Please support our work with a fiscal year-end gift. Thank you!

Beacons of Hope — Our Interreligious S/Heroes

Every month, the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College honors the s/heroes who inspires our bridge-building efforts. Each honoree uniquely embodies the values of inclusivity, justice, and compassion.

We Want to Share Your Beacons of Hope

We want to feature your beacons of hope—the people or organizations that inspire your interreligious efforts. Please use the following guidelines as you share your nominations with us:

Write a short, personal reflection (200-600 words) on why this person/organization inspires you. Your reflection can focus on their thought or philosophy, personal story, activism, or anything else you find noteworthy. Include your name, a short biographical statement (3-5 sentences), and a photo of yourself to accompany the piece. Please also include a photo of your Beacon of Hope.

Email your submissions to the Miller Center at Thank you for inspiring others!

“I see similar challenges doing this work as there are for clergy or therapists. I have to bring the same heart and same conviction to everyone I work with, including people who hold views I might not agree with. Or people who I might not like so much. My job is to bring the same heart and same presence to anyone. I wrestle with that all the time.”

Read More

Dr. Simmer-Brown’s dedication to interreligious work from a Buddhist perspective spans decades. In addition to her two decades facilitating a graduate seminar focused on dialogue at Naropa’s Masters of Divinity program, she has crafted contemplative practices that encourage deep listening, openness, and intimate sharing among individuals of varied religious backgrounds. “Dr. Simmer-Brown is a model of scholarly acumen and spiritual depth,” says Rabbi Or Rose, Miller Center Director.

Read More

Joshua Polanski

Josh has made a tremendous impact on our ability to do the interreligious work at the core of our mission. His genuine curiosity about those who are different from him, his willingness to take risks and leap into the unknown, and the compassion he brings to all of his interactions, are essential characteristics of an interreligious leader.

Read More

Rabbi Claudia Kreiman

It is my honor, therefore, to name Rabbi Claudia Kreiman our October Beacon of Hope. She is a person whom we Catholics might affectionately refer to in English as a “pastor,” that is, a shepherd (ro’eh in Hebrew) of souls.

Read more

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange, arguably one of the most famous photographers in US history, was not a religious person as far as I know. At least, she wasn’t a publicly religious person. But she inspires my own interreligious work through the way she wielded her camera, saw embodied stories within human faces, and used her photos to instigate social change.

Read more

ibrahim abdul-matin

It is with great sadness that we share news of the recent passing of our friend and colleague ibrahim abdul-matin (he preferred using lowercase letters for his name near the end of his life). ibrahim was a kind, thoughtful, and impassioned person, who made significant contributions in his two decades as a public figure. We had the opportunity to welcome ibrahim to Hebrew College in 2011 to discuss his book Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010).


Read more

Dr. Judith Oleson

This month’s Beacons of Hope column takes a more somber note as we honor the passing of our dear friend and colleague Dr. Judith Oleson. She died on June 10, 2023 after an extended struggle with cancer.

Read more

Rev. Howard Thurman

Rev. Thurman’s teachings call for individual and societal transformation, encouraging dialogue and sensitivity to the complexities of inter-racial and interreligious coalition-building.

Read more

Rev. Nancy S. Taylor

I first met Rev. Nancy Taylor a decade ago through her leadership in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). Then, as now, she demonstrated the hallmarks of gifted bridge-builder: insight, courage, compassion, and determination.

Read more

Rev. Vernon K. Walker

Thank you, Rev. Walker, for your steadfast efforts in support of those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and to helping us all develop the habits of head, heart, and hands to live more conscious and sustainable lives. The world needs your leadership now more than ever.

Read more

Tara Brach

Tara Brach is an American psychologist, author, and founder of the Insight Meditation community in Washington DC. Tara is my interreligious hero—not on account of any specific work she has done to build bridges between faith communities—though her work regularly unites people across faith—but because of her promotion of the values that animate our religious commitments: justice, peace, compassion, and understanding—irrespective of creed.

Read more

Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman

It was six years ago that Miller Center Founding Director Rabbi Or Rose introduced me to Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman. In doing so, Rabbi Rose described Imam Tay as his friend, interreligious partner, teacher, and “brother from another mother.”

Read more

2022-23 Dignity Project Cohort

Dignity Project Fellowship Program Director Shelton Oakley Hersey, Assistant Director Rafi Ellenson, and the Dignity Project mentors nominate the 2022-23 Dignity Project Cohort. The fellowship consists of 21 local high school students “who have continued to show commitment and courage in engaging across their various lines of difference.” In this video, the fellows share one thing they learned from their time in the fellowship that they will take with them as they continue being agents of change for their communities.


Watch here

Harmeet Kaur Kamboj

Harmeet is a fierce advocate for inclusion—for Sikhs and Sikh traditions, as well as for trans and non-binary lives—and they inspire us with their commitment, their wisdom, their creativity, and their collaborative spirit.

Read more

Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller

I first met Betty Ann (of blessed memory) a few months after my arrival at Hebrew College as a young faculty person in the fall of 2002. She and a small group of pioneering students from Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School (our immediate neighbor for many years) helped inspire me and others to work with students, faculty, and staff to make interreligious education a distinct feature of the two schools.

Read more