These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Items marked "video available" can be streamed from this website by clicking on "Videos" in the top navigation bar above.

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

November 9, 2020

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]

Guest speaker:

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.


American Antisemitism in Historical Perspective

October 25, 2020
This webinar is offered in collaboration with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, of which the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations is a founding member.

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]

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 chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, and serves as Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Author or editor of more than thirty books on American Jewish history and life, his American Judaism: A History  (Yale 2004), recently published in a second edition, won six awards including the 2004 “Everett Jewish Book of the Year Award” from the Jewish Book Council. His most recent books are (with Benjamin Shapell)  Lincoln and the Jews: A History (St. Martin’s, 2015), and When General Grant Expelled the Jews (Schocken/Nextbook, 2012). His annotated edition of Cora Wilburn’s previously unknown 1860 novel, Cosella Wayne (University of Alabama Press), has also just appeared.


Dr. Heather Miller Rubens is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies ( in Baltimore.  Holding a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she studies how religious communities navigate political, legal, and cultural spaces, as well as how different religious communities relate to one another in particular contexts.


Rabbi Dr. Lance J. Sussman has served as the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA since 2001. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Jewish History at Binghamton University, SUNY. Rabbi Sussman has also taught at Princeton, Hunter College and Rutgers. He holds a Ph.D. in American Jewish History from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, studying under Jacob Rader Marcus.


Dr. Victoria J. Barnett was Director of the Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from 2004-2019. She also served as one of the general editors of the 17-volume Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, the complete English edition of Bonhoeffer’s writings published by Fortress Press. Her most recent book is “After Ten Years”: Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Our Times.


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

September 14, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020, 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]

The post-Second World War “journey of friendship” between Jews and Catholics, as Pope Francis has called it, has shown the world that it is possible for two communities that had been estranged and hostile to one another for over a millennium to come together in a new and enriching relationship. 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? Two leaders in the national Catholic-Jewish dialogue will discuss the connections between interracial and interreligious relations.

Guest Speakers:

Rev. Dr. Walter F. Kedjierski is the Executive Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He holds an Ed.D. in Interfaith and Ecumenical Education from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana and a Ph.D. in Dogmatic/Spiritual Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation’s Foundation House at Oxford University.


Rabbi David Straus is the  Senior Rabbi at Main Line Reform Temple | Beth Elohim in Wynnewood, PA. He is a co-convener of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia, and serves on the board and executive committee of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. He is the chair of the National Council of Synagogues which meets regularly with members of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, National Council of Churches, and the Evangelical Community.



Catholics, Jews, and the Issues of Our Time: A Conversation between Archbishop Nelson Pérez and Rabbi Abraham Skorka

July 28, 2020

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.


Archbishop Pérez

Rabbi Skorka

Join us for a special webinar as 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.




[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


Webinar: Moving toward Mutuality: Five Plus Decades on the Catholic-Jewish “Journey of Friendship”

July 16, 2020

Thursday, July 16, 2020 – 7:00 p.m. 

A special program offered in collaboration with the Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center

This virtual presentation is Co-Sponsored by Rev. George Balasko in memory of Rabbi Samuel Meyer as part of the Villa Maria Annual Nostra Aetate Lecture Series

Since the Second Vatican Council in 1965, interactions between Jews and Catholics have become more frequent and positive than ever before in history. Official and informal dialogues have multiplied, and religious leaders in both communities have reconsidered and reformed long-held ideas about each other in a process that still continues. This “journey of friendship,” as Pope Francis has called it, has led to a new interreligious relationship that is exemplified by his own long friendship and dialogues with Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires. It is also depicted in an original sculpture, “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time,” at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, blessed by Pope Francis in 2015. The artwork shows the Synagogue and the Church learning from each other’s experiences of God in a relationship of mutuality. Join us for this story of a new beginning that gives great hope for the future. 

