Welcome to the

Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations


"... deepening understanding between Jews and Catholics through shared study since 1967."

The Story of the Institute

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In 1965, the Second Vatican Council called for Catholics and Jews to join in “biblical and theological inquiry … and friendly discussions.” Almost at once the Jesuit community at Saint Joseph’s College founded the Institute – the first such response to the Council by an American Catholic institution of higher education. They believed that rapprochement between Jews and Catholics was integral to the Catholic and Jesuit identity of Saint Joseph's and defined the mission of the Institute as increasing knowledge and deepening understanding between the two communities. Today, the Institute is directed by a Jewish professor and a Catholic professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. They regularly team-teach and partner nationally and globally to research Jewish and Christian reconciliation and reform. They promote opportunities for Christians and Jews to be study partners, teaching and learning about themselves and each other by studying and experiencing together texts, rituals, events, and places. This vision is enshrined in the original Joshua Koffman sculpture outside the university chapel, "Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time."

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Our Next Programs

American Antisemitism in Historical Perspective

Sunday, October 25, 2020, 3:00 p.m. 

Offered in collaboration with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna is University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he directs the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.  He also serves as Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.


Dr. Heather Miller Rubens is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies in Baltimore.

Rabbi Dr. Lance J. Sussman is Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA.


Moderator: Dr. Victoria J. Barnett is emeritus Director of the Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Questions about the Holocaust the Vatican’s World War II Archives Could Help Answer

Monday, November 9, 2020, 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

As a follow-up to the Philadelphia screening of the film "Holy Silence" last March, Dr. Brown-Fleming will discuss the status of the newly-opened Vatican archives from World War II and their importance in understanding the actions of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, including what are the crucial questions that those materials could help answer.

Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming is the Director of International Academic Programs at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Her area of research is the relationship between Germany and the Vatican during the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII, as well as Catholic antisemitism in that period.

Online registration for these webinars is required. Click on the titles to access the registration page.  

Latest Videos

Dialogue as an ‘Exchange of Gifts:’ How the Catholic-Jewish Rapprochement Can Enrich American Society

Today our country is experiencing a reckoning in terms of its racist legacy. What helpful lessons can be learned from the ongoing Catholic and Jewish experience of rapprochement?

Rev. Dr. Walter Kedjierski
Rev. Dr. Walter Kedjierski
Rabbi David Straus
Rabbi David Straus

Catholics, Jews, and the Issues of Our Time

Philadelphia's new archbishop, the Most Rev. Nelson Pérez, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, SJU University Professor, discuss Catholic-Jewish relations and some pressing issues facing both communities in American society today.

Archbishop Nelson Pérez
Archbishop Nelson Pérez
Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Rabbi Abraham Skorka

Remembering a Momentous Moment: The Meeting of Pope John XXIII and Prof. Jules Isaac

This webinar, co-sponsored with the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, marks the 60th anniversary of a brief conversation that led directly to a revolution in Catholic-Jewish relations.

Mary C. Boys, SNJM
Mary C. Boys, SNJM
Rabbi Irving Greenberg
Rabbi Irving Greenberg

Call for Papers

Christian Theologies of Jews and Judaism

is the theme of a special issue of the online, peer-reviewed journal Religions being co-edited by the Institute's directors. Scholars are invited to submit proposals or papers for the issue, to be completed by May 1, 2021.

Latest Essays by IJCR Professors

Philip A. Cunningham and Adam Gregerman: “‘Genuine Brotherhood without Remorse: A Commentary on Joseph Ratzinger’s “Comments on ‘De Iudaeis,’ Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 14/1 (December 2019).

Abraham Skorka, "The 'Days of Awe' and COVID-19," L'Osservatore Romano (Sept 18, 2020)

Institute Memberships

The Institute is a founding member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), a network of centers and institutes in the United States and Canada. The Council publishes the peer-reviewed, open-access online journal Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations.

The Institute cosponsors with the CCJR a library of resources in C-J relations called Dialogika ("things of dialogue"). The library provides documents from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and interfaith bodies; educational resources; and texts from the history of C-J relations.

Consortium of Holocaust Educators (CHE) of Greater PhiladelphiaThe Institute is a member of the Consortium of Holocaust Educators of Greater Philadelphia, which fosters communication and cooperation among regional organizations engaged in Holocaust awareness and education.

The Clifford Memorial Fund

Most of the Institute's many programs are funded by an endowment that honors the Institute's late director, the Rev. Donald G. Clifford, S.J., who directed its activities for over forty years. Please consider financially supporting our mission of deepening understanding between Jews and Catholics.

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