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News Highlights International Interreligious Conference Co-Hosted by Hebrew College Concludes

By Hebrew College

The Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College was honored to co-host the 2023 conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews, one of the most important annual gatherings of Christian and Jewish leaders and scholars. Two of the conference’s four days of learning and dialogue were held at Hebrew College. Boston College, Boston University, and Simmons University also hosted various conference events.

The ICCJ has 34 national Jewish-Christian dialogue organizations worldwide and was instrumental in the drafting of Nostra Aetate at the Catholic Church’s historical Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). “[Nostra Aetate] may be the most important moment in post-Holocaust Jewish-Christian relations and interfaith relations writ large,” said Jonathan A. Greenblat, the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League. The ICCJ and its member organizations have a distinguished history of serving as change agents in Jewish-Christian relations—and Hebrew College was honored to contribute to that legacy by co-hosting the 2023 conference.

“The ICCJ Conference 2023 highlighted the importance of thoughtful dialogue in fostering harmony and embracing diversity within the relationship of Christian and Jewish communities,” said Julia Verbeek, an ICCJ conference volunteer and anthropology Master of Arts student at the University of Vienna in Austria. “The conference equipped me with invaluable insights into both the theoretical and practical dimensions of interreligious engagement, which I can immediately apply in my work with youth.”

Because the conference coincided with the federal holiday of Juneteenth, the organizers intentionally crafted the program to address the relationship of Jewish-Christian relations to racism and other forms of bigotry and violence. For example, the opening panel on June 19th at Hebrew College was entitled “The Concept of Intersectionality: Promises and Problems for Jewish-Christian Dialogue” and featured Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowley (Historic Myrtle Baptist Church), Dr. Judith Rosenbaum (Jewish Women’s Archive), and Dr. Katharina von Kellenbach (Projekt Bildstörungen). The panelists spoke about the intersections of oppression, including antisemitism, racism, and sexism, and the need for critical reflection on issues of power, privilege, and the pursuit of justice. The full program booklet can be viewed here.

“In an increasingly interconnected world, exploring the complexity of identity formation and inter-group relations in different locations is crucial to our collective flourishing,” stated Rabbi Or Rose, director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College and conference co-chair. Hebrew College is actively engaged in this sacred work, including in its role as co-host of the 2023 ICCJ conference.

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