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.
Teens in the Miller Center’s COVID Youth Commission program celebrate after assembling COVID kits for Boston-area homeless shelters. Learn more.
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 include: The Dignity Project, COVID Youth Commission, and COVID-19 Faith in Vaccine Ambassadors Program. Fellowships for undergraduate students include: The Boston Intefaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) and Boston Bridges Fellowship for Religious and Communal Leaders.
- Seminary/Divinity School Education: In partnership with other member schools of the Boston Theological Institute, the Miller Center coordinates Hebrew College’s graduate courses and certification programs in interreligious education and leadership. 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.
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.
>> Learn more
COVID-19 Youth Commission
The Center for Teen Empowerment and Hebrew College’s Miller Center have partnered to support the development of a COVID-19 Youth Commission. Youth Commission members are a diverse group of highly motivated youth, 14-18 years olds, living in the greater Boston area, who are dedicated to confronting one of the most challenging issues of our times. Members assess the needs of their peers, families and community members living in Boston and the surrounding cities and towns and develop recommendations and advocate for best policies and practices to address these needs.
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COVID-19 Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors Program
In response to the growing need for vaccine access in certain underserved populations, Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership and Interfaith Youth Core have teamed up to pioneer a new COVID-19 Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors Program.
>> Learn more
Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI)
BILI is offered to undergraduate students at partner institutions. This year-long fellowship is for 15-20 outstanding undergraduate student leaders from over fifteen Boston-area and Charlotte-area schools. The fellowship is coordinated with religious and spiritual life departments at the following participating schools: Babson, Boston College, Boston University, Bentley, Brandeis, Brown, Central Piedmont, Davidson, Harvard, Johnson C. Smith, MIT, Northeastern, Queens University of Charlotte, Suffolk, Tufts, Wellesley, Wingate, and Wheaton.
Participants meet monthly to learn about interreligious leadership and community building, and they will meet up for a joint trip to Washington, D.C. in January.
>> Learn more
Boston Bridges Fellowship for Religious and Communal Leaders
This year-long fellowship program for 12-14 emerging religious and community leaders in the Greater Boston area began with our first cohort was in 2016-2017 (5 years and counting). In nine monthly meetings fellows engage together in study, professional development, and personal reflection. Fellows come from a broad range of backgrounds—serving in houses of worship, schools, college campuses, hospitals, and non-profit organizations.
Boston Bridges helps participants develop a set of tools and resources and an extended network of peers and mentors dedicated to the betterment of their shared city.
>> Learn more
Rabbi Or Rose
Rev. Tom Reid
Rabbi Or Rose
Rev. Tom Reid
Our Faculty & Staff
- Rabbi Or Rose, Director
- Rev. Tom Reid, Associate Director
- Shelton Oakley Hersey, Dignity Project Program Director
- Batya Ellinoy, Dignity Project Assistant Director
- Marilyn Stern, Community Engagement Administrator
- Grace Harrington, Administrative Assistant
- Anine de Good, Community Engagement Associate
- Joshua Greenberg, Graduate Fellow
- John Cioci Lazur, BILI Alumni Liaison
- Simran Singh, BILI Alumni Liaison
- Rev. Dr. Soren M. Hessler, Instructor of Christian and Interreligious Studies
- Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman, Senior Educator in Islamic and Interreligious Studies
- Journal of Interreligious Studies (JIRS)
- Dr. Axel Marc Oaks Takács, Editor-in-Chief
- Dr. Lucinda Mosher, Senior Editor
- Joshua Neuberger, Research Fellow
- Joshua Polanski, Contextual Education Student
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
Throughout the year, the Miller Center hosts interreligious events on everything from the psalms, faith, art, poetry, and holidays. During the pandemic, they also hosted a series of special initiative including sponsoring Hebrew College’s “Faith in Isolation Expressed” Art Exhibit and the PsalmSeason project.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Rev. Soren M. Hessler, Associate Director of the Miller Center (email@example.com), together with Rev. Dr. Jennifer A. Quigley, Assistant Professor of New Testament & Early Christian Studies and Louisville Postdoctoral Fellow at Drew University (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.