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Professor honored at opening of Germany's first Rabbinical school since Nazis

Posted 11/10/00

Professor Susannah Heschel, the Chair and Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Religion, will receive the first-ever Abraham Geiger Award for her recent book Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus.

The award is given on the occasion of the opening of Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, the first rabbinical seminary to open in Germany since Nazi rule.

Heschel's book examines Geiger's understanding of first century Judaism and its relationship with Christianity. Geiger was a 19th century Jewish scholar and rabbi who advocated for establishment of a Jewish faculty in the German universities. Because he was Jewish, Geiger himself could not become a professor. He is known as one of the founders of reform Judaism in Germany.

"Geiger was a courageous rabbi, very open-minded, but he had respect for tradition and a respect for human beings," said Heschel. "He was a very fine person. He suffered a lot of discrimination, but he was never nasty."

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