These pages list past Institute programs and its directors' presentations elsewhere. Streaming videos are available for many recent events.

The Passover Seder at SJU: Experiencing Exodus Together

March 17, 2013

Campion Hall: Banquet Hall North

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Main Line Reform Temple-Beth Elohim, Temple Har Zion, and SJU’s Interfaith Task Force.

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. A limited number of seats are available for 50 Christians and 50 Jews – first come, first served – so register as soon as possible!

Learning How to Talk to Each Other: Religious Conversation among Jews, Christians, and Muslims since Vatican II

January 28, 2013

Video

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7 p.m. Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall

Fifty years ago, cardinals, bishops, and theologians began drafting the document that eventually become the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate). It quickly became apparent that the proposed text should express the Catholic Church’s desire for friendship and conversation not only with Jews, but with Muslims and people of other religious traditions as well. This presented unforeseen challenges. In the following decades bilateral discussions have been fostered between Jews and Muslims, Muslims and Christians, Christians and Jews, and among all three “Abrahamic” traditions together. Preliminary encounters revealed the existence of a certain amount of “gibberish” in how we hear and speak about each other. They also showed that the theological dynamics between any two of the Abrahamic traditions are different in regard to the third.  This special panel consisting of a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim—all of whom are dedicated to interreligious understanding—will discuss these issues, which continue to shape tri-lateral relations today.  The moderator will be Dr. William Madges, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Rabbi Dr. Nancy Fuchs Kreimer is the Director of the Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives at the Reconstructionist Rabbincal College and Associate Professor of Religious Studies. She holds a PhD in Religion from Temple University where her doctoral work was in the field of Jewish-Christian Relations. In 2006, Nancy began to develop an innovative service learning course at RRC, “Islam for Rabbis.” Since 2007, that course, along with other projects that serve communities beyond RRC, has been funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. Nancy serves on the boards of the Interfaith Center of Philadelphia and Clergy Beyond Borders. Her recent publications include book chapters in Interfaith Just Peacemaking (Macmillan, 2012), My Neighbor’s Faith (Orbis,2011), Women and Interreligious Dialogue (forthcoming) and Can Only One Religion be True?(Fortress, 2013). With Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, she co-edited Chapters of the Heart: Jewish Women Sharing the Torah of our Lives (forthcoming from Wipf and Stock, 2013).

Anse Tamara Gray is an educator with twenty years of experience in the Middle East. She has worked in private schools and institutions, in big cities and villages. She worked to publish culturally appropriate English Language programs, and to develop teacher-training workshops that would raise the level of teaching regionally. While she worked to bring quality education to women and children, she was also pursuing her own further education in classic Islamic studies. She began an in-depth study of the biography of the Prophet(s) with the professor whose book she would later help translate. She went on to study the Islamic subjects of hadeeth, tafseer, fiqh, aqeedah and others; which are the equivalent of a BA in Shariah. An ijazah (certificate) in Quran crowned her work in tajweed and she translated a book on that subject as well. Concerned about women’s issues, she began a website – Rabata.org (meaning to tie together), dedicated to building spiritual ties between women, the spiritual upbringing of women by women, and the establishment of the female voice in Islamic scholarship.  Interfaith dialogue, wherein people of faith come together to understand each other, is another area of her interests. She hopes that people of faith can come together to establish a better world – the world we are meant to live in.

Dr. Philip A. Cunningham is Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University, where he is also Professor of Theology in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Interested in biblical studies, religious education, and theologies of the Jewish and Christian relationship, he is the author or co-editor of numerous articles and books, including the recently published: Christ Jesus and the Jewish People Today: New Explorations of Theological Interrelationships (Eerdmans and Gregorian & Biblical Presses). Dr. Cunningham serves as a Vice-President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) and as Secretary-Treasurer of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR). He also is the webmaster of the online resource library in Christian-Jewish relations called Dialogika (www.dialogika.us), a joint project of the CCJR and Saint Joseph’s University. He has been a member of the advisory committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Was There ‘Christian Marriage’ in the Middle Ages?

December 3, 2012

Dr. Ruth Mazo Karras

Monday, December 3, 2012 at 7 p.m. | Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall

The issue of who gets to decide what constitutes marriage in American society is under much discussion today, in media headlines as well as among academicians. Many voices invoke the “Judeo-Christian tradition” to argue for a Bible-based understanding of marriage. People tend to think of the Middle Ages as a time of traditional religion; so is that when Christian marriage developed, out of the Roman and Jewish traditions? This lecture argues that calling medieval marriage “Christian” is problematic, and raises the further question of whether an institution is Christian because it happens among Christians in the same way that something is Jewish because it happens among Jews.

Ruth Mazo Karras is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is also a co-editor of the journal Gender & History. Past President of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (2005-08), she is the author of four books and numerous articles on various aspects of medieval social and cultural history, gender, and sexuality. Her current research concerns the formation of quasi-marital unions in medieval Western Europe.

The Lessons of Kristallnacht for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations Today

November 14, 2012

Video

Rabbi Dr. Mark Winer

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7 p.m.  Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall

 

Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass,” was a planned series of attacks on Jewish synagogues and businesses in Nazi Germany that erupted on the night of November 9-10, 1938. Many historians date this rampage as the beginning of the Shoah (Holocaust).  In our own time, acts of terrorism couched in religious rhetoric have intensified feelings of interreligious hostility. Rabbi Winer, drawing on his extensive experience in promoting understanding among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, will reflect on the interreligious attitudes among these three traditions today.

