Fairfield University's Bennett Center presents Rabbi Gordon Tucker

In honor of the centennial of the birth of influential religious leader Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. and an adjunct professor of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, will speak at Fairfield University on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The event is presented by the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University and admission is complimentary.

Rabbi Tucker's talk, entitled "Abraham Joshua Heschel: Celebrating the Centennial of a Teacher of the Nations," will touch upon how Heschel connected spirituality with activism. Both Jews and Christians heeded the call of the passionate  Heschel (1907-1972) who believed individuals should help in the quest for a just society. Considered one of the most widely read Jewish theologians of the 20th century, he  marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. for civil rights and was a strong opponent of the Vietnam War. He attempted to stir people from complacency, insisting that individuals, regardless of their religious affiliations, must unite to make the world a caring community. In many ways, his mission mirrored that of the Jesuit educational mission of Fairfield University that calls for social responsibility and a faith that promotes justice.

A descendant of preeminent rabbinic families in Europe, Heschel escaped the Nazis and fled to the United States and a life of social activism. From 1946 to his death, Heschel was a professor of Jewish Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the main seminary of Conservative Judaism. He explored the Kabbalah and Hasidism, among other Jewish thought, and encouraged Jews to observe Jewish law and incorporate religion into their lives. 

Rabbi Tucker is the translator and editor of "Heavenly Torah," (Continuum Books, 2005) a three-volume work by Heschel. His accomplished resume also includes serving as a White House Fellow in President Carter's administration. He has served as Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel Center since 1994, and is honorary chairman of the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel.

He received a Ph. D. from Princeton University and an A.B. from Harvard University. His Rabbinic Ordination is from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1976, He was the dean of the Rabbinical School at the Seminary from 1984 to 1992. He has published many articles on Jewish affairs, law and philosophy. 

Admission is complimentary. Seating is limited. Please call the Bennett Center to reserve a seat at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066. The event will take place in the dining room of the university's Charles F. Dolan School of Business.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 30, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 135

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