Report on the Ninth Annual Meeting

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Report on the Ninth Annual Meeting

Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Wednesday, October 27 – Thursday, October 28, 2010


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Terrence TilleyThe annual meeting began with a keynote address delivered by Dr. Terrence Tilley, the Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Professor of Catholic Theology and Chair of the Theology Department at Fordham University in New York. His presentation was entitled, "Doing Theology in the Context of the Gift and the Promise of Nostra Aetate, and will be published online in a future issue of Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations. Responses were offered by Philip A. Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University), Edward Kessler (Cambridge University), and Barbara Meyer (Hebrew University and Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem). A question and answer period followed.

During dinner, the Council paused to remember interreligious leaders who had died in the past year, especially Rev. Dr. Lawrence Boadt, Br. John Driscoll, Esther Kieval, and Mary Philbin.

IMG_0236-thumbShevet_Achim_award_-thumbAfter dinner, the Council bestowed its third Shevet Achim Award for Outstanding Contributions to Jewish-Christian Understanding to Rev. Dr. Franklin Sherman, founding director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. As a member of the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and through decades of research, teaching, and writing, he has advanced Lutheran-Jewish and Christian-Jewish relations in a very significant ways.  Testimonials were delivered by Elena Procario-Foley on behalf of Judth Banki and by Peter Pettit, current director of the IJCU at Muhlenberg. The name of the award comes from the Hebrew text of Psalm 133:1 —"How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity/harmony" (Hinei ma tov u’manayim, shevet akhim gam ya-chad ).

This was followed by the annual "View from Here" panel in which representatives from different member organizations offer observations on interfaith relations in their particular situations. The panelists were:

  • Alan Berger (Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL)
  • James Loughran (Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute, NY) 
  • Peter Pettit (Muhlenberg, Allentown, PA) 

Thursday, October 28, 2010 (45th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate)

panel2The morning began with a "View from There," featuring reports from affiliate or overseas CCJR members. The panelists were: 

  • Gemma Del Duca (Seton Hill University / Yad Vashem)
  • Edward Kessler (Cambridge University)
  • Joseph Siever (Pontifical Biblical Institute, Pontifical Gregoriam University)


CCJR Business Meeting (Regular Members, Affiliate Members, and Liaison Representatives)

As per Council by-laws a quorum was present. Regular member organizations represented were: Aurora University, Boston College,  Florida Atlantic University, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute; Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, Iona College, Manhattan College, Muhlenberg College, Sacred Heart University, Saint Joseph's University, Seton Hall University, Seton Hill University, Siena College, Spring Hill College, Stonehill College, University of Wisconsin, and Xavier University. Also present were Liaison Representatives: American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, and Affiliate Members: Cardinal Bea Centre, the Woolf Institute (Cambridge), and the Sisters of Sion International Congregational Team.
  1. The annual business meeting was called to order by the chair, Elena Procario-Foley (Iona College) at 11 a.m. She began by extending thanks to our host Saint Joseph's University and offering greetings to a new regular member, the Center for Multifaith Education at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York. 

  2. Ruth Langer (Boston College), representing the Nominations Committee, presented the slate of CCJR officers to be voted upon. Continuing the implementation of staggered elections for members of the Board, the committee nominated Elena Procario Foley (Iona College) as chair for a one-year term until the 2011 annual meeting, and Peter Zaas (Siena College) as vice chair until the 2012 annual meeting.  There were no nominations from the floor and the proposed slate was unanimously elected.  The terms of other Board members are:  Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University) as secretary-treasurer until 2011, Alan Brill (Seton Hall University) at large member until 2011, and Kevin Spicer (Stonehill College) until 2012. 

  3. The chair announced that the 2011 Tenth Anniversary annual meeting will be hosted by Seton Hall University, possibly on Sunday-Monday, October 30-31, 2011, though that date must be confirmed. The 2012 meeting will be held at Xavier University, dates to be determined. 

  4. Two new membership applications were discussed: for regular membership the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Franklin, Wisconsin, and for liaison representative membership the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches - USA. Both applications were approved unanimously. Possible other future memberships were also discussed.

  5. James Buchanan (Xavier University) gave a report on the great success being experienced by the traveling exhibit "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People." Hundreds of thousands of people have seen the exhibit in about a dozen cities since its launch. It will eventually be shown in Europe but will not return from there, so CCJR members are encouraged to try to arrange for its exhibition in their locales. Financial assistance is available. Contact James for more information and see:

  6. Kevin Spicer (Stonehill College), co-editor of the Council's journal, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations reported that several new articles have just been uploaded or are in process for Volume 5 (2010). He encouraged members to submit articles of their own. The journal will soon be thoroughly indexed for online search engines. Adam Gregerman now serves as reviews editor and is doing an outstanding job. A meeting of the SCJR advisory board occurred after the CCJR meeting.

  7. Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University) presented the Treasurer's Report and proposed budget for 2009-2010. The report is available separately from Phil, but the balance of the Council's account as of 11/1/10 was $22,324.72. The proposed budget was approved unanimously.

  8. Elena Procario-Foley (Iona College) offered the Chair's Report, commenting on the achievements of the Council during the previous year and reporting on the semi-annual Board meeting that occurred in April 2010. She noted that two scholarships had been awarded to students to assist in their participation in the Young Leadership Council meeting in Dublin over the summer. Two CCJR study reports were issued, one on the 2010 script of the Oberammergau Passion Play, coordinated by Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University) and Peter Zaas (Siena College), and the other on the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Middle East Study Committee's "Breaking Down the Walls," coordinated by Adam Gregerman and Christopher Leighton (Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies). A congratulatory letter was sent by the Board to Archbishop Timothy Dolan upon being named USCCB moderator for Catholic-Jewish Relations, and one will be prepared for newly-named Cardinal Kurt Koch, recently appointed president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

  9. Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University), a vice-president of the ICCJ, reported on its recent meeting in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2010. There is a new initiative to reinvigorate the ICCJ's Abrahamic Forum, and CCJR members who have included Islam within their activites may wish to be in contact with the relevant persons in ICCJ. The next ICCJ meeting will occur in Krakow, Poland for Sunday, July 3 - Thursday, July 6, 2011.

  10. New business: A suggestion was made to offer individual student membership in the CCJR. There was some discussion about whether it could be open to undergraduate students, whether a faculty recommendation from a member organization was desirable, and whether there might be reduced fee ($15?). There was general agreement that this was a good concept. The Board will develop the details and seek the regular membership's approval.

  11. The meeting adjourned at 11:57 a.m.