Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership
Established in 2016, the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College provides current and future religious and ethical leaders with the knowledge and skills to serve in a religiously diverse society. We work with clergy, academics, and communal leaders, as well as high school, undergraduate, and graduate students and seminarians.
NEW! Spiritual Resources for Contemporary Life
Our new The Book of Psalms: Calling Out from the Depths website, a unique collection of contemporary interreligious reflections on the psalms, clergy, scholars, poets, musicians, activists, and visual artists offer personal reflections on these ancient and time-honored texts in light of contemporary events and mores, building on the wisdom of the past. Explore now!
2023 Dignity Project Fellows
The mission of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College is rooted in the cultivation of authentic personal and institutional relationships across lines of difference. It is our conviction that through study, dialogue, and joint action, we can help create a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world. We are involved in both local and national initiatives, using a combination of in-person and online educational tools.
As a Jewish institution, Hebrew College is dedicated to helping to create a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world. The sacred work of tikkun olam requires engagement with a diverse range of people – all of whom are created in the image of the Divine (tzelem Elohim). This challenge and opportunity involves an honest and respectful exchange of ideas and a commitment to ongoing dialogue, learning, and action for the common good.
Drawing on a rich institutional legacy of interreligious and cross-cultural initiatives and partnerships, the Miller Center staff and affiliated faculty work in four primary areas of education and leadership development:
- Communal Leadership (high school, undergraduate, graduate,
& emerging professionals): The Miller Center fellowships for Boston-area high school students is The Dignity Project. The Boston Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) is our fellowship for undergraduate students.
- Seminary/Divinity School Education: In partnership with other member schools of the Boston Theological Institute, the Miller Center coordinates certificate programs in interreligious education and leadership, and works with Hebrew College’s graduate program on their course offerings in interreligious education. The Miller Center also offers various workshops, seminars, and fellowships for clergy, educators, and non-profit leaders relating to issues of religion and public life.
- Publications: The Miller Center, in collaboration with other academic and communal organizations, produces both scholarly and popular written works on interreligious and cross-cultural engagement.
- Adult Learning: The staff and affiliated faculty of the Miller Center offer various adult education courses on the religious thought and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College is a member organization of the Association for College and University Religious Affairs and the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations as well as an affiliate of the Association of Theological Schools but is not an accredited member of the Association. Miller Center was established through a generous gift from Dan Miller, a member of the Hebrew College Board of Trustees and husband of the late Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller (of blessed memory), MAJS’05.
Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller z”l
Betty Ann graduated from Stanford University in 1983 with a Bachelor’s degree in human biology. Her work in philanthropy and volunteerism began at Stanford as a student volunteer for a newly founded quarterly magazine, Surviving, which was among the first publications to address the physical and emotional issues faced by cancer survivors such as Betty Ann.
After raising two sons, Adam and Matthew, her focus turned once again to her interest in Judaism, and in compassionate care: she became involved in the early 1990’s at The Rashi School as a parent and a board member; completed Hebrew College’s Me’ah program in 1999; was a founding member of the Advisory Council for Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s Jewish Healing Connections; received her Masters in Jewish Studies in 2005 from Hebrew College, where she was a founding member of Journeys on the Hill, the predecessor to CIRCLE, the Center for Inter-religious and Communal Leadership Education; and entered the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Hebrew SeniorLife in 2008.
While her health issues did not allow her to complete her chaplaincy certification, she was indeed a chaplain to those who knew her, and was a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. Betty Ann and her husband Dan met and became inseparable in 1974 while presidents of their respective B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) chapters. They were married for nearly 36 years, prior to her death in August 2015.
Fellows practicing a bhangra dance at their 2023 retreat
This year-long fellowship program for 14-16 outstanding high school sophomores and juniors from Greater Boston includes young people from different spiritual and ethical backgrounds, including those who identify as “religious” and “secular” and encompasses other axes of difference, including race, class, and gender.
The program provides the opportunity for participants to serve as interreligious and cross-cultural leaders, with the capacity to engage the diversity of our city (and broader society) with thoughtfulness, skill, and care.
BILI Launchpad Fellowship
The Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) Launchpad Fellowship will select 28 outstanding undergraduate students from a national pool of nominees who have demonstrated their commitment to interreligious and cross-cultural engagement on their respective campuses. BILI Launchpad Fellows will join this growing network of students and their mentors in a structured program of dialogue, study, and leadership development in interreligious engagement. The program combines virtual gatherings with all-expenses-paid convenings in Chicago and Washington, DC. This competitive fellowship is an initiative of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College in partnership with Interfaith America. In addition to the fellowship, the Miller Center also launched BILI Online, a new digital interreligious curriculum and resource bank for leadership development, based on the BILI fellowship.
NEW! View our new Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) online resource bank for student leadership development, based on our BILI Launchpad Fellowship.
Rabbi Or Rose
Rev. Tom Reid
Director of the BILI Launchpad Fellowship
Our Faculty & Staff
- Rabbi Or Rose, Founding Director
- Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman, Senior Educator in Islamic & Interreligious Studies
- Liz Aeschlimann, Dignity Project Fellowship Program Director
- Kyle Desrosiers, Administrative Assistant
- Rafi Ellenson, Dignity Project Associate Director
- Shelton Oakley Hersey, Senior Consultant to the Dignity Project
- Rev. seigen johnson, Associate Director of the BILI Launchpad Fellowship
- Jay Lazur, Assistant Director of the Dignity Project
- Joshua Polanski, Marketing Communications Manager
- Rev. Rob Schenck, Visiting Scholar of Christianity & Religious Leadership
- Marilyn Stern, Director of Special Projects
- Rev. Tom Reid, Director of the BILI Launchpad Fellowship
- Journal of Interreligious Studies (JIRS)
- Dr. Axel Marc Oaks Takács, Editor-in-Chief
- Dr. Lucinda Mosher, Senior Editor
Courses (Seminary Education)
January-term 1-week Intensive Courses
(required for all rabbinical students)
- From Diversity to Pluralism (for Mekorot students)
- Introduction to Christianity: Histories, Doctrines, and Practices (for shanah alef students)
- Introduction to Islam for Jewish Leaders (for shanah bet students)
(offered in alternating years)
- Calling Out from the Depths: The Book of Psalms in Jewish and Christian Life. Co-taught by Rabbi Or Rose and Dr. Andrew Davis of Boston College.
