Past Public Events
The Paradox of Women in Islam
Lecture by Asra Nomani at CSB on February 19, 2014
Indian-American journalist Asra Nomani, who teaches journalism at Georgetown University, chronicled the struggle Muslim women face in reclaiming the rights women were granted at Islam's birth in the seventh century, which, in her view, have since been erased by centuries of man-made rules and tribal traditions masquerading as divine law. She argued that the efforts for Muslim feminists like herself are not anti-Islamic, as these feminists use the fundamentals of Islamic thinking to challenge the ways in which Islam has been distorted by Sharia rulings issued by ultraconservative men. Sharing her personal story of empowerment, in which she walked through the front door of her mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia, in 2003, and gathered up the strength to go into the main hall reserved for men only, she claimed that her struggle is to move Islam forward by reaching back to its progressive past. This lecture was sponsored by Intercultural and International Student Services at CSB/SJU in collaboration with the Sister Nancy Hynes Institute for Women's Leadership at CSB and the Jay Phillips Center.
Religion in Prison
Film screening of "If I Give My Soul" and interfaith conversation with Andrew Johnson at SJU on February 17, 2014
The film "If I Give My Soul: Pentecostalism in the Prisons of Rio," which documents the work of Minnesotan Andrew Johnson on why Pentecostalism thrives among inmate populations in Rio de Janeiro, received its world premiere screening and was followed by a panel discussion featuring Johnson and filmmaker Ryan Patch in conversation with Minnesota prison chaplains Damon Drake, Robert A. Klanderud, and Rabbi Lynn Liberman on the role of religion inside prisons in Minnesota and elsewhere. This program was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with Intercultural and International Student Services and the Department of Sociology at CSB/SJU.
In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology, and Spirituality
Lecture by Sister M. Christine Athans, BVM, Ph.D. at SJU on February 12, 2014
How did Mary, the mother of Jesus, portrayed in Sacred Scripture as a Jewish woman of the first century, evolve into the blue-eyed Northern European whose images adorn many churches and homes? The rediscovery and new appreciation of the Jewishness of Jesus since the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has led some Catholics to rethink how they perceive and understand Jesus' mother. In this lecture, which included a PowerPoint presentation of Marian art over the centuries, Sister Christine Athans drew on her recently published In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology and Spirituality (Orbis Books, 2013) to explore historical, theological, and devotional approaches to Mary. She gave special consideration to what might have been Mary's experiences as a first-century Jewish woman, including her prayer life, and how this Jewish Mary serves as an inspiration for twenty-first century Christians.
Pope Francis and the Jewish People
Lecture by Rabbi Mordechai Levin at SJU on November 18, 2013
During his tenure as head of the Argentina Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, promoted interfaith dialogue. He attended religious services at several synagogues, met with Jewish organizations, and enjoyed a friendly relationship with the Jewish community in Argentina. Rabbi Mordechai Levin, who met fellow Argentinean Cardinal Bergoglio before he became the Pope, reviewed this relationship in the context of the history of Catholic-Jewish relations in Argentina and what it may tell us about the future of Catholic-Jewish relations around the world. This program was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning in collaboration with CSB Campus Ministry and SJU Campus Ministry.
Hank Greenberg: Baseball Star, Jewish Hero, American Legend
John Rosengren interviewed by Rabbi David Wirtschafter at SJU on October 2, 2013
According to award-winning journalist John Rosengren, SJU '86, "one man modeled assimilation for a generation of Jews struggling to find their way in the New World: Hank Greenberg." The Hall of Fame ballplayer with the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s "transformed the way Gentiles viewed Jews and the way Jews saw themselves." In an interview with Rabbi David Wirtschafter, visiting scholar in Jewish studies with the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, Rosengren discussed the subject of his new book, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes, which explores religious and moral dilemmas faced by Greenberg and how he "stood tall as a beacon of hope for Jews and, ultimately, became a hero to all Americans." This program was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with the SJU Athletic Department.
Letter from an Unknown Woman: Joseph's Dream
Lecture by Avivah Zornberg at CSB on April 17, 2013
Drawing on literature, film, and psychoanalytic thought to inform her literary analysis of the biblical narrative about Joseph's dreams, Avivah Zornberg, one of the world's most captivating biblical teachers, explored the complex interplay between conscious and unconscious levels of experience reflected in the narrative's message about what it means to be human. This lecture was sponsored by the CSB Literary Arts Institute in collaboration with the Jay Phillips Center.
