download:posterGo to Tool Kit > Frames of MindMasters SeriesProudly JewishSelect by:ArtistAuthorQuoteArtistAuthorQuoteMaster tabPoster Commentary"A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith."Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Poster design:Ofra AmitCommentary by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz The theologian, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel teaches us to take a leap into ethical and spiritual action that compels transformation, and not to act by faith alone. The same Heschel also taught: “To be is to stand for.” What do Heschel’s teachings mean for us decades later? In an era where a plethora of choices can paralyze, people often tend toward conformity, apathy, and disengagement. If one merely follows social trends, our most meaningful and authentic communal activities would disappear. Memory has all but forgotten Nachshon ben Aminadav, but he is among the most radical Jews. When the newly-freed Israelites approached the Red Sea with the Egyptians in pursuit, God had not yet parted the waters to save them. The Israelites were frightened of what lay ahead, wailing, and threatening to return to Egypt. The Midrash teaches that Nachshon responded to his despondent brethren by jumping into the howling sea. The waters parted. Miracles were made plain. Now is the time. We must give to the world more than we take from the world. In each moment of our short lives, we are asked to approach the unknown and do something. But we stumble and fail, and this fear falsely restricts our potential. In the end, we are defined not by our thoughts or our words, but by what we have done. No longer shall we be slaves to lethargy! Let us bring a holy light into the world, our own unique flame of action to light the way. Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is the executive director of the Valley Beit Midrash in Arizona, founder/president of Uri L’Tzedek, and founder/CEO of the Shamayim V’Aretz Institute. He completed an M.A. at Yeshiva University in Jewish philosophy, an M.A. at Harvard in moral psychology, and a doctorate at Columbia in epistemology and moral development. Yanklowitz studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah for rabbinic ordination. He is the author of six books on Jewish ethics and was listed in Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America. Conversation Guide What do you THINK? 1. What leaps of action would you love to presently make? 2. What do you have to solve or overcome before you act? Does anything hold you back from doing so? 3. Heschel’s dictum does not mean that Jews need only act, and not believe. Which beliefs can serve as a strong foundation for action? What do you SEE? 1. Describe the elements in this poster and how they portray the quote. Does it change how you originally thought of this quote without the image? How so? 2. What is symbolic about the vessel? What does it imply about the giver? What might the flowers represent? 3. What do the artist’s choice of colors and the black background convey to you? Copyright© 2015 Harold Grinspoon Foundation Please use this guide creatively in your programs. We’d also love to see what you’re doing and share it with others, so please post on our website using the Share button in The Exchange. Credits Proudly Jewish©2015, Ofra Amit, Quote: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Harold Grinspoon Foundation, West Springfield, MA AuthorRabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel 1907–1972Lived in Poland, New YorkPhilosopher, activistAbout Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a rabbi, philosopher, and civil rights activist. Heschel descended from a line of prominent Hasidic rabbis, and these roots later found their voice in his philosophy. Heschel completed rabbinic ordination and a doctorate in Berlin, and taught Jewish Studies. He was deported by the Nazis to Poland, where he continued to teach Jewish studies, and then immigrated to England. In 1940, Heschel was invited to teach philosophy and rabbinics at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. In 1945, he moved to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he taught Jewish ethics and mysticism until his death. Heschel was active in interfaith dialogue and was a close ally of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement. Links A tribute to Heschel by his student Prof. Reuven Kimelman A New York Times review of a recent biography on Heschel Excerpt from Heschel’s book The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man Musician Basya Schechter on the challenge of setting Heschel poems to music ArtistOfra AmitTel AvivIllustrator• • •About Ofra Amit is an award-winning Israeli illustrator whose works are featured in magazines, newspapers, and children’s books. She graduated from WIZO Canada Institute of Design in Haifa, Israel, and has been awarded many prestigious honors, including the Communication Arts' Illustration Annual, Applied Arts' Illustration Annual, Bologna Children’s Books Fair Illustrator’s Exhibition, Andersen Contest, Ben-Yitzhak Award of the Israel Museum, and Society of Illustrators' 2006 award. Links Ofra Amit's website More illustrations by Ofra Amit Media Video on Ofra Amit Quote"A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith."Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Context Our understanding of God is not the triumphant outcome of an assault upon the riddles of the universe nor a donation we receive in return for intellectual surrender. Our understanding comes by the way of mitzvah. By living as Jews we attain our faith as Jews. We do not have faith in deeds; we attain faith through deeds. When Moses recounted to the people the laws of the covenant with God, the people responded: "We will do and we will hear." This statement was interpreted to mean: In doing we perceive. A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith... In carrying out the words of the Torah he is ushered into the presence of spiritual meaning. Through the ecstasy of deeds he learns to be certain of the presence of God. Source Source of quote: Heschel, Abraham. “The Meaning of Observance.” The Jewish Frontier, April 1954, pages 22-28. Hebrew "יהודי נבחן במעשיו יותר מאשר באמונתו." -הרב אברהם יהושע השל Select by Artist Ofra Amit Ruah Edelstein Chana Helen Rosenberg Mordechai Rosenstein Arnold Schwartzman Ilene Winn-Lederer Select by Author Rabbi Rachel Cowan Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Golda Meir Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Lynn Schusterman Select by Quote "A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith." "Judaism is founded on human faith and divine promise that the world can be perfected." "Judaism is about sanctifying life." "Serving others is one of the pillars upon which Judaism rests." "We hate war. We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel." "I am blessed to be a voyager on an ancient pathway." Select by Artist Ofra Amit Ruah Edelstein Chana Helen Rosenberg Mordechai Rosenstein Arnold Schwartzman Ilene Winn-Lederer Select by Author Rabbi Rachel Cowan Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Golda Meir Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Lynn Schusterman Select by Quote "Serving others is one of the pillars upon which Judaism rests." "Judaism is founded on human faith and divine promise that the world can be perfected." "A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith." "We hate war. We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel." "Judaism is about sanctifying life." "I am blessed to be a voyager on an ancient pathway."