ICJS News: Reflections on lives well-lived; Teachers' Fellowship; and more... ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Dabru Emet 20 call for submissions deadline September 1
ICJS News on blue green and red wavy background Institute for Islamic, Jewish, Christian Studies subhead on grey background

Dear ICJS friend,

This past week the United States lost two leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, the Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis. Both men challenged our country to live up to its promise, and grounded their prophetic protests in their deeply held beliefs. As Vivian insisted, this was a deeply spiritual movement

Vivian and Lewis were leaders who demonstrated what it means for religion to be practiced in the public square—in partnership with those of other beliefs. Before there were any marches or demonstrations, Lewis was part of a group that “studied the great religions of the world.” It is this kind of interreligious study that grounded a firm commitment to justice in a young Lewis. For Lewis, making ‘good trouble’ was always an interreligious project

It is this kind of interreligious study that grounds the work of ICJS. It is a study concerned with the “big questions” of life and community. We need the next generation to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Vivian, and tackle today’s big questions interreligiously.

In the ICJS Teachers’ Fellowship, we prepare secondary school teachers to engage their students in the study of religious difference. We believe that the next generation—who now are engaged in ongoing civil rights and social justice issues—will benefit from the study of a wide spectrum of religious teachings as we seek to build a better world together. I hope you will nominate a teacher and / or apply for the ICJS Teachers’ Fellowship.


Heather Miller Rubens, Ph.D.
Executive Director


ICJS Emeritus Trustee DONNA LEE FRISCH died on July 7, 2020, leaving behind a legacy that extends from family and friends to a much larger community, including ICJS.

Read reflection from ICJS Founding
Executive Director Chris Leighton...

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ICJS Teacher Fellows work together to transform classrooms and schools into places where learning about religious diversity serves to prepare individuals for fuller participation in the life of our city, nation, and world.

Religion is encountered in so many classrooms, from the texts in English class to the study of world languages and history, sociology and psychology, and ethics and world religions. Religious diversity is also encountered in day-to-day interactions in the classroom and within the school. By transforming our classrooms and schools into places where we foster religious literacy, we can help create a more connected and inclusive public sphere.

Are you a teacher interested in
deepening those places of encounter
for students and providing an informed
appreciation of religious diversity?

ICJS Teachers' Fellowship flyer

Download flyer

Know a teacher that would be a great addition to the cohort?

two rows of teacher fellows headshot thumbnails


by Faye Wing, ICJS Justice Leader Fellow, and administrative assistant and philosophy and religious studies candidate at Morgan State University

I’ve had many learning opportunities in my life, but none compare to what I have just experienced at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies....

I found our [Fellowship] discussions to be challenging, enjoyable and enlightening as we explored the perspectives of the three Abrahamic religions regarding water and justice. Despite our different cultural beliefs, we found common ground through the sacred texts of each religion which teach and demonstrate how to respond to injustice and inequality....

Now more than ever it is clear that people are tired of governments ignoring their basic human rights; people are demanding justice.... 

graphic of protestors with signs reading no to silence, no justice no peace, black lives matter

The struggle for liberty and justice for all continues. The ICJS Justice Leaders’ Fellowship is a pathway for Baltimore communities to join forces and unite to make Baltimore a better, safer place to live. As a public service employee who assists in encouraging and guiding college students to the finish line, I am even more determined to share my learnings and actively teach and inform others through community-based collaborations. Read more...


Our Justice Leader Fellows will be leading Imagining Justice Baltimore sessions this Fall.
Join us online at 7:00 p.m. on October 8, October 22, November 5, and November 19.
Registration opens in September.



Nick Cannon

Antisemitism in Black and White

"No doubt you’ve read about anti-Semitic social media posts [and] theorizing...on [Nick Cannon's] podcast. The condemnation of those posts came swiftly, as it should have.

"But the commentaries that followed were as disappointing as they were predictable....

"The discourse about 'Black anti-Semitism,' ultimately, is a distraction from an anti-Semitism that is resurgent throughout all facets of American culture. Let’s insist that our country—all citizens of our country—talk about that."

Read more from
The Forward...

zoom screenshot of Kelly Brown Douglas, Selene Jones, Emilie Townes, Angela Sims

Voices at the Table: Having Controversial Conversations

Leaders in Christian theological education Kelly Brown Douglas, Serene Jones, Emilie Townes, and Angela Sims held a Facebook Live discussion wrestling with questions of public theology, namely the role of religion in the public square.

In recognizing the role that religion plays in current events and how people respond to current events, Townes noted that religion has something to say as that which "is supposed to point us toward the better, the more just, the more loving, the more faithful."

View on Union Theological Seminary's Facebook page...

woman in hijab under dome at the The Prayer Center of Orland Park

 After Floyd, Raw Talk, Racial Reckoning Among US Muslims 

"Muslims in America are diverse. No racial or ethnic group makes up a majority of Muslim American adults, and 20 percent are Black, according to a 2017 survey by Pew Research Center....

"'The openness of all different corners of the Muslim community to have this conversation [around racial justice] in a really robust way is unprecedented...,' said Imam Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations...."

Read more from
U.S. News & World Report...

How Can Religious Leaders Take Care of Their Mental Health?

"Religious clergy are supposed to provide comfort in times of crisis, which raises questions about who comforts the comforters. Today on God Forbid, James [Carleton, host] and the panel take a look at the wellbeing of faith leaders amid the COVID-19 pandemic."

Listen to on ABC Radio National's "God Forbid" podcast...

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ICJS builds learning communities where religious difference becomes a powerful force for good.

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