The U.S. Economy and "The Faithful Budget"
Lecture by Sister Simone Campbell, with responses by Rabbi Amy Eilberg and Nahid Khan, at CSB on March 6, 2013
Sister Simone Campbell, a leading spokesperson for the interreligious document "Priorities for a Faithful Budget," explained how the ideas contained in this document promote economic opportunity, adequate resources for the country's fiscal needs, reduction of poverty and hardship, care for the environment, better access to health care, true national security, and responsibility for future generations. She also explained how this budget reflects Catholic social teaching and why and how it can be promoted by Americans of different religious traditions and of no religious tradition. Following the lecture, Rabbi Amy Eilberg and Nahid Khan offered brief reflections about how "Priorities for a Faithful Budget" reflects Jewish and Muslim values. This program was sponsored by the College of Saint Benedict Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture and co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.
From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Reflections on Everyday Peacemaking
Lecture by Rabbi Amy Eilberg at SJU on February 4, 2013
Drawing on Judaism's rich body of sacred texts about peace and peacemaking, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first woman ordained as a rabbi in Judaism's Conservative Movement and a Jay Phillips Center rabbi-in-residence, explored why conflict arises among individuals and groups, what contributes to the resolution of conflict, and how each of us can serve the cause of peace. The lecture was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with the CSB/SJU departments of peace studies and theology
Film Screening and Student Interfaith Panel at SJU on January 31, 2013
The film "American Made," directed by Sharat Raju, was screened and followed by a student interfaith panel discussion. The panelists, each from a different religious tradition, explored religious stereotypes and generational changes in today's America, issues present in "American Made." The panelists were: Jinxi Han (moderator), Angela Dols, Nick Hamel, Hudda Ibrahim, and Tiffany Vang.
Adapting Buddhist Meditation Practices to Christian Spirituality
Lecture by Susan Stabile at SJU on November 12, 2012
Drawing from her recently published book, Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation (Oxford University Press, 2012), Susan Stabile, who holds the Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, explored values common to Christianity and Buddhism and how Buddhist meditation practices can enrich Christian spirituality. The program, sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with the CSB/SJU Buddhist Meditation Club, also included a guided meditation led by Professor Stabile.
Religion and Politics in Today's America
Interfaith Conversation Moderated by Kerri Miller at SJU on October 25, 2012
In response to questions from Kerri Miller, host of Minnesota Public Radio's weekday news program The Daily Circuit and monthly literary series Talking Volumes, and from members of the audience, panelists Pastor Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Dr. Jon Armajani, associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, Fr. Bill Vos, director of Catholic Relief Services for central Minnesota, and Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, senior rabbi of Temple Israel in Minneapolis, discussed a wide variety of issues as they explored the interrelationship of personal faith, religious affiliation, political engagement, and public policy, particularly as these have been expressed during the 2012 political campaign season in Minnesota and throughout the United States. The program was jointly sponsored by the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.
Film Screening and Discussion with Jim Miller at SJU on October 18, 2012
The film "Dakota 38" was shown and followed by a discussion led by Dakota spiritual leader Jim Miller of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation about the Dakota history and spirituality introduced in the film. In 2005 Miller had a dream about riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Prior to waking, he found himself at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, he knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history in 1862. Four years later, after embracing the message of the dream, Miller and a group of riders retraced the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota, to Mankato, Minnesota, to arrive at the site of the hanging on the anniversary of the execution. "Dakota 38," which documents their journey, is a story of hope and healing as they confront the painful history it represents and the plight of their communities today. This program was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the CSB/SJU Peace Studies Department in collaboration with the Healing Minnesota Stories initiative promoted by the St. Paul Interfaith Network.
The Radical Notion of Rest: Reflections on the Meaning of the Sabbath
Lecture by Rabbi David Wirtschafter at SJU on October 10, 2012
Rabbi David Wirtschafter, rabbi of the Ames Jewish Congregation in Iowa and rabbi-in-residence with the Jay Phillips Center for the 2012-2013 academic year, explored ways in which Jewish scholars have probed the meaning of the Sabbath and how the digital age raises new challenges for the distinction between the work place and home, labor and rest.
