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.

“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.

Jewish-Christian Relations for the Present Time

October 11, 2015

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015 | 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall – 5th Floor

The Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations is an ecumenical think tank that formed in 1969. Its fall 2015 meeting will be hosted by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations. The CSG is preparing a statement from an ecumenical Christian perspective on the historic significance of Nostra Aetate‘s 50th jubilee, which will be made public at this event. Join us as the CSG editors, Dr. Peter A. Pettit and Dr. Elena Procario-Foley discuss the meaning of the Declaration for the wider Christian world and the challenges for the Christian-Jewish relationship in the future. A response will be given by Rabbi Dr. Ruth Sandberg, director of the Jewish Christian Studies program at Gratz College.

The fall of 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. Formally promulgated on October 28, 1965, it was the revolutionary document that made possible a new relationship of respect between Catholics and Jews. All our fall programs honor this historic milestone. All are free and open to the public. [Right: a Second Vatican Council session in St. Peter’s Basilica.]

Drs. Cunningham, Gregerman, Sandberg, Procario-Foley, and Pettit

Pope Francis visits Saint Joseph’s University to bless “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” sculpture

September 27, 2015

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

50 Years of a Journey of Friendship: A Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Nostra Aetate and the Mission of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University

September 25, 2015

Program Booklet

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

  • Dr. Mark C. Reed
  • Bishop Joseph Martino
  • Ms. Naomi Adler
  • Rabbi Dr. Abraham Skorka
  • Dr. Philip A. Cunningham
  • Dr. (h.c.) Charles Kahn, Jr.
  • Dr. Adam Gregerman
  • Mr. Joshua Koffman
  • Rev. Dr. C. Kevin Gillespie, SJ
  • Rabbi David Straus

The Church and the Jews Fifty Years after Vatican II – University of Scranton

May 7, 2015

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

Two prominent scholars will discuss important changes that have taken place in the relationship between Catholics and Jews at The University of Scranton’s Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute lecture on Thursday, May 7. David Berger, Ph.D., Ruth and I. Lewis Gordon Professor of Jewish History and dean at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University in New York City; and Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., professor of theology and director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, will discuss “The Church and the Jews, Fifty Years After Vatican II.”

Dr. Berger, author of “The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages,” which was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize by the Medieval Academy of America, has written many articles on medieval Jewish history, Jewish-Christian relations, antisemitism, contemporary Judaism and the intellectual history of the Jews. His articles on Jewish-Christian relations have been collected in “Persecution, Polemic and Dialogue: Essays in Jewish-Christian Relations” and those on intellectual history have been collected in “Cultures in Collision and Conversation: Essays in the Intellectual History of the Jews.” Cochair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Dr. Berger is a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and a member of the Council of the World Union of Jewish Studies.

Dr. Cunningham, who serves as president of the International Council of Christians and Jews and as secretary-treasurer of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is also webmaster of the CCJR’s online resource supersite called Dialogika. Interested in biblical studies, religious education and theologies of Christian-Jewish relations, Dr. Cunningham is the author of several book and articles on these subjects. His most recent book, “Seeking Shalom: The Journey to Right Relationship between Catholics and Jews,” will be published later this year. His previous book, “Christ Jesus and the Jewish People Today: New Explorations of Theological Interrelationships,” received wide praise.


Spring Dialogue Series: Israel and Contemporary Jewish-Christian Relations

April 14, 2015

Tuesdays, April 14, 21, and 28, 2015 | 7-9 p.m.

Facilitated by Profs. Philip A. Cunningham and Adam Gregerman

Haub Executive Suite, Large Lapsley Room, McShain Hall

For historical, theological, and political reasons, the subjects of the Land and State of Israel prompt intense and sometimes difficult conversations between Jews and Christians. Join us for a three-part series of interfaith dialogues in which we explore constructive ways of approaching these vitally important topics. We will consider diverse viewpoints on the subject both between and within our communities and the challenges they pose to interreligious relations.