Presenter: Philip A. Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


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

May 8, 2020

A webinar co-sponsored with the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome


Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 11 a.m. Philadelphia | 17:00 Rome


On June 13, 1960, Prof. Jules Isaac met with Pope John XXIII. Their dialogue led directly to the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate and the Jewish-Catholic dialogue that has now unfolded for six decades.  This webinar marked the 60th anniversary of this historic event by featuring two international leaders of the dialogue: Dr. Mary Boys, SNJM and Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg!

Click HERE for the full details.

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


“The Two Popes”: A webinar from the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK

April 30, 2020

Institute Director Dr. Philip Cunningham and Dr. Gemma Simmonds, CJ discuss the hit film “The Two Popes.” The film is a biographical drama about Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, played respectively by actors Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. Hopkins was nominated for best supporting actor and Pryce for best actor by the Academy Awards for their performances.

Gemma Simmonds is a sister of the Congregation of Jesus. An honorary fellow of Durham University and past president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, she has studied at the universities of Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro and Cambridge, where she undertook a doctorate in theology. She is the Director of the Religious Life Institute in Cambridge.

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


From Contempt to Comrades: Tracing the Amazing Transformation of Catholic-Jewish Relations

April 13, 2020

This webinar sponsored by the America-Israel Friendship League featured Rabbi David Rosen and Institute Director Dr. Philip Cunningham.

Jews and Christians this year are celebrating their respective sacred springtime holy days of Passover and Easter in the midst of a plague of biblical proportions.  As COVID-19  calls for us to work even more closely together to make it through, we are reminded to reflect on the amazing journey both faiths are on together  – coming from nearly 2,000 years of hatred and contempt to the positive trajectory of the last 50 years. Today, we continue to build bonds of understanding, education and friendship between the Jewish people and Israel and the Catholic Church. Join us to hear from two of the world’s leading experts leading the  path towards a deeper positive relationship between Jews and Catholics, which in turn, serves as a historic model for improving multi-faith relations around the globe.

Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, is the International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee and Director of AJC’s Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding.  He is a past chairman of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.  Rabbi Rosen is a member of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s commission for Interreligious Dialogue; and serves on the Council of the Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


Special Philadelphia Screening: “Holy Silence” — Reconsidering the Catholic Church and the Holocaust

March 3, 2020

A Film by Steven Pressman [trailer]

Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Teletorium in Mandeville Hall [campus map]

Pope Pius XI from the documentary “Holy Silence.” The film examines whether Jewish lives would have been saved had Pope Pius XI or his successor, Pope Pius XII, issued a statement urging the protection of Jews in Axis-held Europe. (PerlePress Productions)

In 1933, the vast majority of Germans belonged to a Christian church. A third of the population (around 20 million) were Roman Catholic, whereas the Jewish community represented less than 1% of the population. As the Nazi Party’s power and antisemitism spread across Europe, how did one of the world’s most influential institutions—the Catholic Church—address and confront the Nazi regime and its laws, particularly the persecution of Jews? Holy Silence is a new thought-provoking documentary that examines the individuals who played a crucial role in shaping the Vatican’s response to the rising Nazi threat across Europe. Stories include: a humble Jesuit priest from New England, a leading American industrialist dispatched on a mission by President Franklin Roosevelt, and high-ranking officials within the Vatican determined to carry out their own objectives.

In collaboration with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, SJU is honored to host a special Philadelphia screening of this important new documentary, including a discussion with its director Steven Pressman.


Jewish Views of the Religious “Other”

February 10, 2020

A Two-Part Spring Series Featuring Rabbi Abraham Skorka

Co-author with Pope Francis of On Heaven and Earth


Note: All programs are from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Forum Theater, Campion Student Center [Campus Map].

1. Christianity

Monday, January 27, 2020

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


Dr. Philip A. Cunningham is Co-Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations


2. Islam and the Religions of Asia

Monday, February 10, 2020

[ Video available. Click on “Videos” above.]


Dr. Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies

Dr. David Carpenter is Associate Professor of Asian Religions