Dear Glennon, His Name is Abraham Joshua Heschel

An Open Letter to Glennon Doyle

by Julia Indichova

​Most of you reading this are probably familiar with Glennon Doyle’s work and books. She is a true humanitarian. Untamed is her most recent wise, wonderful book.  

Dear Glennon,

I LOVE Untamed and I’m in awe of all the good you’re doing to heal our hurting human family. I initially talked myself out of posting this note, but after the events of the last few weeks, I changed my mind. I trust you. After reading Untamed I trust that you would *get* it. That you would get that engaging in a soul-to-soul conversation about a seemingly innocuous omission in one of the chapters of your book could expand the healing work you so stunningly model.

His name is Abraham Joshua Heschel. The someone you didn’t name. On page 207 of Untamed after naming many of the civil rights heroes you wrote: “Someone once said that marching is praying with your feet.”

All you or your editor had to do is Google “who said praying with your feet,” and you would’ve landed on his name. What Rabbi Heschel reportedly said was: “I felt like my feet were praying.” He was one of the giants in the fight for justice. Like you, Glennon, he “felt everything” and then poured all that feeling into active prayer. If you had searched that cluster of words, chances are next to his name you would’ve seen a photograph of Dr. King and Heschel marching arm in arm in Selma.

Your daughter Tish was right, there were many whites who didn’t march in the civil rights marches but there were many who did. And like Abraham Joshua Heschel many of the white allies were Jews.

My dear friend Ellie Devers and I recently talked about how our respective tribes—her Irish and my Jewish ancestors— understood oppression. Raised in a culture that perceived me as the “unholy other” I experienced the omission of Rabbi Heschel’s name as an error which, if thoughtfully acknowledged, could initiate a whole cascade of repair.

I also thought, you, your readers and social media followers and Tish and Amma would appreciate the beauty of Heschel’s teachings. Here is another one of his famous lines: “Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word has power, and we can, each of us, do our share to redeem the world….Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.”

I realize that this letter might never reach you, but I think you’d understand when I say, I had no choice but to write it.

With love and gratitude for all your words and deeds,

Julia Indichova

5 Responses to “An Open Letter to Glennon Doyle”

  1. jorjen says:

    Well done, Julia. How fortunate this world is to benefit from the many ways in which you make your voice heard. It is clear how you are using your many gifts in ways that heal. For the millions that history has silenced, you open the door to remembering and honoring their journey. I am profoundly grateful that you continue to move toward change and are a guiding light.

  2. RebeccaC says:

    Thank you, Julia, for reminding us to honour the truth and those who fight for it. Many defenders of freedom and equality are omitted from history precisely because they belonged to a “tribe” who lacks such freedom and equality. Eventually someone comes along and tells the story of what that person did or said to get closer to truth and freedom. And the person who was silenced is given back their voice. And that voice sings even louder than before because it is now sung by many, in unison, unity, union. I have no doubt that Glennon will read this letter, one day, and three voices seeking truth, yours, hers and Rabbi Heschel’s, will be all the louder thanks to it.

  3. Genevieve says:

    What a beautiful letter Julia! So well written and put together. I hope she gets the chance to read it!! I loved her book Untamed as well. I feel confident that the letter will reach her and touch her. Keep us posted on what unfold from this!

  4. annas says:

    This is such a gentle way to invite someone to a conversation. I think I would have to do a whole week of body truth to write something like this. Thank you for modeling this for us, Julia. I’m new to the practice but this is actually showing me how much I needed not just for my baby journey but for so many other things in my life.

  5. MariaMom says:

    I’m so inspired by your courage, Julia. Over the years, your videos and your heartfelt sharing about your family is all I know about Jewish history. I’m going to look up Abraham Joshua Heschel, loved the quote at the end of your letter. Glennon’s book sounds interesting too. I’ll be checking her out too.

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