Rabbi Dr. Mark L. Winer is the recently retired senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue of British Jews. He graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude and earned his PhD at Yale, where he studied Sociology, Comparative Religion, Contemporary Jewry, and Race and Ethnic Relations. He has served as President of the National Council of Synagogues (USA), as well as heading an international initiative called FAITH: the Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony. He has been involved in several international events, including the treaty between Israel and the Vatican, the release of Ethiopian Jews, and the dispute over the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz. Currently he is Chairman of the International Interfaith Task Force for the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

From Moses to Moses There Was None Like Moses: Moses Maimonides and His Controversial Legacy

November 12, 2012

Video

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 4 P.M. in the Chapel of Saint Joseph

Sponsored as part of the series by SJU Learns: “Great Religious Figures Who Are Not Founders”

Moses Maimonides was a 12th-century philosopher, physician, and jurist who influenced St. Thomas Aquinas.

Rabbi Alan Iser is an Adjunct Professor at Saint Joseph’s University and Villanova University.

 

 

Relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See: 1993 to the Present

October 4, 2012

Video

Rev. Dr. John T. Pawlikowski

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 4 p.m.  Mandeville Hall, Room 103

 

After several decades of hesitation, the Vatican and State of Israel established formal diplomatic relations in 1993. In the subsequent years, there are been difficulties in fully implementing it, and from time to time various controversies have unsettled the relationship.  Fr. Pawlikowski will survey the history down to the present moment.

John T. Pawlikowski, a priest of the Servite Order, is Professor of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he also directs the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program in the school’s Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Center. He is the author/editor of more than fifteen books, including The Challenge of the Holocaust for Christian Theology, Christ in the Light of the Christian-Jewish Dialogue, Jesus and the Theology of Israel, Biblical and Theological Reflections on The Challenge of PeaceThe Ecological Challenge: Ethical, Liturgical, and Spiritual Responses, Reinterpreting Revelation and Tradition: Jews and Christians in Conversation, and Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust.

Remembering from the Heart: Thoughts for Yom Hashoah 2012

April 19, 2012

In observance of HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

Thursday, April 19, 2012; 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Chapel of Saint Joseph – Michael J. Smith Memorial

Memory is a function of the mind but it is most meaningful when it also engages the heart.  This is especially true when Jews and Christians come together to reflect on and commemorate the Shoah.  Victoria Barnett will reflect on the challenges that have shaped the post-Shoah interfaith conversation since 1945 and talk about what it means to remember the Shoah today, both historically and religiously.

The presentation and discussion will be followed immediately by a prayer service of memory and commitment to interfaith amity.

Dr. Victoria Barnett, Staff Director, Committee on Church Relations, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

Response: Rabbi Alan Iser, Adjunct Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Saint Joseph’s University

Jewish-Catholic Seder: Experiencing Exodus Together

March 25, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 4 p.m.

Campion Hall: Banquet Hall North

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Main Line Reform Temple-Beth Elohim, Temple Har Zion, and SJU’s Interfaith Task Force.

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 SJU Jewish-Catholic Seder 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. A limited number of seats are available for 50 Christians and 50 Jews – first come, first served – so register as soon as possible!

Cursing the Christians? A History of the Birkat HaMinim

February 27, 2012

Video

Rabbi Dr. Ruth Langer

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 7 p.m. | Campion Hall: Banquet Hall North

 

The Birkat Haminim is a Jewish prayer that in its earliest forms cursed apostates, sectarians, Christians, and enemies of Israel, especially imperial powers.  In her new book Cursing the Christians?, Prof. Ruth Langer draws on shifting liturgical texts and the diverse polemics and apologetics concerning the prayer to trace its history from Late Antiquity, through the Middle Ages and modernity, to the prayer’s transformation into a general petition that God remove all evil from the world. Her research is sure to be the definitive treatment of this topic for many years to come.

Rabbi Dr. Ruth Langer is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. Her research and writing focuses on Jewish liturgy and Christian-Jewish relations. Currently serving as chair of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations and co-editor of its professional journal, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, Prof. Langer is the also author or editor of: Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue: Studies in the History of Jewish Prayer, ed. with Steven Fine (Eisenbrauns, 2005) and To Worship God Properly: Tensions between Liturgical Custom and Halakhah in Judaism (Hebrew Union College Press, 1998).

Hairy Women and Noble Savages: Jews, Christians, and Others during the Long 18th Century

December 5, 2011

Dr. Iris Idelson-Shein
Monday, December 5 – 7 p.m. | Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall

Dr. Iris Idelson-Shein teaches history at Tel Aviv University and is currently a fellow at Penn’s Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. She studies early modern and modern Jewish thought and published on early modern views of gender and ethnicity. She will discuss the radical transformation in how 18th-century Europeans defined identity. The shift from a worldview dominated by scripture and faith, to one dominated by science demanded new explanations for the differences among people. She will explore how Jewish writers tackled these changes while trying to define their own position in the new paradigm.

Dr. Idelson-Shein’s presentation at SJU is the last of a three-part series, “Between Cross and Crescent: Jews in the Christian and Muslim Worlds,” co-sponsored by the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Beth Am Israel, and Main Line Reform Temple-Beth Elohim.