Celebrating Five Years of Pope Francis: People, Mercy, Dialogue

March 12, 2018

[From SJU News]

Pope Francis visits ‘Synagoga’ and ‘Ecclesia’ in Our Time

On March 13, 2013, the world awaited news from the papal conclave that would reveal the identity of the next leader of the Catholic Church. To almost global surprise, Cardinal Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was named pope. As such, His Holiness claims a number of “firsts” in papal history: He is the first pope from the Americas, the first to take the name Francis, and the first member of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, to inhabit the Holy See.

As Pope Francis’s papacy reaches the five-year mark, experts from Saint Joseph’s University, one of the nation’s 28 Jesuit universities, reflect on the meaning and power of his contributions to Catholicism and the global community and what makes his ministry uniquely Jesuit.

Pope Francis visited Saint Joseph’s campus during his 2015 American tour, where he was reunited with his longtime friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Their friendship is embodied in the University’s sculpture, Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time, which commemorates Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II document that transformed the relationship between the Catholic Church and other religions, most especially with Judaism.

Intellect Magazine: “Differing Perspectives on the Holy Land”

March 6, 2018

The following article appeared in the spring 2018 issue of Intellect, the magazine of SJU’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Enabling Fruitful Dialogues

By Marisa (Fulton) Benjamin ’03

The International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) was receiving the same request for help, over and over again. When local Jewish and Christian dialogue groups met, in countries all over the world, its members could not discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without verbal battle.

“The polarizing power of this topic is tremendous,” says interfaith scholar Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., professor of theology and director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations (IJCR) at Saint Joseph’s. “I was hearing reports regularly that when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came up, people were suddenly at each other’s throats.” Cunningham is the ICCJ’s most recent past president.


Rabbi Abraham Skorka Named SJU University Professor

February 19, 2018

Appointment will help to further the mission of the University’s Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations

Rabbi Abraham Skorka delivers the keynote address at the dedication of “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time,” September 25, 2015.

PHILADELPHIA ([date] 2018) – Saint Joseph’s University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., announced today the appointment of Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Ph.D., as University Professor beginning in the fall of 2018. He will work closely with the directors of the University’s Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations to develop and expand its educational and research programs with the goal of promoting deeper understanding between Catholics and Jews.


A Healing Relationship in Interfaith Dialogue

November 13, 2017

SJU hosted expert panelists in discussion of Orthodox Jews and the Catholic Church.

Monday, November 13, 2017

by Katie Smith ’15

On Thursday, Nov. 9, faculty, students, local faith leaders and community members gathered at Saint Joseph’s University for a panel discussion sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Catholic Relations (IJCR). Panelists Rabbi Mark Dratch and Rabbi Eugene Korn, Ph.D., spoke on two statements recently issued by Orthodox Jews on their relationship to the Catholic Church. Dratch and Korn were principal authors on each statement respectively.

“A talk like this would be unimaginable to my grandfather,” began Korn, a scholar from Jerusalem and the academic director for the Center for Jewish-Christian Cooperation and Understanding in Israel.


Call for Papers: “Fulfilling the Promise of a New Relationship”

October 18, 2017

An Academic Roundtable on Christian-Jewish Relations

Monday, January 7 to
Thursday, January 10, 2019

St. Raphaela Center, 616 Coopertown Rd, Haverford, PA 19041



The Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia was founded in 1967 to increase knowledge and deepen understanding between Jews and Catholics through shared study. As part of this mission, the Institute is issuing a call for papers for an academic conference entitled “Fulfilling the Promise of a New Relationship” to occur January 7-10, 2019. The conference will include both scholarly presentations of papers and roundtable discussions.


Rally Provides Impetus for Synagogue Course on Changing Anti-Semitism

October 18, 2017

by Marissa Stern

The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was profoundly shocking and, for many, horrifying. Its resulting violence sparked marches and vigils in solidarity for victims in cities across the country.

In Society Hill, it also provided an impetus for an educational opportunity.

Rabbi Avi Winokur recently started a class at Society Hill Synagogue on anti-Semitism inspired by the acts in Virginia.


Teaching resource examines Christian-Jewish relations

September 22, 2017

From The Catholic Register (Toronto)

By Michael Swan

With people marching through downtown Charlottesville, Va., in crash helmets, carrying shields and truncheons and giving Nazi salutes, there can’t be much question of the need for everybody to review the history of Christian- Jewish relations since the world learned the horrors of Auschwitz in the Second World War, says the director of the Institute for Jewish- Catholic Relations at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University.

“Absolutely, it should be happening on all levels,” said Philip Cunningham, a professor of theology at the university.


Video: Pope Francis and Rabbi Abraham Skorka on the Importance of Interreligious Dialogue

June 14, 2017

This video was created by the Elijah Interfaith Institute as part of its project “Make Friends,” in which some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders encourage people everywhere to make friends across religious lines. For all of the videos produced for this project, see: https://www.youtube.com/MakeFriends. Our thanks to Executive Director Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein for his permission to post this edited video here, which focuses on how much their own dialogues have personally meant to Rabbi Skorka and Pope Francis.


Director of Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations to be Honored at Gratz College Commencement

May 8, 2017

Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Jewish-Catholic Relations and professor of theology and religious studies, will receive an honorary doctoral degree at the Gratz College commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21 at 3 p.m. According to the college, he is being honored as “a leader in the world of interfaith relations.”


Papers from Institute Academic Consultation Published

April 13, 2017

Essays Analyze Latest Vatican Statement on Catholic-Jewish Relations

In December 2015, the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews issued a nuanced and sophisticated document, surveying the theological landscape after fifty years of dialogue. On February 24-25, 2016, the Institute brought several Christian and Jewish specialists to SJU to study this Vatican text and recent Jewish statements. We are pleased to announce that scholarly papers resulting from this consultation have been published in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, the journal of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, published by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.