Pain Knows No Boundaries: An Interfaith Journey of Healing and Hope
Lecture by Fr. Michael Lapsley at SJU on October 2, 2012
Fr. Michael Lapsley, a legendary hero of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement and founding director the Institute for the Healing of Memories, explored the fundamental importance of an interfaith vision for the work of building a peaceful world. In the process, he highlighted the urgency of acknowledging past wounds to break the cycle that turns victims into victimizers and he considered how lessons from South Africa's long journey to freedom-a journey in which he played a key role and for which he suffered greatly-might apply to analogous struggles in the United States. This program was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with the CSB/SJU departments of nursing and peace studies.
Meditation: The Art of Awakening Awareness, Lovingkindness, and Compassion
Lecture by Edwin Kelley at SJU on March 26, 2012
Edwin Kelley, co-director of Tergar International, a world-wide network of meditation centers, explained how, through meditation, our minds become more calm and peaceful and our hearts more joyful and open, enabling us to grow in awareness, lovingkindness, compassion, and wisdom. This program was sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with the CSB/SJU Buddhist Meditation Club.
God and Politics: A Spiritual State of the Union
Lecture by Rabbi Sharon Brous at SJU on March 12, 2012
Responding to the resurfacing of racial tension, religious intolerance, and political divisiveness in American life, Rabbi Sharon Brous, founding rabbi of IKAR, a Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles known for its soulful prayer services and energetic social justice work, reflected on how different views of God serve to foster different types of public discourse, action, and culture. This presentation was part of the Jay Phillips Center's Rabbis-in-Residence program supported by a grant from the Brenden-Mann Foundation.
God and Religious Diversity: A Contemporary Muslim Perspective
Lecture by Amir Hussain at SJU on February 13, 2012
Amir Hussain, professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, discussed how Muslims understand their relationship to God given the fact of religious diversity and how they might think of religious diversity in relation to God's will.
Advancing different perspectives on the Buddhist doctrine of No Self in relation to Western philosophical views of religious identity, John P. Keenan, professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, and Harold Kasimow, professor emeritus of religious studies at Grinnell College, both suggested how Christians and Jews may be enriched through the study of Buddhism. This program was jointly sponsored by the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.
Religious Identity and the Buddhist Doctrine of No Self
Christian and Jewish Perspectives by John P. Keenan and Harold Kasimow at SJU on Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Representing diverse traditions and perspectives, Elizabeth Gleich, Tucker Mithuen, TaReema Sabir, and Tiffany Vang reflected on why interfaith engagement is important to them. The panel was facilitated by Brenna Horn.
Why Interfaith Matters
Student panel at SJU on November 15, 2011
Waging Peace in the Context of Violent Conflict
Lecture by Rabbi Melissa Weintraub at SJU on October 31, 2011
Drawing on sixteen years of experience in Middle East face-to-face encounters, Rabbi Melissa Weintraub explored how such encounters build a culture of civil discourse and create human connections across lines of enmity. The cofounder and executive director emerita of Encounter, an organization dedicated to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rabbi Weintraub focused on how face-to-face encounters in the context of violent conflict may promote reconciliation and peace. This presentation was part of the Jay Phillips Center's Rabbis-in-Residence program supported by a generous contribution from the Blythe Brenden Fund of the Ted and Dr. Roberta Mann Foundation.
Responding to Contradictory Critiques of Contemporary Religion
Lecture by Rabbi David Wirtschafter at SJU on September 26, 2011
Responding to attacks on progressive approaches to religion from both staunch traditionalists and anti-religious secularists who stress the incompatibility of science and religion, Rabbi David Wirtschafter, rabbi of the Ames Jewish Congregation in Iowa, defended the view that religious teachings need to evolve and that religion and science can be complementary influences rather than competing ideologies.This presentation was part of the Jay Phillips Center's Rabbis-in-Residence program supported by a generous contribution from the Blythe Brenden Fund of the Ted and Dr. Roberta Mann Foundation.
CSB/SJU Interfaith Days, April 13-16, 2011
The Jay Phillips Center in cooperation with the CSB/SJU Cultural Affairs Board held four days of interfaith events, including the presentation by Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay (see description below). Other events were a viewing and discussion of the film "Beyond Our Differences," a traditional Hmong dinner accompanied by presentations and conversation about Hmong cultural and religious practices, and a trip to the Hindu Temple in Maple Grove where participants had a tour of the temple, witnessed a religious festival, and enjoyed an Indian meal cooked by members of the temple.