These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Streaming videos are available for many recent events.
Jews and Christians Experiencing Exodus Together
Monday, April 3, 2017, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Suite, 5th floor of McShain Hall
|The Passover Meal, the Seder, marks one of the major feasts on the Jewish calendar. Passover is also important for Christians since the story of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt is a principal element of many Christian observances, especially during Holy Week. The Seder meal is a wonderful way for Christians to have a direct experience of Jewish spiritual life, and for both communities to rededicate themselves to a world in which slavery and injustice are no more.
|The Passover Seder at SJU is a full catered kosher meal. Participants will join in the prayers, songs, and celebration in as close to a traditionally Jewish form as possible.|
The 50th Anniversary of the Institute’s Very First Program!
Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 7-9 p.m.
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Suite, 5th floor of McShain Hall
|On March 5, 1967 Saint Joseph’s College held its first annual “Catholic-Jewish Institute.” Organized with the help of the American Jewish Committee, it was the birth of what became today’s Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University.
The featured speakers were Msgr. George G. Higgins of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ social action department and Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee (see left). Both had been involved in the successful passage of the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on the Church’s Relationship to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, which had been promulgated less than a year-and-a-half earlier.
Join us on Sunday, March 5, 2017, as two internationally known experts in Catholic-Jewish relations, who are the counterparts of Msgr. Higgins and Rabbi Tanenbaum, come to the SJU campus to commemorate that first Institute program exactly one half-century later. Rev. Dr. Dennis McManus serves as Consultant for Jewish Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Rabbi A. James Rudin is Senior Interreligious Advisor for the American Jewish Committee. They will survey the developments over the five decades of the Institute’s existence and look ahead to future progress and challenges.
Jewish-Christian Relations in a Time of Plague
When plague ravaged the city of Prague in 1713, claiming the lives of a third of its inhabitants, Christian authorities designed drastic measures to limit its spread, many of which targeted the Jewish population as particularly suspect. This lecture will explore how natural disaster heightened existing concerns about difference, and how neighbors of different faiths still found ways of cooperating despite official disapproval—points that are as salient as ever in our age of interreligious strife and new threats of global contagion.
Dr. Joshua Teplitsky is a fellow this fall at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, visiting from his position as assistant professor at Stony Brook University. He previously held the Albert and Rachel Lehmann Junior Research Fellowship in Jewish History and Culture at Oxford University. His research focuses on Jewish life in German-speaking lands from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century, with particular interest in relationships and exchanges across religious and geographical boundaries.
Interreligious Dialogue in the Service of Peace in Israel
Rabbi Ron Kronish is the Founding Director and currently Senior Advisor of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, now the Interreligious department of Rabbis for Human Rights. An internationally acclaimed speaker and author , he has edited a book of essays on Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel: Voices for Interreligious Dialogue (Paulist Press, 2015), he blogs for The Huffington Post and The Times of Israel and he is writing a book about Interreligious Dialogue in Israel.
Mayor Issa Jabber is a veteran educator who now serves as the mayor of the Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, just west of Jerusalem. He is a former co-chairperson for many years of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel and he has lectured widely about Arab-Jewish Coexistence and Interreligious Dialogue in Israel and abroad.
Rabbi Kronish and Mayor Jabber will share their insights and experiences from the last 25 years of working together in Israel.
Thinking Contextually about Israel, Palestine, and the Churches
Churches in the Unites States and Europe and individual Christians have long been deeply interested in the Middle East, especially regarding the “Holy Land” and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Join us for a discussion with two leading Christian theologians to consider how contexts—social, political, and even geographic “locations”—shape theological perspectives. We will focus on the challenges of critically “transposing” religious ideas developed in one context into other, often distant contexts (such as when the religious outlooks of Middle Eastern Christians are received into an American Western context or when the methods of “liberationist” theologies that developed in the Americas are applied to the Middle East).
Rev. Dr. Robert Cathey is Professor of Theology at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he has taught at The Near East School of Theology (Beirut, Lebanon), Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL), Davidson College, and William Paterson University (NJ). He is a member of the Christian Leadership Initiative of the American Jewish Committee and the Shalom Hartman Institute (Jerusalem) that included intensive study in Jerusalem in July 2010 and 2011. He has served in the Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Work Group of Chicago Presbytery, and was one of the co-authors of In Our Time, a public document on US Presbyterian – Jewish Relations published by Chicago Presbytery in November, 2015.
Rev. Dr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John’s University in New York, where he is also a Senior Fellow of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society and serves as Director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. A Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Ruiz earned the doctorate from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His research interests include biblical studies (prophetic and apocalyptic literature), Hispanic theology, and interfaith relations. A Past-President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, his recent publications include the award-winning book, Readings from the Edges: The Bible & People on the Move.
Tuesday, Sept 13, 2016, 3:30-5 p.m.
Cardinal Foley Center St. Joseph’s University
Antwan Saca, a Palestinian Christian peace activist, and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, an Israeli settler who has become an advocate for coexistence, speak on behalf of Judur/Shorashim/Roots, a Palestinian-Israeli grassroots initiative fostering understanding, nonviolence and transformation. Their organization facilitates unmediated get-togethers and deep conversations between Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank.
