Susannah Heschel

Professor Susannah Heschel gives keynote address

On December 7, 2013, Professor Susannah Heschel gave the keynote address at Erudition and Commitment: A conference in honour of Angelika Neuwirth, held at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin. The theme of her talk was "Islam and Jewish-German Self Understanding."

The Legacy of a Nazi Church

A group that includes an imam, a rabbi, and a minister plans to build a multi-faith prayer space atop the ruins of St. Peter’s Church in Berlin, but critics say the group is ignoring the site’s “horrific past,” The Atlantic writes.

Noted German historian Manfred Gailus has brought attention to the site’s history, says the magazine, including the notoriously anti-Semitic pastor of the church during the 1940s, Walter Hoff, and his role in the Holocaust.

Gailus’ academic colleague, Professor of Religion Susannah Heschel, who holds the Eli Black Professorship in Jewish Studies at Dartmouth, corroborates Gailus’ view of the pastor. Heschel tells the magazine, “Up until the 1980s, when American historians started to investigate the role of German churches in National Socialism, German church historians only focused on the resistance movement. Their story was that the Church was opposed to Hitler. And it wasn’t. Some members opposed Hitler, but many did not—many pastors actively backed Hitler.”

Black-Jewish Relations at Their Best

In a story about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, The Washington Post takes a look at how recent events commemorating the 1963 march have evoked memories of the relations between African Americans and Jews, groups closely aligned in the early days of the civil rights movement.

Dartmouth’s Susannah Heschel, who attended the 50th anniversary event on August 28, tells the Post that the movement’s shift since the 1960s has affected relations between Jews and African Americans.

The two groups’ relations have changed from one based in churches to one active mostly in courts and legislatures, reducing the “religious dimension,” she tells the Post. “It was the religious dimension that brought us together. What does it mean to link arms and sing We Shall Overcome? Is that political or spiritual?”

Heschel, the Eli Black Professor in Jewish Studies in Dartmouth’s Department of Religion, is the daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a philosopher who marched with King in Selma, Ala.

Professor Heschel Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Susannah Heschel, the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies in Dartmouth’s Department of Religion, and Cleopatra Mathis, the Frederick Sessions Beebe ’35 Professor of the Art of Writing in the Department of English, are among 175 scholars in the United States and Canada who have been awarded 2013 fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

The Guggenheims are frequently characterized as “midcareer” awards. Heschel and Mathis were selected from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise,” according to the foundation’s website.

Adrian Randolph, associate dean of the faculty for the arts and humanities, says he was delighted that the Guggenheim Foundation chose to honor two of Dartmouth’s esteemed teacher-scholars.