Welcome to the

Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations

 

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

The Story of the Institute

The Institute came into being after a major transformation in Catholic teaching about Jews at the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Its declaration, Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), called for Catholics and Jews to collaborate in “biblical and theological inquiry … and friendly discussions.” Almost at once the Jesuit community at what was then Saint Joseph’s College founded the Institute – the first such response to the Second Vatican Council by an American Catholic institution of higher learning. 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 seeking to increase knowledge and deepen understanding between the Jewish and Catholic peoples, thereby building shalom (or "right relationship") between the two communities. The Rev. Donald Clifford, S.J. directed the Institute in pursuing this mission for over four decades.

Today, the Institute's professors offer courses on Christian-Jewish relations in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. They 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.

In 2015, this vision was enshrined in a sculpture created by artist Joshua Koffman to celebrate the golden jubilee of Nostra Aetate and the mission of the Institute. The longtime friend of Pope Francis, fellow Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, was the keynote speaker at the dedication of “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” at the Chapel of Saint Joseph on September 25th. Two days later, Pope Francis himself came to the campus. Embracing his friend, Rabbi Skorka observed of the female figures that symbolize Synagogue and Church: "They are you and I – Pope and Rabbi learning from one another." The Holy Father blessed the sculpture and the Institute's mission in service of what he has called the Catholic and Jewish "journey of friendship."

Our Next Program

Evangelical Protestantism and Israel

Part 1 of a three-part series:
"The Land and State of Israel in Christian Theologies" 

Monday, February 19, 2018, 7–8:30 p.m.

Guest Speaker: Rev. Dr. Gerald McDermott, Anglican Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School

Upcoming Programs 

Call for Papers

Fulfilling the Promise of a New Relationship

The Institute is issuing a call for papers for an academic conference to occur January 7-9, 2019. It will include both presentations of papers and roundtable discussions.  We invite scholars to submit paper proposals engaging some of the most vital topics in Christian-Jewish relations.

 

Institute News

Papers from Institute Consultation Published

Essays analyze the latest Vatican Statement about  the theology of Catholic-Jewish Relations. Now available in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations.

 

Latest Video

Orthodox Jews and the Catholic Church

Exploring two groundbreaking Orthodox statements  

Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn and Rabbi Mark Dratch discuss milestone documents they each helped compose.

Institute Archives

Institute Memberships

The Institute is a founding member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, a network of centers and institutes in the United States and Canada.

The Institute cosponsors with the CCJR a library of resources in C-J relations called Dialogika ("things of dialogue").

Consortium of Holocaust Educators (CHE) of Greater Philadelphia

The Institute is a member of the Consortium of Holocaust Educators of Greater Philadelphia.

The Clifford Memorial Fund

A memorial endowment has been established in memory of the Institute's late director, the Rev. Donald G. Clifford, S.J., who directed its activities for over forty years. This endowment funds most of the Institute's many programs. Please consider supporting the mission of deepening understanding between Jews and Catholics.

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