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.

“A Genuine Gift of God”

March 5, 2017

The 50th Anniversary of the Institute’s Very First Program!

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

Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 7-9 p.m.

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.

“Quarantine in the Prague Ghetto: Jewish-Christian Relations in a Time of Plague”

November 10, 2016

Jewish-Christian Relations in a Time of Plague

Dr. Joshua Teplitsky
Thursday, November 10 at 7 p.m.  
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Suite, 5th floor of McShain Hall

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

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.

“The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue in Service of Peace in Israel”

October 26, 2016

Interreligious Dialogue in the Service of Peace in Israel

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

Wednesday, October 26 at 7 p.m.  
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Suite, 5th floor of McShain Hall

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.

“Where We Live, What We Believe: Thinking Contextually about Israel, Palestine, and the Churches”

October 9, 2016

Thinking Contextually about Israel, Palestine, and the Churches

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

Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 3 p.m.
Large Lapsley Room, Haub Executive Suite, 5th floor of McShain Hall

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.

“Painful Hope: A Palestinian and a Settler Rabbi Talk Peace” [An SJU program co-sponsored by the Institute]

September 13, 2016

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

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.

Plenary Sessions from the Annual Conferences of the International Council of Christians and Jews and the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

July 10, 2016

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.


Conference Schedule

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.


Kate Oxx, David Krueger, David Watts, Terry Rey

“The Christian Majority in the United States: Tolerance, Intolerance, and Competition”

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

  • Dr. David M. Krueger, independent scholar
  • Dr. Kate Oxx, Saint Joseph’s University
  • Dr. Terry Rey, Temple University
  • Dr. David Watt, Temple University

Michael Trainor, Jonathan Sarna, Volker Haarmann, Mehnaz Afridi

“The Jewish Experience of the American Experiment”

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

  • Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University

“The Muslim Experience of the American Experiment”

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

  • Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Manhattan College

Shmuel Szteinhendler, Pavol Bargar, Liliane Apotheker, Michael Trainor, Deborah Weissman

“International Perspectives on Religious Pluralism: Challenges, Limits, and Possibilities”

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

  • Liliane Apotheker (France)
  • Dr. Pavol Bargar (Czech Republic)
  • Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler (Chile)
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Trainor (Australia)
  • Dr. Deborah Weissman (Israel)

Adele Reinhartz, Dick Pruiksma, Adam Gregerman, E.P. Sanders

Special Plenary: “The Understanding of Paul’s Theology and Christian Anti-Judaism”

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

  • 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

David Straus, John Crossin, Friedhelm Pieper

Concluding Plenary: “Reflections on the Conference”

  • Rev. Dr. John Crossin
  • Rev. Friedhelm Pieper
  • Rabbi David Straus

Theological Reflections on Catholic-Jewish Relations Fifty Years after Nostra Aetate – Providence College

April 4, 2016

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

  • 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 Sacred Calling, A Pivotal Moment”

February 24, 2016

A Conversation on the Newest Statements about the Christian-Jewish Relationship

Including the first theological statement by the Catholic Church in 30 years

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

 February 24, 2016 at 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Doyle Banquet Hall South, Campion Student Center

Noam Marans, AJC; Matthew Tapie, St. Leo University; David Sandmel, ADL; Peter Pettit, Muhlenberg College; Philip Cunningham, SJU; John Pawlikowski, Catholic Theological Union; Ruth Langer, Boston College; Adam Gregerman, SJU; Elena Procario-Foley, Iona College; Dennis McManus, Georgetown University; Ruth Sandberg, Gratz College; David Berger, Yeshiva University. Absent from photo: Burton Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary.

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

Also participating:

  • 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

“The ‘Wandering Jew’ in Jewish and Christian Imagination”

December 1, 2015

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.

“Some Unfinished Business of Nostra Aetate: Jewish and Christian Challenges”

November 4, 2015

Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall – 5th Floor [campus map]

Fifty years after the revolution begun by Nostra Aetate, Judaism is still challenged to develop an accurate sympathetic understanding of the Christianity, while the Church has yet to come to grips with the Jewish people’s return to Zion and the particularity of the Jewish people’s covenant with God. How can we make a start on these important challenges?

Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn is academic director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel, and co-director of CJCUC’s Institute of Theological Inquiry. He has published more than 40 scholarly and popular essays on Jewish-Christian relations, Israel, and Jewish ethics, which have been translated into Hebrew, German, Spanish and Italian. He is the author or editor of several books including, The Jewish Connection to the Land of IsraelJewish Theology and World Religions, Covenant and Hope: Christian and Jewish Reflections, and Ploughshares into Swords: Jewish and Christian Reflections on Religion and Violence.