About the Book
Publication Date: June 2019
In This Hour, edited and annotated by Helen Plotkin, is the first-ever publication in English of many writings by Abraham Joshua Heschel: his vision for Jewish education, portraits of the rabbis of the Mishnaic period facing expulsion and extinction under Roman rule, a biographical study of Don Yitzhak Abravanel, the power of repentance in 1936, a parable on Jewish exile; meditations on suffering, prayer, God’s dream, and return.
Written largely for Berlin Jewry’s official news organ from 1935 to 1939-40, these essays fill a significant voice in Heschel’s bibliography—his Nazi Germany and London Exile years. Importantly, they also present Heschel’s unique insights on the redemptive role of Jewish learning in the Jewish people’s past and future: saving Jewish history and the Jewish people from oblivion. The new translation conveys the spare elegance of Heschel’s prose, and an Introduction and source notes open the volume to readers of all knowledge levels.
“This a tremendously important work of testimony and erudition in the service of saving Jewish history—and the Jewish people—from oblivion. The essays fill a significant lack in Heschel’s bibliography. The academic community will welcome the relatively unknown aspects of Heschel’s development as a teacher and public intellectual, and all readers will appreciate Heschel’s gripping literary testimony in impeccable translation”—Edward K. Kaplan, author of Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Witness
“Just when we thought the luminous Heschel canon was complete, we are gifted with this extraordinary volume—a treasure trove of Heschel essays and speeches which have never been seen before in English. At a moment when civility and spirituality hang in the balance, these excavated words from one of our seminal thinkers and teachers could not be more timely or challenging. I hope you give yourself the immense pleasure and education of delving into In This Hour.”—Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year: Eighteen Holidays, One Wondering Jew
“These essays brilliantly portray the intellectual development of a shining twentieth-century Jewish thinker and leader. This book is an indispensable part of Heschel’s legacy to us.”—David Teutsch, Louis and Myra Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization Emeritus, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
“A deep learning characterizes all of Heschel’s writings. Here, in particular, Heschel’s extended meditations on Talmudic learning and on repentance are extraordinarily illuminating. The original writing is at once rigorously analytical and prescriptive, at times exhortative and elegiac, and the translation commendably conveys the spare elegance of the prose. Furthermore, the introductions and notes provide historical and personal context in impressively erudite and engaging ways.”—Nathaniel Deutsch, author of The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement
“This collection of early writings by Abraham Joshua Heschel significantly expands our awareness of his full oeuvre. Readers of Heschel will want to see these prior confrontations with key issues and the earliest stages of Heschel as an activist in response to Nazi persecution.”—Rabbi Arthur Green, coeditor of A New Hasidism: Roots and A New Hasidism: Branches