mon Etz Chayim Rabbi Sheldon Lewis


Congregation Etz Chayim

4161 Alma Street

Palo Alto, CA 94306-4546



Rabbi Sheldon Lewis

Sheldon LewisSheldon Lewis was born in Chicago and educated at the University of Chicago and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he received his rabbinic ordination. He was a student of Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel and has been active in civil and human rights causes ever since. He was very active in the movement to free Soviet Jews.

He served as a US Army chaplain after ordination and spent a year in Vietnam. He is rabbi emeritus of Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto, which he served for thirty-three years. He was deeply involved in interfaith work to promote pluralism, mutual respect, and common cause; and he has been equally committed to nurturing bonds among the streams of Jewish expression.

He has had an abiding interest in reconciliation efforts in the Middle East as a supporter of the Open House in Ramle, the Al Amal School near Bethlehem, and Rabbis for Human Rights. He is past president of the Northern California Board of Rabbis, among other positions in the Jewish and interfaith communities. He is the author of Torah of Reconciliation (Gefen, 2012), Bridging Word and World, and Mini Adventures in Jerusalem (both from Hadassah Word Press, 2017). In 2018, he published a sequel: More Mini Adventures in Jerusalem. He is married to Lorri, and they have been blessed with four sons, four daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.