Join our distinguished speakers as they tell their personal, intertwining stories. They come with no ready peace plans in hand, but with the conviction that human understanding and trust are the prerequisites for lasting justice, freedom and peace on the tiny sliver of land that they both call home.
The Dynamics of Religious Pluralism in a Changing World
The Philadelphia, United States, and International Contexts
July 10-13, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 4 p.m.
The Chapel of Saint Joseph – Michael J. Smith, S.J. Memorial (campus map)
David N. Saperstein is the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 12, 2014, and was sworn in and assumed his duties on January 6, 2015. The Ambassador at Large is, by law, a principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State and serves as the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. He also heads the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The President also has designated Ambassador Saperstein to carry out the duties in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2014.
Ambassador Saperstein previously served for 40 years as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), overseeing the national social justice programming for the largest segment of American Jewry. A rabbi and an attorney, for 35 years Saperstein taught seminars in First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law Center.
A prolific writer and speaker, Ambassador Saperstein has appeared on numerous television news and talk shows. His articles have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the “Harvard Law Review.” His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices of Our Time.
A detailed schedule of the full conference can be downloaded HERE.
The ICCJ serves as the umbrella organization of forty national Jewish-Christian dialogue organisations in over thirty nations around the world. Through its annual conferences and other consultations the ICCJ offers a platform where people of different religious backgrounds examine current issues across national and religious boundaries, enabling face-to-face exchanges of experience and expertise. The international headquarters of the ICCJ are located in Heppenheim, Germany in the house where the great Jewish thinker Martin Buber lived until Nazi persecution forced him to flee.
The CCJR is an association of nearly forty centers and institutes in the United States and Canada devoted to enhancing mutual understanding between Jews and Christians. It is the ICCJ’s national member organization for the United States. The CCJR publishes Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations in collaboration with Boston College’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning. The Council also maintains Dialogika, an English language supersite for resources and research in Christian-Jewish relations in partnership with the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
“The Christian Majority in the United States: Tolerance, Intolerance, and Competition”
- Dr. David M. Krueger, independent scholar
- Dr. Kate Oxx, Saint Joseph’s University
- Dr. Terry Rey, Temple University
- Dr. David Watt, Temple University
“The Jewish Experience of the American Experiment”
- Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
“The Muslim Experience of the American Experiment”
- Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Manhattan College
“International Perspectives on Religious Pluralism: Challenges, Limits, and Possibilities”
- Liliane Apotheker (France)
- Dr. Pavol Bargar (Czech Republic)
- Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler (Chile)
- Rev. Dr. Michael Trainor (Australia)
- Dr. Deborah Weissman (Israel)
Special Plenary: “The Understanding of Paul’s Theology and Christian Anti-Judaism”
- Dr. E. P. Sanders, Duke University, emeritus
- Rev. Dick Pruiksma, Protestant Church in the Netherlands
- Dr. Adele Reinhartz, University of Ottowa; Visiting Professor, Boston College
Concluding Plenary: “Reflections on the Conference”
- Rev. Dr. John Crossin
- Rev. Friedhelm Pieper
- Rabbi David Straus
- Dr. Philip Cunningham, Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University
- Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, Hebrew College
Sponsored by the Jewish Catholic Theological Exchange at Providence College in Rhode Island, these presentations discussed the significance of the Second Vatican Council declaration, Nostra Aetate, together with the current state of Catholic-Jewish relations. The next day a colloquium on the same topic was hosted by Dr. Holly Taylor Coolman and can be viewed on this second video link.
A Conversation on the Newest Statements about the Christian-Jewish Relationship
Including the first theological statement by the Catholic Church in 30 years
February 24, 2016 at 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Doyle Banquet Hall South, Campion Student Center
At the end of 2015, three significant statements from the Vatican, the French Jewish community, and a group of Orthodox rabbis were issued on the relationship between Christians and Jews. The Institute has invited some leading scholars to SJU for a consultation to study these texts, many of whom will join in a public conversation about these fascinating documents. The texts are available at the bottom of the webpage found HERE.
Speaking about the documents for the public evening program:
- Rabbi Dr. Ruth Langer
- Dr. Elena Procario-Foley
- Rabbi Dr. David Sandmel
- Rabbi Dr. David Berger; Rabbi Noam Marans, Rev. Dr. John T. Pawlikowski; Rev. Dr. Peter A. Pettit; Rabbi Dr. Ruth Sandberg; and Dr. Matthew Tapie.
Note: The consultation resulted in the publication of several articles on the 2015 Vatican document. For more information
Dr. Galit Hasan-Rokem
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall – 5th Floor [campus map]
Co-sponsored with the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
The “wandering Jew”—doomed, according to legend, to roam the world until the end of days—was a powerful creation of the medieval imagination. As a derogatory image, it represented the idea that God had cursed Jews for their unbelief. However, the wanderer existed not only in the Christian mind but also, albeit differently, in Jewish folklore, art, and literature.
As we celebrate this year the 1965 Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate (which rejected the notion of the cursed and wandering Jew), Galit Hasan-Rokem unravels this multidimensional tradition that evolved over centuries of creative contact between Jews and Christians.
Galit Hasan-Rokem is a distinguished professor of folklore and Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Author of many scholarly works including Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature and Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity, she is also a translator and poet, with several collections published in Hebrew.