- Leadership on the Line: Critical Conversations with Religious Activists & Organizers. Taught by Rabbi Or Rose
The staff and affiliated faculty of the Miller Center offer various adult education opportunities at synagogues, churches, mosques, and other community organizations on the religious thought and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Information about open enrollment courses will be available here. Our staff are also available for customized learning opportunities for individual communities.
Please email Rabbi Or Rose for more information.
Rabbi Or N. Rose
Director, Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership
Read the latest issues of our newsletter here:
In response to the unfolding global pandemic and upheaval over racial injustice, on June 8, 2020 The Miller Center and Interfaith Youth Core launched a new digital initiative on the Book of Psalms entitled PsalmSeason: An Online Encounter with the Wisdom of the Psalms. The multifaceted project seeks to provide people with a creative context in which to explore their swirling thoughts and feelings through the prism of this ancient and beloved collection of prayer-poems. The project began with an online PsalmSeason Concert on June 8, followed by the launch of the PsalmSeason digital platform—an 18-week exploration of the Psalms focusing one psalm each week.
Journal of Interreligious Studies (JIRS)
The Journal of Interreligious Studies provides a vehicle for academic discourse to effect practical change in the field of inter-religious dialogue. The Journal of Interreligious Studies seeks to bring together religious, civic, academic, and non-profit leaders of all ages and backgrounds to ensure that lessons derived from scholarship are directly applied through practical programming for religious communities through peer-reviewed content.
State of Formation Blog: Founded as an offshoot of the Journal of Interreligious Studies (JIRS), this blog is a program of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College and Boston University School of Theology. Through mentoring, emerging interreligious leaders are given the opportunity to develop their public voices as thought leaders through blogs they author during their State of Formation fellowship.
Inter/Sections: Inter/Sections is a podcast of Seton Hall’s Institute for Communication and Religion in partnership with the Journal of Interreligious Studies, featuring conversations about the field, and spotlighting the ideas and practices of interfaith/interreligious scholars, educators, leaders, and community organizers.
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: Essential Teachings by Rabbi Or N. Rose (2020). Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1924-2014) was one of the most creative and influential Jewish spiritual teachers in the late twentieth-century. Reb Zalman (as he is known) made several distinctive and lasting contributions to Jewish and interreligious life in North America and beyond. Originally trained as a Hasidic rabbi within the Chabad-Lubavitch community, he became one of the great teachers and translators of Jewish mystical tradition.
My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformations. Edited by Jennifer Howe Peace, Or N. Rose, and Gregory Mobley (2012). My Neighbor’s Faith gathers an array of inspiring and penetrating stories about the interreligious encounters of outstanding community leaders, scholars, public intellectuals, and activists. With wisdom, wit, courage, and humility, these writers–from a range of religious backgrounds–share their personal experience of “border-crossing,” and the unforgettable lessons learned from their interreligious encounters.
Words to Live By: Sacred Sources for Interreligious Engagement. Edited by Or N. Rose, Homayra Ziad, and Soren M. Hessler (2018). From sacred texts of the world’s religions, scholars find resources for interreligious dialogue. In this book a diverse group of religious scholars representing many faith traditions propose a text that they have found valuable in their work as interreligious bridge-builders and share reflections about its context, its message, and how it inspires or informs their own work in the field.
Interreligious/Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field. Eboo Patel, Jennifer Howe Peace, and Noah J. Silverman. A groundbreaking academic anthology that explores the emerging field of interreligious/interfaith studies.
Undergraduate Mentoring Symposium
Mentoring Undergraduate Students for Formation in Religious and Interreligious Leadership
Together with the Office of Religious Life at Boston University, the Miller Center hosted a symposium on mentoring undergraduate students for formation in religious and interreligious leadership on March 7-8, 2018. The symposium is supported by a grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) to the Office of Religious Life at Boston University to cultivate resources for undergraduate mentoring for students emerging into religious leadership
The symposium gathered religious professionals at schools in greater New England with established mentoring programs to share their practices. Those professionals expressed interest in contributing chapters for a resource book chronicling the varieties of successful mentoring programs for undergraduate students emerging into religious and interreligious leadership across the country. The symposium organizers, Br. Lawrence A. Whitney, University Chaplain for Community Life at Boston University (email@example.com), and Rev. Soren M. Hessler, Associate Director of the Miller Center (firstname.lastname@example.org), together with Rev. Dr. Jennifer A. Quigley, Assistant Professor of New Testament & Early Christian Studies and Louisville Postdoctoral Fellow at Drew University (email@example.com), are coordinating and co-editing the affiliated book project. The call for papers can be found here.
As the book project progresses, updates will be posted to the Miller Center website.
Beacons of Hope
Every month, the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College honors an individual (or group) who inspires our bridge-building efforts. Each honoree uniquely embodies the values of inclusivity, justice, and compassion.
This month, we honor Rabbi Claudia Kreiman.