The 2015 series is connected to a five-year research project funded primarily by the International Council of Christians and Jews with additional support from several universities, including the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University. During the three sessions, we will:

  • “Field test” a process to promote a sympathetic reading of documents that one might not be inclined to be sympathetic toward;
  • Hear documents on their own terms and identify their presuppositions, assumptions, approaches, fears, and concerns;
  • Appreciate diverse range of approaches between and within religious communities, especially in terms of using sacred or authoritative texts;
  • Become more aware of our own presuppositions, assumptions, approaches, fears, and concerns
  • Help develop means for interreligious conversations to occur that lead to understanding.

Learning in the Presence of the Other: Deepening the Dialogue between Catholics and Jews

February 26, 2015

Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee

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

How can members of different faith traditions dialogue with openness and respect? How can they confront the painful conflicts in their history and overcome theological misconceptions and even learn from each other? For more than twenty-five years, Professors Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee have explored ways that Catholics and Jews can overcome mistrust and misunderstandings through a process of “Interreligious Learning,” which they have studied and developed. This entails not simply learning about the other from within one’s own faith community, but rather engaging in specific learning activities with members of the other faith—learning in the presence of the other. Drawing upon examples from their own experiences, they will lay out a framework for engaging the religious other in depth.

Mary C. Boys, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, is Dean of Academic Affairs and the Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. She is the author of several books, including Jewish-Christian Dialogue: One Woman’s Experience; Has God Only One Blessing? Judaism as a Source of Christian Self-Understanding; and, most recently, Redeeming Our Sacred Story: The Death of Jesus and Relations between Jews and Christians. She and Sara S. Lee wrote Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other.

Sara S. Lee is the emeritus director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Recipient of the Samuel Rothberg Prize in Jewish Education for Hebrew University in Jerusalem and of the Pras HaNasi, the President of Israel’s Award for Distinguished Leadership of Jewish Education in the Diaspora, she is also past president of the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. She edited Communities of Learning: A Vision for the Jewish Future and co-edited Congregation of Learners and Touching the Future: Mentoring and the Jewish Professional.

Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Vision for a New Jewish-Christian Relationship and Its Continuing Importance for Today

December 2, 2014

Dr. Susannah Heschel

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 7 p.m.  – 9 p.m. (Large Maguire Room, Haub Executive Suite, McShain Hall)

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), one of the most influential modern theologians, played a pivotal role in shaping the new relationship between Jews and Christians. His article “No Religion is an Island” (1966) was an especially important Jewish statement on interreligious relations. Dr. Susannah Heschel, his daughter and a religious historian, will reflect on his approach and insights, and consider their relevance almost fifty years later.

Susannah Heschel, Ph.D. is Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, and the author of numerous books and articles, including Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus and The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany.  She is also the editor of Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Currently she holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and is writing a book on the history of European Jewish scholarship on Islam from the 1830s to the 1930s.

This program is part of the annual fall speakers series “Facing Out to Look Within: Modern Jewish Intellectual Leadership,” 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.

“Is the Lord not in Zion?” (Jer 8:19)

November 10, 2014

Christian Biblical Interpretations of the Modern Jewish Return to the Land of Israel – Catholic Theological Union

Fall Shapiro Lecture at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

Dr. Adam Gregerman

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

More than any other issue in modern Jewish-Christian relations, the state of Israel has provoked intense disagreements. These reflect not just political differences but often profoundly different theologies of the land of Israel and the biblical promises. Dr. Gregerman will explore, from a Jewish perspective, the tensions between contemporary Christians’ broadly positive reappraisals of Judaism and more controversial Christian views of the state of Israel and biblical texts on land and covenant.

Dr. Adam Gregerman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and Assistant Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studies the complex relationship between Judaism and Christianity, focusing on biblical interpretation and religious polemics, especially about theologies of the land of Israel and experiences of suffering and loss. His articles have appeared in journals such as Interpretation, Cross Currents, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, and Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations and in numerous edited volumes. He is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and has received fellowships for the study of interreligious relations from the Hebrew University, the American Academy of Religion / Henry Luce Foundation, and Cross Currents / Association for Religion and Intellectual Life.