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Hebrew College and Boston College Awarded Grant to Create Interfaith Psalms Curriculum

By Hebrew College
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NEWTON, MA — Hebrew College and Boston College have been awarded a grant from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Confraternity of Christian Doctrine to develop a free and adaptable multimedia curriculum on the Book of Psalms for use in Jewish-Christian houses educational settings.

The curriculum, “Calling Out from the Depths: A Curriculum for Catholic-Jewish Encounter with the Psalms,” is based on a class that Rabbi Or Rose, founding director of The Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College, co-taught with Dr. Andrew Davis, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. The new multimedia curriculum also builds on “PsalmSeason: An Online Encounter with the Wisdom of the Psalms,” an 18-week collaborative project (June-October 2020) between Hebrew College and the Interfaith Youth Core that presented a variety of contemporary reflections on the Psalms, in response to the spiritual and ethical challenges posed by the pandemic and the social upheaval of 2020-2021.

“Through our course, students learn to explore similarities and differences—theological, liturgical, historical, and pastoral—and to educate one another about their faith commitments and vocational callings. This generous grant allows Andrew and me to consolidate work we have done together as colleagues and friends over the last three years, and to offer what we hope will be a compelling and accessible resource to a wide range of Jewish and Christian leaders and their constituents,” Rabbi Rose said.

The Psalms are an extensive collection of poems in the Hebrew Bible that Jews, Christians, and other seekers consider sacred and have turned to in times of joy and thanksgiving, as well as sadness and lament. The ancient rabbis; Jesus of Nazareth; Johann Sebastian Bach; Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Fannie Lou Hamer; Elvis Pressley; Mother Teresa; and Bono have all engaged with this evocative and existentially gripping poetic collection in their quests for meaning and purpose.

Rabbi Rose and Dr. Davis are developing a free multimedia curriculum that includes select psalms and various classical and contemporary commentaries that can be used flexibly for study, reflection, and discussion in various religious settings, especially parishes and synagogues. The curriculum will also include guidance on teaching these materials and engaging participants from different religious and cultural contexts. As part of the process, Rose and Davis will be teaching a course for Jewish and Christian professionals, sponsored by Boston College’s Professional and Continuing Education program, in Fall 2021, as well as a course for seminarians and graduate students in Spring 2022.

This grant is one of eight awarded by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in support of projects to build Catholic biblical literacy and interpretation across the United States and beyond.

Hebrew College is an innovative national institute for Jewish learning and leadership based in Newton, Massachusetts. We are dedicated to Jewish literacy, creativity, and community, and a world of dignity and compassion for all. Our students are future rabbis, cantors, and educators, and people at every stage of life who love to learn. Together, we are infusing Jewish life with substance, spirit, beauty, imagination, and a sense of purpose. Learn more at

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